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Editorial Reviews

Jeremy Guskin's intelligent voice draws listeners in to Jeff Sharlet's The Family, a complex exposé of an evangelical Christian association that is deeply embedded in American politics. Guskin's emotive yet unobtrusive performance is the perfect match for this impeccably researched and nuanced portrayal of The Family, a group somewhere between a religious denomination, a cult, and a shadow government. The Family operates as a network of cronies with a common leader and raison d'être: Jesus Christ. Sharlet's portrayal is deeply disturbing, yet he retains enough empathy with his subjects to make this a complicated story of an important political force.

Publisher's Summary

They insist they are just a group of friends, yet they funnel millions of dollars through tax-free corporations. They claim to disdain politics, but congressmen of both parties describe them as the most influential religious organization in Washington. They say they are not Christians, but simply believers.

Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful. Their goal is "Jesus plus nothing". Their method is backroom diplomacy. The Family is the startling story of how their faith - part free-market fundamentalism, part imperial ambition - has come to be interwoven with the affairs of nations around the world.

©2009 Jeff Sharlet; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Sharlet has done extensive research, and his thorough account of the Family's life and times is a chilling expose." (Publishers Weekly)

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This will tell you what's ailing America!

Whew! As a result of this definitive study of fundamentalism I now have a new insight into why there have always been religious wars. Sharlet asserts that American Christian Fundamentalism is the singular most influential religious and political movement in the history of this country. It explains the rise of right wing conservatism in response to the era of the New Deal and the Fair Deal. In an all out war since the conclusion of the FDR/Truman years, Christian fundamentalism has sought to undo the Labor movement, social service networks, intellectualism and what they disdainfully name secular humanism to bring about the Kingdom of God, as defined by the movement. The writer did his homework in tracing the movement of radical fundamentalism from the founding preachers of the twenties/thirties to the modern politicians and mega church pastors who promote wealth and power as evidence of being blessed by their God. In the fundamentalist mind, America is the true promised land where their God will establish the perfect nation. Their concept of the manly Jesus is the lynchpin in all of this religious fervor, and the individual is the primary object of God's intent for His world. The craziness unfolds as the influence of this movement exerts itself — it would be hilarious if it weren't so serious. This is a must for anyone seeking to trace the regressive tendencies of modern conservatism as it seems to have evolved. Not an easy read, this book held me spellbound. The narrator performed spectacularly in his presentation, and after I recover from being shaken up by this work, I will listen to it again!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Family

Anybody concerned about maintaining the separation of church and state should read this book. If the members of "The Family" have their way, our secular government is in danger. This elite (well-funded) group of religious conservatives will not stop at anything in their quest to establish a Jesus obeying government. Their ultimate goal is to create a world empire run by family supporters.

Whether you agree with the author's assessment of this group or not, you will find this well written publication worth your time and money.

38 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • M. C. Horn
  • San Francisco, Ca. United States
  • 07-31-11

Um.. Make it stop..

Sharlet takes an interesting topic and makes it tedious. He can write very well, borderline saccharine with cliches and pretty visuals, but.. he lacks the ability to tell a story that holds any attention. It's rich in content, but getting through that content is almost impossible as its just facts woven together without any plot.. I managed to get through a few hours and had to stop.. Cheaper then Ambien though.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • P. Bowen
  • New York, NY United States
  • 01-15-14

Fascinating but thin

What did you love best about The Family?

Great story but the actual content goes very thin after awhile, so that this feels like a magazine article that needed to fill a book.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Lots of following the christians...

I heard the interview of this author and was intrigued by what would be uncovered in this book. Ends up being lots of christian this and that, never really getting anywhere. Big disappointment and would not trust buying another book from this author.

7 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

It's a left leaning political hit-piece!

I have never read anything as despicable as this assault on the christian religion! I would not recommend it to any knowledgeable christian. It's all about politics, and it's a view from the left....way left! The author, I suspect, was paid to do this hit-piece by the political left leaning, well-funded, secularists.

3 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michael
  • deltona, FL, United States
  • 12-16-11

Very disappointed

This book too academic and was extremely dull listening. I didn't enjoy this book at all.

0 of 7 people found this review helpful