From Publishers Weekly
C Street includes everything a riveting tale about a controversial national movement should-scandal, affairs, conspiracies, death, and, of course, secrecy. Sharlet's story of American fundamentalism begins in a historical mansion on Washington DC's C Street, diverts to Argentina, takes root in Uganda, and ends at a street protest in Manhattan. The second in an unofficial series (after The Family) about a religious cabal of politicians from both major parties, Sharlet brings a wealth of research (including many quotes from conversations with "C-streeters" and others in "the Fellowship") to reveal the startling mindset of a movement few even know exists. Vivid descriptions of key players brings his tale to life; in fact, the reader is never allowed to forget that this is true, and Sharlet's repetition is unnecessary. But he deftly unravels the residence as not just a place, but an ideological greenhouse for the teachings of evangelists, Christians, proponents of the Far Right, and others who compose a fundamentalist movement that aims to put Jesus in the Oval Office and get the Bible equal footing with the Constitution.
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Even after the sexual affairs of several congressmen brought the Fellowship (and its D.C. residence on C Street) into the light, most Americans have still never heard of this elitist fundamentalist organization. Even those who have will have trouble getting their heads around a mostly faceless organization whose goal is to convert the world to a trickle-down Christianity, as Sharlet calls it, where God has chosen the leaders (them) and everyone else follows. With our leaders somehow prechosen, it makes it easier to forgive their transgressions (the Fellowship, for example, has no problem working with heads of state like Haiti’s Papa Doc Duvalier and those in present-day Uganda, who advocate the death penalty for homosexuals).That this heavily financed, multilayered organization has been operating for decades—and today is actively implanted within the U.S. military—makes this well-documented, probing investigation even more mind-bending. Mostly, those in the Fellowship don’t talk. Maybe now the discussion will start. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: When the affairs of Fellowship members Senator John Ensign R-Nev. and South Carolina governor Mark Sanford broke, Sharlet’s book The Family became a best-seller. His follow-up is sure to attract similar attention. --Ilene Cooper
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