The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power


“Of all the important studies of the American right, The Family is undoubtedly the most eloquent.  It is also quite possibly the most terrifying.”  Thomas Frank

As many of you hopefully noticed the author of this book  left a comment on one of Jammer’s Posts encouraging others to read his book which has produced the most in- depth rsearch on this invisible network of fundamentalists.  Mr. Sharlet apologized for departing from blog etiquete.  I approved his message and I think anyone who has a number 4 on the NY Times bestseller list, can depart from usual courtesy.

I bought the book today and have started it.  Guess how many pages into the book before both Sam Brownback and Toddly Tiahrt are mentioned?  Yes, that’s right both made appearances before page 30.

These people are scary, as Thoms Frank notes above.  Their Jesus has a decidedly “world-conqueror” bent to his philosphy.  George W. Bush supposedly found Jesus at one of  this group’s establishments.

It is a long book, but despite that short coming it would be a great book-club read.


Filed under Book Reviews

22 responses to “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

  1. You know my fondness for quotes. There was one yesterday on my Quote of the Day gadget that caught my attention —

    “If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.” — Jay Leno

    I don’t think any one’s God belongs in politics — shouldn’t get the credit or the blame, just plain doesn’t belong in the mix in any way!

    So I would only change Leno’s quote to take out the mention of God. Otherwise it’s a pretty profound statement!

  2. I ordered the book via internet and am waiting with baited breath (anyone know what the heck that means?)

  3. 6176746f6c6c65

    Hmm, I think that is “bated breath”; roughly means holding one’s breath, IIRC.

    • so like an abbreviation of abated?

    • wicked

      I was in a rush and had to leave, but here’s what I’ve found since getting home and looking a little deeper.

      Q] From Steve Gearhart: Where does the term baited breath come from, as in: ‘I am waiting with baited breath for your answer’?

      [A] The correct spelling is actually bated breath but it’s so common these days to see it written as baited breath that there’s every chance that it will soon become the usual form, to the disgust of conservative speakers and the confusion of dictionary writers. Examples in newspapers and magazines are legion; this one appeared in the Daily Mirror on 12 April 2003: “She hasn’t responded yet but Michael is waiting with baited breath”.

      The above is the British view, at least.

      I always thought it was bated, too, but since I’ve never been sure, I avoid using it. LOL

      Bated is correct. Maybe I can remember that now?

      Fnord, you’re right about it being related to abated. 🙂

  4. jammer5

    Since no Friday post: Chapter one finished. Two started, and in a direction I didn’t see coming. Wicked, is that normal?

    • Is it Friday? I get lost easily, Jammer.

      • wicked

        No, darn it, it’s not. I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown and will be eternally grateful when daughter and her hubby get home from KC for a few days. We have some things to talk about concerning her oldest son.

      • jammer5

        Where did Thursday go anyway? I’m so cornfuzed.

    • wicked

      LOL Quite normal, Jammer.

      It doesn’t happen to me as much as it did in the past. You’re obviously a seat-of-the-pants writer, meaning you don’t write from a synopsis/outline. You don’t plot your story. I used to write that way. After I sold my first two books, I started selling on proposal. A full proposal is a complete synopsis and first three chapters of the book. When I’m submitting two books for one contract, my second book proposal is synopsis only. I had to learn to write a synopsis! (Keep in mind that I’d written close to ten full manuscripts, if not more, before I sold the first book. 😉 )

      So now I plot my books from beginning to end. I even have a “storyboard” with an idea of what each scene within each chapter will be about. And now I can’t write without it!

      (Hint: I usually write the first 1-3 chapters before I start the real plotting, but I know the turning points in the story.)

      BTW, if you’re interested, my writing group has a blog about writing. Some is pertinent to writing romance, but there’s a lot of general information, too. We started April 1 and have covered a lot of topics, from writing jargon to the financial aspects, which is where we are now.

      Feel free (anyone!) to visit. You don’t have to leave a comment, although we’d love it if you did.

    • jammer5

      I had an outline, but the seat of my pants caught on fire, and burned it to the ground (the outline, not my seat 🙂 )

      I’ll check out your link. Thanks.

  5. This is a pretty good book. Ever since I started reading, I thought often of G.W. Bush. From the book, page 58:

    “[George W.] Bush is not a member of the Family, although his faith was shaped in a Bible study in Midland, Texas, organized by a group the Family started in the late 1970s for the very purpose of bringing influential men into personal relationships with each other and with a particular concept of Jesus.”

  6. lilacluvr

    Have you noticed, Todd Tiarht has tried to distance himself from the ‘Family’ lately?

    I read somewhere on the WE blog that Tiarht told people in one of those town hall meetings that Moran lives at the C Street location. When asked about his relationship with the same group, Tiarht responded he has not had contact for quite some time (or something to that effect).

    So, is Tiarht feeling vulnerable on this issue? Does he know that since the secret is out about this group, the moderates and independents are going to be scrutinizing him more closely?

    And to think, the general public did not know about this ‘Family’ until Mark Sanford blurted it out during his tearful confession about his mistress in Argentina.

    Since that moment – we have heard of all different people associated with that group and nothing has been positive – has it?

    But, I still plan to vote for Moran in the primary to get Tiarht out – not because I like Moran but because I want to see Tiarht get his ass kicked!

  7. lilacluvr

    Maybe someone should do a detective search on Tiarht in Washington and see exactly when was his last ‘contact’ with this Family.

    I still ask every Republican that defends this C Street Family that if it is registered as a church, then I’m sure they would be happy to have me attend next Sunday’s service.

    I’m still waiting for that invitation.

  8. jammer5

    Just got an email my book is on its way. I spit out the chicken liver, so my breath ain’t bated anymore 🙂

  9. I am past the first one hundred pages in the book. He is covering the history of people who led to the development of the family – in the 1930’s they were called “The Fellowship”. They seemed to have a scary fascination with Adolf Hitler and one of the founders believed that a God-controlled dictator was a better leader than a non-God-controlled Democracy.

    The Fellowship hated unions, titans of industry were always right and employees always wrong. They were the early dominionists – God should control everything. The great depression was caused by Godlessness, not be the runaway deregulation of the 1920’s (under Republicans, btw). The Fellowship was successful in as early as 1948 in reversing some of the gains for labor that Roosevelt achieved during his term in office.

  10. wicked

    Off with their heads!!!

    (This is not a comment meant to do harm.)

  11. Sharlet appeared on Radio Free Kansas as his hard bound edition was released in 2008 a download or stream is available at the jump:

    He and I will be taping an update with all the new chatter going on, courtesy of Rachel Maddow et. al. soon!