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.