Customer Reviews for

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

This is a surprising and engrossing book¿part investigative journalism, part immersion, part history, Sharlet assembles shocking and often funny evidence from the group¿s archives, shows its operation in contemporary political life, and considers the deeply personal dim...
This is a surprising and engrossing book¿part investigative journalism, part immersion, part history, Sharlet assembles shocking and often funny evidence from the group¿s archives, shows its operation in contemporary political life, and considers the deeply personal dimensions of the Family for some of its members. Most importantly, he weaves the Family¿s history into a larger thread of American religion and foreign policy. While the past few years have witnessed a flood of books on the current fundamentalist moment, this book will stand the test of time for the originality of its analysis, which moves beyond short-sighted hysteria and looks at the theological, historical 'and sometimes erotic' underpinnings of a fundamentalist vision that has been largely neglected by scholars and journalists while it acts powerfully below the public surface of legislation and diplomacy. There is a tendency in books about the Christian Right to assume that there is an average American voter--usually the reader and the book¿s author--and that this person is purely and simply a victim of the Right, a tendency to fall into the essentially reactionary trap of blaming everything on George Bush, or Dick Cheney, to take this genre of analysis to its ultimate conclusion. Sharlet is one of the few authors I've read who fiercely rejects this. He understands fundamentalism as a full-fledged social movement¿it is contentious and unified, ideological and deftly pragmatic, alternately exhilarating and pedestrian, the product of perfect timing and a phenomena decades in the making. From this perspective, the Family¿s preference for secrecy and its obsession with elites is alarming, but more frightening to me was the fact that their agenda--the crushing of organized labor, the support of dictatorships abroad, the resurrection of sexual purity codes--is one that has hurt many Americans, but also one in which they have been complicit.

posted by Anonymous on June 2, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Interesting subject not an easy read

The subject matter is important and needs to be promulgated to the world at large. However Mr Sharlet's writing style is difficult. I never got all the way through the book. He seems to be wrapped up in minutae or personal observations when he really just needs to expos...
The subject matter is important and needs to be promulgated to the world at large. However Mr Sharlet's writing style is difficult. I never got all the way through the book. He seems to be wrapped up in minutae or personal observations when he really just needs to expose this conspiracy. So I purchased it enthusiastically after watching him on Rachel Maddow and other shows I was sorely disappointed in the book itself.

posted by 2190534 on November 11, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2009

    Sharlet Hates Christ, Despises Christians, and Can't Stand Churches!!!

    You won't find Author Jeff Sharlet on any organizational membership list for "Jews For Jesus". That's a given. Sharlet's investigative treatise on the "Fellowship Foundation", i,e, "The Family" is indeed intriguing. Unfortunately, Sharlets's inuendo and diatribe concerning Christ, Christians and Churches muddies and seriously detracts from his investigative findings. Sharlet states that Jesus Christ is just a "mood" in America, no faith involved, and that churches upon the earth are thorns that scratch the sky.

    Sharlet's real problem that he cannot apparently deal with because his own faith is not strong enough is that he is outraged that Christians believe that the Covenants that God made With Abraham, Moses and David became defunct with the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Pitiful.

    Don't waste your hard earned tax dollars for this unworthy effort that could have been a very intriguing book. A waste.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2009

    VERY DISAPPOINTING BOOK

    THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST BOOKS I HAVE READ IN SOME TIME. I CAN'T SAY ONE GOOD THING ABOUT IT.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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