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Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right Hardcover – January 19, 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 706 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mayer is. . . [a] writer whose reporting can leave a reader breathless. . . . I urge you to read Dark Money."
—Bill Moyers

"Jane Mayer's Dark Money is utterly brilliant and chilling — no matter how much you think you already know. . . . Read it!"
—Naomi Klein, bestselling author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate 

“Jane Mayer’s Dark Money. . . is absolutely necessary reading for anyone who wants to make sense of our politics. Lay aside the endless punditry about Donald’s belligerence or Hillary’s ambition; Mayer is telling the epic story of America in our time. It is a triumph of investigative reporting, perhaps not surprising for a journalist who has won most of the awards her profession has to offer.... She’s a pro, and she’s given the world a full accounting of what had been a shadowy and largely unseen force. . . . [R]emarkable.”
The New York Review of Books

"The book is written in straightforward and largely unemotional prose, but it reads as if conceived in quiet anger. Mayer believes that the Koch brothers and a small number of allied plutocrats have essentially hijacked American democracy, using their money not just to compete with their political adversaries, but to drown them out. . . . Dark Money emerges as an impressively reported and well-documented work. . . . The importance of Dark Money [flows] from its scope and perspective. . . . It is not easy to uncover the inner workings of an essentially secretive political establishment. Mayer has come as close to doing it as anyone is likely to come anytime soon. . . . She makes a formidable argument.”
­—From the cover of the Times Book Review
 
“Revelatory. . .persuasive, timely and necessary. . . . [O]nly the most thoroughly documented, compendious account could do justice to the Kochs’ bizarre and Byzantine family history and the scale and scope of their influence.”
­—The New York Times

“[A] comprehensive history. . . . [S]tunning.”
­—Salon 

[D]eeply researched and studded with detail. . .it seems destined to rattle the Koch executive offices in Wichita as other investigations have not. [Dark Money] could inspire a more intense discussion about the impact of this wealthy conservative cadre on the Republican Party and the recent course of American politics.” 
­—Washington Post
 
“[B]ombshells explode in the pages of Dark Money, Jane Mayer’s indispensible new history . . . .combines her own research with the work of scores of other investigators, to describe how the Kochs and fellow billionaires like Richard Scaife have spent hundreds of millions to ‘move their political ideas from the fringe to the center of American political life.’”
The Guardian

“Packed with revelations. . . . One of the essential books about our political system’s unparalleled capacity for perpetuating income inequality. Dark Money is more than just a work of political journalism — it’s a vital portrait of a nation that, as perhaps never before, is being shaped by a few very rich, very conservative businessmen.”
San Francisco Chroncicle 

“Amazing. . . . The most important political book of the year.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

"[A]n extraordinarily well-documented account of the influential, interlocking organizations with innocuous names created by the Koch brothers."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

“A careful exposé. . . . Mayer closely documents her charges. . .while delivering a swiftly flowing narrative. . . . A valuable contribution to the study of modern electoral politics in an age that Theodore White, and perhaps even Hunter S. Thompson, would not recognize.”
Kirkus 



About the Author

Jane Mayer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books. She co-authored Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984–1988, with Doyle McManus, and Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, with Jill Abramson, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, was named one of The New York Times’s Top 10 Books of the Year and won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Goldsmith Book Prize, the Edward Weintal Prize, the Ridenhour Prize, the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. It was also a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. For her reporting at The New Yorker, Mayer has been awarded the John Chancellor Award, the George Polk Award, the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, and the I. F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence presented by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. Mayer lives in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (January 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385535597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385535595
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (706 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By College Stealth TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 19, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a hard read; not because of Lexile score interest, but because it raises a huge warning flag with regards to some of the funding that has been going into the recent elections. I got the Kindle edition of this book at 11 C.S.T. and stayed up all night reading it, it took about seven hours. I’ve made it a point for the last eight months to pick a book off of the new releases and just read it; it’s been my own personal challenge to read whatever, regardless of the topic or the political bent. This one was very fascinating and interesting with providing insight into how much money has been circulating in politics and for how long.

I sense that this book will be a contentious one for many who read it, or even look at the title, but hear me out, I’m just a middle or the road person reading it for the sake of reading it. It’s certainly told with a liberal bias, but before it is declared unpalatable because of that, or all lies, there are some really worthwhile components to consider. The book is not anti-republican, rather it highlights the funding of anti-government movements and intentional divisions within the republican party as a result of libertarian ideas held by the Koch brothers. It moves past the republican party and focuses on the ultra-conservative anti-establishment ideas of a few of the 1% in creating a scenario that is wholly advantageous to them. It also highlights some who stood up against the Koch’s in regards to some ideologies, such as John Kaisch, who ceased to be invited to the larger mover and shaker events hosted by the Koch brothers.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is rapidly making waves, after the New York Times and Washington Post worked with author Jane Mayer to reveal Koch Industries' history building a major refinery for none other than Adoph Hitler, just after he became Chancellor of Germany.

But the sensational Nazi connection was just the easy part, and Koch is among several old-money fortunes that were pivotal in establishing today's complicated web of innocuous-sounding corporate front groups. Such journalism is imperative at a time when Americans are constantly being duped by advertising and public relations executives, selling political ideas that are not actually designed to benefit the audience listening.

Putting my opinions aside, here's why the book stands out:

1: THE ACCESS. Through interviews with current and ex-Koch Industries staff & executives, and members of Koch's sprawling "nonprofit" political network, Ms. Mayer has reminded the political community of her talent as an investigator. Her ability to find both new and historic details that are previously unreported--and immediately relevant--are what set this author apart from the day's other pre-eminent experts on plutocrats & oligarchs (such as Kim Phillips-Fein, Lee Fang, Lewis Lapham, Lisa Graves, Ken Vogel, Mark Ames, and Greg Palast, to name a few).

2. THE NARRATIVE. With secretive people like Charles Koch and the late Richard Mellon Scaife as an author's subject, the sheer lack of honest information can make it hard to write anything other than a political white paper. But Ms. Mayer's experience and reputation as a reporter at the New Yorker have opened many doors that were previously closed, painting a more crisp, rich portrait of this private history.

3. THE CONTEXT.
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Format: Hardcover
An enthralling and comprehensive story of the Koch dynasty, those that came before it, and those that fall in line with the anarchist agenda of Charles Koch. The account of the far right network is extremely informative and also a bit mind-blowing. Also, being a native of Pittsburgh, I couldn't put down the chapter on the Mellon Scaife story. Not only can this book serve as a road map for getting out of the political muck we are in as a nation, its a telling account of anti-social and narcissistic behavior that ties many of these billionaires together. Charles Koch and cohorts seem to feel they are above the law, and will undermine or change the law to maintain their position. Of course, I am not sure what kind of person I'd be if a Nazi nanny changed my diapers....you gotta read this.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the most exhaustive, best researched, best-written history of the monied families that have built the Radical Right into a juggernaut that has turned back the clock on social progress in this country. The Koch brothers are not only the heart of that enterprise, their efforts dwarf those of everyone else, and for that reason they are at the center of Mayer's exceptional investigative report. From the Koch family's early roots as industrial supporters of fascism prior to World War II, to their influence in killing progress on climate change, in helping warp the election system via the Citizen's United decision, and through their influence on virtually every important social and political struggle of the last forty years via a network of front groups and an underground river of cash, Mayer provides a frame-by-frame analysis, a kind of Zapruder film, showing exactly how the brothers Koch have all but succeeded in assassinating a once great democracy and enshrining an ideology that puts profit ahead of human lives and the future of the planet.

All that - AND it's a great read.
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