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Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party

4.4 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1568583983
ISBN-10: 1568583982
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Blumenthal documents the movement of conservative evangelicals from the political wings to center stage, delving into the psyches of those who now lead a Republican Party "fixated on abortion, homosexuality and abstinence education; resentful and angry." Guided by Eric Hoffer's 1951 cult classic The True Believer ("Faith in a holy cause, is to some extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves,") and Eric Fromm's 1941 psychoanalytical study of the Nazi movement (Escape from Freedom), Blumnthal suggests that childhood abuse has shaped the personalities of key leaders, including Focus on the Family guru James Dobson. Blumenthal is at his best examining these characters up close, including presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and his born-again conversion; John Hagee, a Pentecostal pastor who lauded Hitler for "forcing the Jews to Israel"; Sarah Palin, whose political aspirations first came to her as part of a religious conversion; and evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, a self-proclaimed spiritual warrior caught in a relationship with a male prostitute. For those who enjoyed Jeff Sharlet's Capitol Hill exposé The Family, this makes a spicy follow-up.
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"With scarcely more than a pith helmet, a notebook, and a tattered copy of Escape from Freedom, Erich Fromm’s great study of authoritarian psychology, the dauntless Max Blumenthal set forth years ago to explore the dank forests of American Christianism. Now he has returned to civilization, bringing back a fine collection of shrunken heads and a riveting account of a religio-political subculture that’s even weirder than you thought it was. Republican Gomorrah is an irresistable combination of anthropology and psychopathology that exerts the queasy fascination of (let’s face it) something very like pornography."
Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor, The New Yorker

“A brave and resourceful reporter adept at turning over rocks that public-relations-savvy Christian conservative leaders would prefer remain undisturbed.”
Rick Perlstein, New York Times Book Review

“Max Blumenthal’s bold and brash reporting style should not overshadow his keen understanding of the extremist ideology that passes for “conservatism” in America today. A witty writer who thinks for himself, he shows the mainstream media where the story is, not vice versa. And his short videos have transformed the conservative crack-up into must-see TV.”
—Joe Conason



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568583982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568583983
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
By Frank Schaeffer

For me reading Max Blumenthal's Republican Gomorrah is a look into a mirror. That might be because Blumenthal extensively interviewed me and drew rather heavily on my book "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back" as a reference for his in-depth exposé of what has gone so very wrong with the Republican Party. He's on my turf so I happen to know he's telling the truth as its not been told before. But there's more.

Republican Gomorrah is the first book that actually "gets" what's happened to the Republican Party and in turn what the Republicans have done to our country. The usual Democratic Party and/or progressive "take" on the Republican Party is that it's been taken over by a far right lunatic fringe of hate and hypocrisy, combining as it does, sexual and other scandals with moralistic finger wagging. But Blumenthal explains a far deeper pathology: it isn't so much religion as the psychosis and sadomasochism of the losers now called "Republicans" that drives the party. And the "Christianity" that shapes so much "conservative" thinking now is anything but Christian. It's a series of deranged personality cults.

Th e Religious Right/Republicans have perfected the method of capturing people in personal crisis and turning them into far right evangelical/far right foot soldiers. This explains a great deal that otherwise, to outsiders, seems almost inexplicable--the why and wherefore of "Deathers" "Birthers" et al. Blumanthal brilliantly sums up this pathology as:

"...a culture of personal crisis lurking behind the histrionics and expressions of social resentment. This culture is the mortar that bonds leaders and followers together.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Republican Gomorrah, Max Blumenthal traces the history of the rise of the Christian Right and its take over of the Republican Party. This is a process which began in the 1950s as an outgrowth of McCarthyism and intensified in reaction to the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam protests, and other aspects of the 1960s. It first gained real power during the 1980s and finally achieved total dominance within the GOP during the 1990s and in the George W. Bush Administration.

Blumenthal has done an impressive amount of meticulously documented research and has unearthed much new information. He identifies Francis Schaeffer as the original source of much of the philosophy behind the Family (as the movement is known among its adherents), and recognizes the heavy influence of James Dobson, Rousas John Rushdoony, and Howard F. Ahmanson in its propagation. As the Family has gained power it has attracted politicians like Tom DeLay and Ralph Reed until, in the 2008 election, it was actually able to dictate the choice of a supremely unqualified candidate as the Republican vice-presidential nominee.

This book intrigued me on several levels. As a white Southern male in my early 50s, I have witnessed much of the Family's rise. I remember Francis Schaeffer being avidly discussed among young conservatives at my college during the 1970s, and recall the very heavy handed Republican efforts to co-opt the votes of people like me which began in 1980 and have continued to the present. I resented then and still resent today their assumption that my heritage and my faith would incline me to vote for their bigoted and racist platform, and feel deeply ashamed that so many who have a similar background to mine could be manipulated into giving them their support.
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Format: Hardcover
I just want to second the Amazon review of this book by Frank Schaeffer. Amen, Frank and bravo to Max, who really has written an amazing book.

I also grew up in the evangelical culture. With the exception of my immediate family, most of my relatives are part of Christian right. I graduated from a conservative, evangelical college where, as one of the few politically liberal students, I probably met more gay and lesbians than I later did at my Ivy League graduate school. As Max Blumenthal shows in his book.....this is not a strange coincidence.

I was born into an evangelical home, as were my parents. In fact, most of the hundreds of evangelicals I met at church or college were the second, third or fourth generation of conservative Christians. I left the evangelical world at age 22 and have spent years wondering what makes it so angry and reactive. Main-line Protestants and Catholics have their own faults and odd tics. Ditto for the reform and conservative branches of Judiasm. But with the exception of certain fundamentalist Muslims, none of these groups seem to have the same weird, sado-masochistic vibe of the Christian right.

In fact, evangelical Republicans act so much like untreated trauma survivors or dry drunks that I've really come to view them more as a psychological phenomenon as opposed to a religious movement. They're obsessed with gays, pornography and sexuality because, as Blumenthal shows, so many are closeted gays, porn addicts and/or men who can't relate to women in a healthy, equal way.

It's a very strange sub-culture. Conservative Christians tend to cut themselves off from a huge spectrum of human emotions (with the usual dismal, whack-a-mole results.) They insist on ignorance, attempting to shackle any natural intellectual curiosity.
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