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American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right Paperback – September 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1936227020 ISBN-10: 1936227029 Edition: First Printing

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Polipoint Press; First Printing edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936227029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936227020
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“It isn’t possible to understand American politics now without understanding the worldview and arguments of Markos Moulitsas. If you still believe the beltway caricature of the squishy, compromising, conciliatory American left, American Taliban should disabuse you of that notion.”
Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show

 “Moulitsas alerts us to a clear and present danger in America: radical zealots who disregard our Constitution and our freedoms and who disguise themselves as patriots.”
Roger Ebert, film critic

“I can’t remember a time in my life when anti-intellectualism and intolerance—from America’s prejudice against evolutionary science to its reactionary condemnation of a scholarly African American president—has been more pervasive. The time has never been more ripe for a book such as this. American Taliban reminds us that fanaticism isn’t always an import.”
Brett Gurewitz, Bad Religion
“A thorough compendium of right-wing hypocrisy and selective memory that is either hilarious or tragic, depending on your mood. And it’s all lovingly couched in outrage and profanity.”
David Cross, I Drink for a Reason

“While not afraid to laugh at the American Taliban, Markos Moulitsas sees the culture warriors for the insidious, dangerous force they present to a free and democratic society.”
Amanda Marcotte, Executive Editor,

“Markos writes with a conscience and armed with facts to let you know: no, you’re not crazy. What you suspected all along was true—America’s right wing lives on a myth of self-constructed lies about the Other, with a juvenile disregard for reality, and Obama’s presidency has further radicalized an already radical conservative movement.”
Janeane Garofalo, comic and actor

“Markos Moulitsas vividly exposes how the radical right and many leaders in the Republican Party , contrary to their incessant claims, actually hate the cherished American values of freedom, justice, tolerance and diversity of thought and expression. With sparkling clarity, American Taliban sounds the alarm on the well-funded, highly-placed authoritarians in this country who work daily to strip away civil liberties and viciously malign gays, women and other groups, and shows why they are treacherous to American democracy. We better listen.”
Michelangelo Signorile, The Michelangelo Signorile Show, Sirius XM Radio

“American Taliban makes it clear that in a blind taste test the only way you’d be able to tell the difference between the GOP and Taliban philosophies would be beard hair.”
Sam Seder, author, F.U.B.A.R: America’s Right Wing Nightmare

“Markos Moulitsas exposes Limbaugh, Palin, Beck, O’Reilly, Boehner, Gingrich, the Teabaggers, and the Birthers as mullahs of a modern American Taliban hell-bent on imposing their narrow-minded political jihad on us all.”
John Aravosis, editor,

“American Taliban shines a blinding light on the conservative right’s dark agenda. Anyone who genuinely cares about America should read this book.”
David Coverdale, Whitesnake

About the Author

Markos Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, which gets 2.5 million unique visitors every month. He is a two-time book author, a former Newsweek columnist, a regular guest on national tv and radio news shows, and a weekly columnist at The Hill newspaper. He is also the founder of SportsBlogs, Inc. (, a fellow at the New Policy Institute, and a member of the boards of several progressive organizations.


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Customer Reviews

Doesn't let you hide.
Markos has done his research well with this book.
This book is a great read and very informative.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Granite City Green Guy on September 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many of the one- and five-star reviews here on this book are obviously linked to the reader's political views. My objective rating is right up the middle, largely for two reasons: there's little here that I didn't already know and frankly the quality of the writing is somewhat lacking. Most of the material in the book will be familiar to anyone who has paid modest attention to the cultural and political landscape since 1980 and even the specifics will be old hat to anyone who might remotely be considered a political junkie. It is, in some ways, a rehash of mainstream political reporting on the American conservative movement of the last 30 years.

That said, American Taliban offers something to a larger audience, those who may not have paid much attention to politics between presidential elections or have for one reason or another avoided immersion into the morass of hypocrisy, duplicity, and deceit that has marked the right since at least the 1972 election. It's all here: the secret organizations, the shady corporate contributions, the legitimate sounding foundations, the suburban churches, and all the wealthy white men who have led such organizations since the 1950s. Markos offers a sometimes compelling critique, arguing that the core values of these men (and sometimes the women) really do parallel those of the Taliban in many ways. This is not surprising, since theocracy and nationalism look fairly similar across time and space. The important thing for those who are unfamiliar with the details is the very clear case he lays out to demonstrate that while American conservatives love to talk about freedom, patriotism, the Constitution, equality of opportunity, and sometimes even social justice they really support none of these things.
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307 of 356 people found the following review helpful By Book buyer on August 30, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Excellent work. Points out the foolish macho nationalism affected by so called conservatives. The kind of "conservatives" who think nothing of running up debt, growing government, declaring illegal pre-emptive wars based on lies, and ruining the environment. barry Goldwater is spinning like a top in his grave that such people call themselves conservatives. The kind who are saps for the wealthy and global corporations because they are so scared of everything they can only react with bluster and anger and are easily used. As a multi combat tour Marine Corps vet and a proud progressive I have no problem seeing them get a little taste of their own medicine albeit with much more class and factual accuracy than anything they can muster up. It's past time to fight back against ignorance and blind anger engendered by the fear of these corporate pawns.
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218 of 260 people found the following review helpful By Israel Grey on August 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Markos connects the dots on the obvious (to those that care to see it) facts that the right wing power bases are abusing America for the short term gains of millionairs, the ego of the religious extremists that make up their self defeating base and to generate wealth from advertising on their hyped up media empire. It is a fascinating and dangerous connect of thoughtless, emotional and ego-driven extremist that serve. Hopefully, the majority of Americans will reject the extremism and idiocy that is growing in blind, frothing support.
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176 of 226 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on August 25, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
While getting people all riled up about 'the muslims' the American right is often the same ones in bed with them for the purposes of getting cheap oil to run American cars. This power arrangement has existed since the 1970's--if not earlier. But our government does not want to disclose this to a gullible American public.

Their remaining in office, and in power rests on maintaining a delicate power balance over the American people. Fear of an 'unknown' people and culture then keeps the American people subserviently voting in those who promise to keep the country 'safe'. Interestingly, we do not stop to question the politics/structure of this very arrangement.

Because if we did, we would discover some lurking similarities between the two governments. Maintenance of 'safety' comes through control of social customs including gender/sexual roles. 'Disparate' American Christian conservatives and Muslim Saudi Arabian conservatives are ultimately linked together in much simmilarity by their distrust of a sexuality comming outside of a very narrow and male heterosexual boundary. The two seemingly different groups have more alike than initially appears.

I read this book as the friend of somebody who had been in New York during 9/11 and those people are themselves a member of a 'minority religion' often attacked by several of the American Christian fundamentalists now rushing to oppose a mosque. And I'm also coming as the relative of servicemembers whose Middle East tour of duty enlightened them to other perspectives and religions. Learning about a religion different from their own Roman Catholicism was an unexpected benefit of military service.

This book is really informative. It of course would be a good read for a government public affairs class. But a gender studies class with an emphasis on government should also utilize it. The thesis and supporting evidence is very timely.
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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful By soleilnu on September 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
which pleases the author no end. The fact that it couldn't be more obvious that not a single one of these silly commentators read the first paragraph of Kos's book isn't the point. The point is that they're driven to comment about it. Compelled. Unable to restrain themselves.

Matt Yglesias, who usually wears a white hat, reviews American Taliban with actual intellectual honesty, but Matt strays from the mark this time. He says, yes, Markos is correct about the endless cross correlations between the Afghani and the American Taliban in almost every regard, except the *degree*. Sure, Matt, but that fact hardly absolves the corporate-funded Christian mega-jihadists hell bent on destroying America in the least. The important point is that they are one and the same.

Moreover, Yglesias, misses the very reason why this book was crafted, and Tristero on Hullabaloo insightfully sets him straight:

"Matt can claim as often as he likes that he is not in any real sense equating the Taliban and William Kristol and be quite sincere about it. But simply because Kos - secondhand - got him to talk about it, that is exactly what he is doing.

And that is exactly what we want the right to do as well. We want them to defend their extremism by debunking the comparison with Taliban. Talk about it in detail, please! Tell us all about the important differences between al Qaeda's homophobia and Focus on the Family's. Explain all the nuances so we understand.

And the more they explain how different they are, the more the two are rhetorically associated. And invariably, the more plausible the comparison becomes."

Moulitsas has an agenda - one he's been more than successful with. He doesn't want a handful of "1" ratings on Amazon - he wants thousands.
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