Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reaganby Kim Phillips-Fein, Lorna Raver
Starting in the mid-1930s, a handful of prominent American businessmen forged alliances with the aim of rescuing America-and their profit margins-from socialism and the "nanny state." Long before the "culture wars" usually associated with the rise of conservative politics, these driven individuals funded think tanks, fought labor unions, and formed
Starting in the mid-1930s, a handful of prominent American businessmen forged alliances with the aim of rescuing America-and their profit margins-from socialism and the "nanny state." Long before the "culture wars" usually associated with the rise of conservative politics, these driven individuals funded think tanks, fought labor unions, and formed organizations to market their views. These nearly unknown, larger-than-life, and sometimes eccentric personalities-such as General Electric's zealous, silver-tongued Lemuel Ricketts Boulware and the self-described "revolutionary" Jasper Crane of DuPont-make for a fascinating, behind-the-scenes view of American history. The winner of a prestigious academic award for her original research on this book, Kim Phillips-Fein is already being heralded as an important new young American historian. Her meticulous research and narrative gifts reveal the dramatic story of a pragmatic, step-by-step, check-by-check campaign to promote an ideological revolution-one that ultimately helped propel conservative ideas to electoral triumph.
Looking beyond the usual roster of right-wing Christians, anticommunist neo-cons and disgruntled working-class whites, this incisive study examines the unsung role of "a political movement of businessmen" in leading America's post-1960s rightward turn. Historian Phillips-Fein traces the hidden history of the Reagan revolution to a coterie of business executives, including General Electric official and Reagan mentor Lemuel Boulware, who saw labor unions, government regulation, high taxes and welfare spending as dire threats to their profits and power. From the 1930s onward, the author argues, they provided the money, organization and fervor for a decades-long war against New Deal liberalism-funding campaigns, think tanks, magazines and lobbying groups, and indoctrinating employees in the virtues of unfettered capitalism. Theirs was also a battle of ideas, she contends; the business vanguard nurtured conservative thinkers like economist Friedrich von Hayek and his secretive Mont Pellerin Society associates, who developed a populist free-market ideology that persuaded workers to side with their bosses against the liberal state. Combining piquant profiles of corporate firebrands with a trenchant historical analysis that puts economic conflict at the heart of political change, Phillips-Fein makes an important contribution to our understanding of American conservatism. Photos. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Author
Kim Phillips-Fein, a writer for the Nation and other publications, is an assistant professor at the Gallatin School of New York University.
Lorna Raver has received numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and has been nominated for the coveted Audie Award for her audiobook narrations.
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