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Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Ascendacy Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743203208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743203203
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,337,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The Washington Post Easton tells this story [of post-Reagan conservatism] more inventively, exhaustively, and entertainingly than anyone else.

The New York Times Book Review Easton is a superb reporter.

The Wall Street Journal Ms. Easton is the Dian Fossey of conservatism. She marches into conservative hills to reveal the hidden world of these gorillas in the mist to the liberals back in civilization. Her reporting is impressive.

Jacob Heilbrunn The Washington Monthly A winner...Easton unites perceptive analysis with lively prose style.

Joe Klein author of Primary Colors Nina Easton brings a strange and wonderful cast of characters to life in a book that is serious and often hilarious.

About the Author

Nina J. Easton is a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times. An award-winning writer, her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Esquire, The New Republic, The Boston Globe, and other major publications.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Richard M Pittman on July 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Being a Leftist, I didn't know much about how the conservative movement actually works. After reading this book, I think I understand it a little better. I had always known that the Republican Party is fractured, with religious conservatives and economic libertarians forming a coalition of people who have little in common with one another. This book showed me that there are even more divisions than that.
It also showed me how the conservative movement has changed. In this profile of five relatively young conservative leaders, you won't find any mention of Jesse Helms as a role model. The Republican Party is trying to smooth the edges a little bit.
Of the five leaders whose lives are profiled (Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Clint Bolick, David McIntosh, and Bill Kristol), I found Ralph Reed's to be the most interesting. I really didn't know how moderate he is. After his almost comical exploits as a young man trying to rig elections, his maturity and conversion come off as being genuine if incomplete. I loved the parts of the book where Ralph Reed tries to moderate the conservative christian message and is undercut by his own followers, who are much more interested in being anti-abortion crusaders than in crafting a complex social policy. When he missteps, it is usually by presuming to speak for them in ways for which they would not approve.
Grover Norquist comes off as a Darth Vader-like character, a man almost completely blinded by his ideology. Reading about his torpedoing of a potential Colin Powell run for the presidency and about his thinly disguised sympathy for separatist militia groups, one is reminded of the ugly face of conservatism that earned it the traditional brand "mean-spirited".
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Slemrod on October 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Gang of Five" is an excellent, behind-the-scenes look at five individuals who played a large part in shaping the Republican power structure as we know it today. Although the book was written nearly six years ago, Easton's insightful journalism is especially relevant due to the Jack Abramoff scandal. Abramoff plays a large part in the book, as he ran the College Republicans with pals Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed.

To understand the Republican Party, you must read this book. Easton's knowledge spans the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton years, and goes beyond the personalities you see in the media to paint a picture of a party rooted in college activism, philosophy, and a desire to push the country to the Right.

This book comes highly recommend to anyone interested in our political strucutre, Republican or Democrat.
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7 of 32 people found the following review helpful By R. Pyle on October 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
First, lets consider the source. Nina appears to be a very nice person and very attractive. But she is a liberal. She writes for the Boston Globe, not a publication who is tolerant of conservative views. This is akin to having Yankees fans review the Red Sox fans conduct. Its not only skewed but also deliberately contrived to create a sinister appearance and motive of the 'five'.

Second, she chose five people of which only really two were actually major movers in the GOP or conservative movement. Maybe she should have asked around first if she actually knew any conservatives she could have surveyed for some names to start with.

Mostly, this book is harmless and a rehash of already public information. Ralph Reed is a smooth talker and more moderate in tone than Pat Robertson. Boy, that's gonna be a headline someday.

I'm sure that liberals will gleefully read about how evil, heartless and conniving those conservatives are trying to organize things so they can win elections without the public knowing it. Its hardly news and its hardly unusual considering that we have already had to live through Carville and Begala.
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