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American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 21, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Scientists repeatedly prove the limited amount of fossil-based fuels left in the world and emphasize the environmental effects of using them. Yet many Republicans ignore science in the name of God while promoting a debt-driven consumer society. Debt, radical religion and fuel have been individual sources of expansion and destruction for many nations throughout history. Utilizing these precedents, Phillips provides detailed and troubling criticism of the United States' excessive dependence on and promotion of these three factors. Phillips predicts these practices will significantly diminish the power of the United States in international politics. In navigating this sometimes complicated book, Scott Brick delivers an outstanding performance. His command of the text will leave listeners believing that he wrote the book. His intensity matches the author's urgency while his emphasis proves a great value in determining the important information. Nonfiction audiobooks of this breadth often become cumbersome and daunting with information overload. But Brick leads his listeners with the gift of a master performer who knows his audience. While extras such as a time line, bibliography or character glossary could only improve this audiobook, the clarity of the text through the efforts of the author and narrator make it well worth the listen.
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.
This former Republican strategist has written several books on the relationship between wealth and politics in this country, including the New York Times best-sellers Politics of Rich and Poor (1990) and Wealth and Democracy (2002). Phillips' abiding theme is given a workout again in his new book, with his major thesis spelled out on the first page of the preface: three demons threaten the continued well-being of the U.S. These are our "reckless dependency on shrinking oil supplies," a "milieu of radicalized (and much too influential) religion," and a "reliance on borrowed money" (domestic and international debt, that is). His stiff--no harsh--words are aimed primarily at the Republican Party for allowing these three trends to have gotten out of control, but Democrats, without offering clear and tangible alternatives, are not let off the hook. The author's investigation into these three problems is set in a historical context as he posits the undeniable fact that all previous world economic powers have ultimately failed in continued strength (each one, however, believing "they were unique and that God was on their side"). Phillips is eloquent, absorbing, and frightening, and this book will follow its predecessors onto the best-seller lists. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Kevin Phillips has written a thorough book that broadly compares 21st century America with other historical examples of over-reach. He notices eerie similarities. In America today we see the prosecution of wars on several fronts, a nation falling into increasing private and public debt and the rise of religious intolerance. Indeed, although this book was published in 2006, he very presciently anticipates the rise of the tea party movement.
So, can America fail? Well, possibly but not in the short run. A nation of such depth and entrepreneurial spirit will not collapse overnight. But, in the longer run? Well, the jury is still out. Afghanistan looks like a morass, debt will take decades to be repaid unless inflation helps out, and this creates problems of its own. And, as far as religion is concerned, America has made a clear turn to the unenlightened. No other nation in the developed world has such belief in a supernatural god, miracles and an eventual world ending clash between good and evil. The rest of the world is far more rational. Yet, it is not just the fact that Americans are religious. This is not a problem per se. Rather, it is that religion has become so intolerant. Never in living memory has America elected a non-believing President and there are no signs that this is about to change.
Kevin Phillips has done an admirable job documenting modern America. It will not be well received. My fear is that it will be even less heeded.
The book takes the reader through a well-detailed account of how we have reached this point, and where this likely leads. The "here" that Mr. Phillips outlines is a country where the dominant political party in the country has entered into a "great alliance" with the dominant religious organizations in the country in order to maintain joint dominance. The religious organizations benefit by continuing to assure that their agenda's are met by the politicians, while the political party benefits by keeping the eye of the governed off of the rape and pillage that is going on within the political apparatus. The focus weaves this involvement of the extreme right-wing fundamentalist clerics through all aspects of government, focusing in particular on the debt that has resulted and the foreign oil dependence that continues to drive most decisions, plunging the nation further into debt, resulting in increasing profits from those few who "own" that industry.
The historical aspects of the book were excellent, helping the reader to understand how we got where we are, as well as making it clear where history would advise that all nations end up when they get on the path that we have put ourselves on. It is not a comforting picture. I have given the book 4 stars because while the message and content are excellent and timely, I do think that the writing became just a little disjointed and rambled down some alleys at times. I would still highly recommend this book.