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Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country--And It's Time to Take It Back Hardcover – August 18, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (August 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670031410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670031412
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Author, populist, and radio commentator Jim Hightower is nothing if not direct. In Thieves in High Places, Hightower lambastes the current American power structure and exhorts his readers to fight against it. Hightower's indignation runs deep in this "us versus them" exposé of corporate malfeasance, governmental abuse, the militarization of American society, and the Bush administration's empire building. In the first part of the book, Hightower illustrates how the Bush administration and Congress work with major corporations (including our nation's vast media conglomerates) to add to their obscene wealth at the expense of America's working class, our environment, and (most lamentably) our rights and liberties. "The elites have pulled off a slow-motion coup, radically wrenching America's power balance from a people's democracy to Kleptocrat Nation."

Hightower defines "Kleptocrat Nation" as "a body of people ruled by thieves...a government characterized by the practice of transferring money and power from the many to the few...[and] a ruling class of moneyed elites that usurps liberty, justice, sovereignty, and other, democratic rights from the people." His catalogue of corporate greed and governmental complicity is breathtaking in scope, and though he admits that the fusion of business and government is not new, he persuasively states that "never have so few done so much for so few." Unfortunately, Hightower's serious message is delivered in such a "down home" style, it may lose its impact on the more brainy among us. Also, one wishes there were more documentation for the copious examples and facts in the book. Still, Hightower's call to action is sincere, and his descriptions of the triumphs of average people over corporate power might give some fledgling activists some hope. Thieves in High Places urges Americans to reclaim control of our government--Hightower thinks we can with community organization and grass-roots movements. However, judging from his description of the current power structure, we are going to need all the help we can get. -- Silvana Tropea

From Publishers Weekly

Populist radio commentator, columnist and author Hightower (If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates) delivers a timely manifesto for progressives living in what he calls a nation ruled by "a confederacy of kleptocrats." In Hightower's view of the current political situation, "King George the W" reigns atop a greedy hierarchy of corporate-politico corruption in which many politicians have become no more than handmaidens of corporations and the super-rich. Devotees of Hightower's populist politics and his sardonic style will find much to admire, but the average reader will consider the book a jumble of loosely connected treatises laced with distracting sidebars and peppered with hyperbolic forebodings of government evil. Hightower warns the reader, "Big Brother is no longer a paranoid's nightmare, but is alive and very much on the prowl." Hightower's prose at times bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the propaganda he condemns. While he does offer inspirational stories of community action and even practical information (e.g., how to contact a long list of public interest groups), the book's disorganization is baffling: he careens in one chapter from professional sports through the fate of public libraries to the history of Santa Claus. In addition, Hightower's quasi-comical, off-the-wall pronouncements (suggesting, for instance, that CEOs of companies with tax-free Bermuda bank accounts be required to wear Bermuda shorts at all times) tend to stifle his worthy, impassioned calls for action. Progressives will need a more comprehensible spokesperson if they hope, as Hightower envisions, to "take [America] back."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

First off, this book is very entertaining to read.
Rae Atkinson
If you are a progressive with the energy and will to make a difference, and want to have fun doing so, read this book.
matt corsaro
He gives us solutions that are practical and can be put into everyday use.
Frederick S. Goethel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jim Hightower has issued a call to arms in this his latest book. It is a call to action that should be answered by the vast majority of Americans for the current system is serving very few of us. Hightower has only stated the obvious in regard to our current government structure but he does so in a very clear manner that may just get the attention of America. Too often we just accept things as they are because speaking out is too much trouble. If we aren't careful, we are going to lose the America we love to corporate greed and corruption. Bush won't help us for he and his whole crew are company men all of the way and are doing everything they can to help the process along. In Jim's words, "Never have so few done so much for so few." The things Hightower documents in this book are not only unbelievable but also downright scary.
The Democrats don't escape Hightower's wrath either. Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council are just about as guilty as are the Republicans. These people figure that if they don't fight the corporate greed that is ruining America they can expect large campaign contributions. It has obviously worked since as Democrats we no longer seem to have the trouble raising money that we used to. On the other hand, as a party we no longer have a soul. The reason the Democratic Party exists is to fight for labor, the poor, and all of the other good hard working Americans who look to our party for protection from the, "haves and the have mores." Quite simply, I don't care how much money Microsoft puts in DNC coffers; our principles should not be for sale.
Just as the reader starts to get really depressed, Hightower hits us with the good news. People all over the country are starting to stand up and be counted.
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Bryant on October 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jim Hightower tells it like it was, is and always be. He proves that neither party represents the common man. He holds no punches and delivers his message with a Texas flair. At times funny and at times deadly serious, Jim takes us backdoor to what is really happening to our country. Only a few selected people control this country and they are doing EVERYTHING in their power to keep control. He also talks about how the neo-conservatives have hi-jacked the Republican Party and why the Democrats are no longer the progressive party. Jim shows why all of Texas don't like GW Bush and he shows facts how Bush actually hurt Texas, rather than helping it. Bill O'Reiliy clams he is a populist. But he NEVER tells the truth when it comes to the Republicans and most importantly, to President Bush. To keep from getting into hot water with his bosses, O'Reiliy just avoids the subject or sugarcoats it. Jim Hightower is not like that. He is a true populist who tells it like it is and don't care if Republicans or Democrats don't like it.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Sally Burnell on November 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
OK, so you're sitting there feeling helpless that "BushCo" (that corporate monster that now inhabits the White House) has raised close to $100 million in donations to its Presidential campaign, is literally in the back pockets of nearly every Fortune 500 company in this country and thus has access to its money, has Big Oil on its side and seems virtually untouchable with the
might and power it has accumulated in its greedy quest to inhabit the White House for another four years, right?
As in, OK, this is one big helluva David and Goliath type of thing. How on earth can We The People topple someone who has become almost a dictator with every moneyed and powerful entity on his side and probably more power than any President since this country came into existence?
Well, sit yourself down in your favourite comfy chair or couch, pour a nice hot cup of reality tea and read this book. Jim Hightower shows us the way, the very REALISTIC way, that We The People can take back our Government from the greedy minions of "BushCo" who would subvert the very foundations that the Founding Fathers laid forth for posterity.
It's called, "Grass Roots", and it's a very powerful weapon that "BushCo" can't stop, given enough of a juggernaut by We The People. Gather round the kitchen table and listen to Jim Hightower tell you of very REAL success stories of Real People like you and like me who defeated Big Corporations (read that, Big Money) using grass roots organising and a bit of moxey and a
hell of a lot of anger.
You know the one beautiful thing about Americans? We may seem, at times, to just sit there and take it: OK, now, shut up, go shop and spend that tax break we gave you, oh, and don't question us, we know what we're doing, so just move along, move along.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Carol Grosser on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a Texan by birth. Growing up in a family where politics were discussed nightly at the dinner table, I learned that according to my Mom, Franklin Roosevelt was a saint and I only remember my father arguing against any point she might make. I never recall the words "Bush." Suddenly out of the night sky, "Bush" appeared suddenly, running for office saying "Bush" was a Texan. Then there is a "Bush" who is suddenly a Floridian--do you suppose Bush citizens are like mushrooms? Springing up overnight to fertilize lowly cultures with their visionary capitalism? Texas used to be a well-educated Democratic (though somewhat conservative) state until the "Shrubs" appeared because Texas wisely used a lot of their oil money to fund higher education. When the "Shurbs" appeared, things changed. Yokels just don't know how to combat Rovers and Shrubs although we fight the overgrowth of underbrush daily, both physically and politically. Hightower was how Texas used to be and how maybe someday it will be again--intelligent, honest, and able to look at reality without flinching.
I read Hightower's book concurrently with another very important book called "Bush's Brain." It is a story of how the Bushes took over Texas and how Rove did it. It was remarkable to me to learn in "Bush's Brain" that Rove essentially destroyed Hightower's political future (his capacity to earn his living). I don't know about you, but when someone tries to kill me by destroying my capacity to feed myself, I get downright onery and even insulting!!! Jim Hightower's book, given this knowledge, makes him the most remarkable human being I have ever known.
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