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The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule Hardcover – August 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805079882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805079883
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Frank paints a complex and conspiracy-ridden picture that illuminates the sinister and controversial practices of the Republican party in the 20th and 21st centuries. While Frank's assessments and interpretations of key events, players and party doctrines is accurate and justifiable, his overwhelming blame of the Republican Party as the source of everything that's wrong with this county and as the emblem of self-destructing government denies the Democrats and the citizenry their roles in a decaying democracy. Wyman's matter-of-fact delivery hints at the obviousness of Frank's words, but provides enough enthusiasm to make listeners believe he, too, is invested in Frank's message. His emphasis and vigor keep the text enjoyable, long after the rant of Republican despotism has become excessive. A Metropolitan Books hardcover (Reviews, May 26). (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A no-holds-barred exegesis on the naked cynicism of conservatism in America.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Written with barbed wit and finely controlled anger, he skewers such juicy targets as libertarian strategist Grover Norquist and Michelle Malkin.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

 
"Glorious… Often brilliant… Frank’s gloom is leavened by an eye for the unexpected and the absurd."—Los Angeles Times
 
“Well-researched and witty… Provides a powerful liberal antidote to the high-volume rantings of Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Fox News.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Frank’s gifts as a social observer are on display… His analysis of why there are so many libertarian think tanks in a country with so few libertarians is dead on. In Thomas Frank, the American left has found its own Juvenal."—The New York Times Book Review

"Frank offers one damning anecdote after another. The Wrecking Crew explains how cynical conservatives have wrested control of the government by railing against its very existence, all while using federal perches to funnel billions into the pockets of lobbyists and the corporations they represent."—Time

"Thomas Frank is back with another hunk of dynamite. The Wrecking Crew should monopolize political conversation this year. It’s the first book to effectively tie the ruin and corruption of conservative governance to the conservative "movement building" of the 1970s, and, before that, the business crusade against good government going back at least to the 1890s."—Salon.com

"Tom Frank has hold of something real. The Wrecking Crew can be good, spirited fun. Frank captures a quality of exuberant bullying in those of his conservative subjects he knows well enough to identify individually, rather than categorically."—The New Yorker

"Frank’s sentences inhale and unfurl with a wit and verve…"—The New York Observer

"Conservatives in office have made their share of blunders and mistakes, and Frank is at his finest in depicting some of the stunning instances of hypocrisy and idiocy in the period of Republican rule."—The New York Post

"Smart, thoroughly researched, and written with wit and panache."—The Wichita Eagle

"A welcome read. There is no doubt that Frank is helping to restore the journalistic and literary standards to political books. Elegant… The Wrecking Crew has the rhetorical power to illustrate the dire consequences of a government sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder. One finishes the book feeling as if one’s political vision has been brought into focus."—The Courier-Journal

"A superb follow-up to What’s The Matter with Kansas?... Thorough reporting and incisive historical analysis. With genuine outrange and blasts of polemic, but Frank never allows The Wrecking Crew to become just another seething right- or left-wing political tract preaching to the choir."—The Oregonian

"Frank brings invaluable insider perceptions, ardor, and precision to his lancing inquiry into the erosion of democracy and the enshrinement of the mighty dollar… An electrifying, well-researched analysis of ‘conservatism-as-profiteering.’ This staggering history of systematic greed with inject new energy into public discourse as a historical election looms."—Booklist (starred review)


More About the Author

Founding editor of The Baffler, Thomas Frank is the author of One Market Under God, The Conquest of Cool and What's the Matter With America? He is also a contributor to Harper's, The Nation, and the New York Times op-ed pages.

Customer Reviews

I found this book to be exceptionally detailed and thoroughly researched.
Val Atkinson
What will follow is privatization of government services to profit making agencies with high dollar executives and a low wage, under-educated staff.
globehead
This book is a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
Luc REYNAERT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

307 of 329 people found the following review helpful By Steve Koss VINE VOICE on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Following up on his masterly examination of the paradox under which Red Staters consistently vote Republican against their own economic self-interest (WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?), Thomas Frank sets out to trace the present-day conservative Republican approach to government in THE WRECKING CREW. What he demonstrates is deeply disturbing even though it has remained on display virtually every day of the entire Bush II administration.

According to Frank, the conservative worldview is totally committed to "the ideal of laissez faire, meaning minimal government interference in the marketplace, along with hostility to taxation, regulation, organized labor, state ownership, and all the business community's other enemies. "The conservative movement promotes the interests of business exclusively over all else in accordance with the motto, "More business in government, less government in business." So-called "big government," also tagged as the liberal state, is the enemy; in fact, virtually all government is the enemy, other than the national defense.

Mr. Frank follows the conservative movement from the turn of the Twentieth Century through the Depression and New Deal, focusing most heavily on the movement's rebirth under Ronald Reagan and on into the new millennium. Along the way, he discusses the growth of lobbying as a major force in converting the nation's capital into a massive feeding ground for corporate special interests. Frank also highlights the manner in which conservatives have repeatedly run the country into huge spending deficits in order to "defund the left" while simultaneously politicizing government management positions by favoring ideology over competence.
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158 of 181 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Locke on August 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Frank's latest book is bound to garner a wide spectrum of reviews here, and many of them will be skewed to the far poles of political ideology, both right and left. That said, readers of these reviews should understand that this is an important book and deserves to be taken seriously: whether or not various Amazon reviewers (such as myself) agree or disagree with the author's thesis and conclusions, The Wrecking Crew is going to substantially shape political debate in America. Personally, I found the book engaging, hugely informative, and fascinating -- the way a 40-car pile up or train derailment is fascinating. Frank makes a valiant attempt to end the book on an upbeat note, but on the whole, the picture he presents is like a case study in political despair. The really depressing part is that he seems to have correctly diagnosed the cancer. To paraphrase a remark by a lobbyist friend he quotes -- this at a tony restaurant in DC swarming with other lobbyists -- "You think this is going to change if Obama is elected?" The not so veiled implication: dream on. The Wrecking Crew makes me think we are living in a sort of flashback repeat of the Weimar Republic. Hey, baby, gonna party like it's 1939!
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90 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Randy Buck VINE VOICE on August 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For those of us looking aghast at the endless flow of partisan venom that's become our national media, the feckless catastrophe that's become our national government, and wondered how so many self-proclaimed uberpatriots have managed to steer America from the country the world loved to a blowhard much-despised power in a few short decades, Frank provides interesting answers (and they're well-researched and excellently documented, unlike the spewings of some current conservative chart-topping bestsellers). This book's both horrifying and wickedly funny -- each page is a mixture of laughs and groans of disgust. Difficult to see how even the most rabid partisan could quarrel with many of his conclusions, as they're drawn from direct quotes; Frank's a master of giving pompous politicos enough rope to hang themselves. A page-turner par excellence, and essential reading for any thinking American in this most vital of election years.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Ronald G. Defenbaugh on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
With the recent books by Jane Mayer, Naomi Klein, Scott McClellan and others I was looking for a composite of how the current administration accomplished their dismantling of government. Mr. Frank has come close to explaining how the conservative thinking came to pass and functioned. This may not be the one book to record the travesty of the last eight years and beyond but it comes close.

Mr. Frank contends the dismantling of government was premeditated by the Bush-Cheney administration and like-minded supporters. Frank contends the appointments to regulatory agencies and other governing bureaus were intentionally incompetent or non-supporters of their assigned agencies. They either incompetently or deliberately neutered these agencies. He states the department of labor was intentionally made impotent in 2 and a half months. We all are privy to the Gonzales incompetence, the "Brownie is doing a great job" incompetence and John Bolton's hate for the United Nations. Frank implies these appointments were intentional to prove that government doesn't work.

Frank's book can be summarized as stating the Bush-Cheney and supporters set out to prove government doesn't work and implies they also had intent to line the pockets of their supporters.

Mr. Frank hits upon the Jack Abramoff - Grover Norquist group pretty hard. He explains how Mr. Abramoff's antics played in the group and how he appearred to be above the law.

Thomas Frank's The Wrecking Crew may not be the final history book I was looking for, as it is slanted to the left, but then maybe the true history of this time may be that the right is nothing but a bunch of thugs. Only history can judge.
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