Bush's Fringe Government

Overview

One of America’s foremost historians looks at the state of American democracy and the influence of the Catholic Church

How is it possible for minorities to rule majorities? An answer can be found by looking at both George Bush's Republican Party and the Catholic Church.

Bush’s Fringe Government is an inquiry into how an extremely conservative fringe in these organizations, although in the minority, have a disproportionate influence on a broad ...

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Overview

One of America’s foremost historians looks at the state of American democracy and the influence of the Catholic Church

How is it possible for minorities to rule majorities? An answer can be found by looking at both George Bush's Republican Party and the Catholic Church.

Bush’s Fringe Government is an inquiry into how an extremely conservative fringe in these organizations, although in the minority, have a disproportionate influence on a broad range of issues, and use their influence to govern the majority. By exploring the ways in which the election of Pope Benedict XVI has increased the influence of very conservative Catholics in the Vatican, Garry Wills offers a lucid and striking explanation of the political coalition between Catholics and evangelicals–a partnership that has been instrumental in electing Republicans in the United States and keeping conservative issues in the forefront of American political discourse. As Wills puts it, “How do you govern an apostate nation? When the entire culture is corrupted, the country can only be morally governed in spite of itself. A collection of aggrieved minorities must seize the levers of power in every way possible. One must govern not from a broad consensual center but from activist fringes of morality.”

Juxtaposing Karl Rove and the Bush administration’s political strategy to that of conservatives in the Catholic Church, Wills’s examination of extremist fringe elements is a major piece of political analysis by one of our most highly regarded commentators. Its timely publication is essential reading for the 2006 elections in the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this slim book, Wills offers an insightful and penetrating look at the troubling blurring of lines between the government and religion." --Booklist

"In an incisive essay, "Fringe Government," historian Garry Wills connects the dots between the rubble of our domestic and foreign policies and the actors from the religious fringes that have become central influences in this White House From stem cell research to end-of-life issues, from the courts to the role of government itself, Wills shows the leadership on a separate track leading away from both the concerns and the will of the people."–The National Catholic Reporter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590172100
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 10/3/2006
  • Pages: 56
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Garry Wills
GARRY WILLS was born in Atlanta, Georgia. One of our most distinguished historians and critics, he is the author of numerous books, including Saint Augustine, Papal Sin, and the Pulitzer Prize—winning Lincoln at Gettysburg. He has won many other awards, among them two National Book Critics Circle Awards and the 1998 National Medal for the Humanities. He is currently Adjunct Professor of History at Northwestern University, and is the editor for the Fall 2006 NYRB Classic The Jeffersonian Transformation. A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, he lives in Evanston, Illinois.

JAMES CARROLL was born in Chicago and raised in Washington, D.C. He has been a civil rights worker, an antiwar activist, and a community organizer in Washington and New York. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1969 and served as Catholic chaplain at Boston University. Carroll left the priesthood to become a novelist and playwright. He lives in Boston with his wife, the novelist Alexandra Marshall, and their two children.

Biography

Born in Atlanta in 1934 and raised in the Midwest, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and distinguished religion writer Garry Wills entered the Jesuit seminary after high school graduation, but left after six years of training. He received a B.A. from St. Louis University (1957), an M.A. from Xavier University of Cincinnati (1958), and his Ph.D. in classics from Yale (1961).

After graduating from Xavier, Wills was hired to work as the drama critic for National Review magazine, where he became a close personal friend and protégé of founding editor William F. Buckley. But as the winds of change blew across the 1960s, Wills got caught up in the cross-currents. A staunch Catholic anti-Communist in his youth, he began to drift away from political conservatism, galvanized by the civil rights movement and the Vietnam debate. He parted ways with National Review and began writing for more liberal-leaning publications like Esquire and the New York Review of Books, a defection that left him slightly estranged from Buckley for many years. (They reconciled before Buckley's death in 2008.)

In 1961, while he was still in grad school, Wills's first book, Chesterton: Man and Mask was published. [It was revised and reissued in 2001 with a new author's introduction.] Since then, the prolific Wills has gone on to pen critically acclaimed nonfiction that roams across history, politics, and religion. He expanded one of his Esquire articles into Nixon Agonistes (1970), a probing profile John Leonard said "...reads like a combination of H. L. Mencken, John Locke and Albert Camus." (The book landed Wills on the famous Nixon's Enemies List.) He has also written penetrating studies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Wayne, and Saint Paul; he has won two National Book Critics Circle Awards; and his 1992 book Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

Something of a rara avis, Wills is a Catholic intellectual who has produced thoughtful, scholarly books on religion in America. His translations of St. Augustine have received glowing reviews, and he has acted both as an outspoken critic of the Church (Papal Sin) and as an ardent advocate for his own faith Why I Am a Catholic). Proof of his accessibility can be found in the fact that several of his religion books have become bestsellers.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      May 22, 1934
    2. Place of Birth:
      Atlanta, GA
    1. Education:
      St. Louis University, B.A., 1957; Xavier University, M.A., 1958; Yale University, Ph.D., 1961

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