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Publisher's Summary

In his previous book, Thomas Frank explained why working America votes for politicians who reserve their favors for the rich. Now, in The Wrecking Crew, Frank examines the Washington those politicians have given us, showing why, no matter what happens in November 2008, we're stuck with it for the foreseeable future.

Casting back to the early days of the conservative revolution, Frank describes the rise of a ruling coalition dedicated to dismantling government. But rather than cutting down the big government they claim to hate, conservatives have simply sold it off, deregulating some industries, defunding others, but always turning public policy into a private-sector bidding war.

Washington itself has been remade into a golden landscape of super-wealthy suburbs and gleaming lobbyist headquarters. And though arch-lobbyist Jack Abramoff has crashed and burned, the government-by-entrepreneurship he pioneered so outrageously has become the law of the land.

It is no coincidence, Frank argues, that the same politicians who guffaw at the idea of effective government have installed a regime in which incompetence is the rule. Nor will the country easily shake off the consequences of deliberate misgovernment through the usual electoral remedies. Obsessed with achieving a lasting victory, conservatives have taken pains to enshrine the free market as the permanent creed of state.

Stamped with Frank's audacity, analytic brilliance, and wit, The Wrecking Crew is his most revelatory work yet - and his most important.

©2008 Thomas Frank; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

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  • Overall

A damning criticism of the Conservative movement.

Mr. Frank has written a very clear, well reasoned, substantiated (and substantial!) argument against the core values of the Conservative movement. (In my humble opinion, it is more of a bowel movement on the 99% of Americans, from the top 1%. Who really is the "majority"?)
As someone greatly embarrassed to have been taken in by the propaganda surrounding Bush in 2000 and 2004, and voted for him, I sincerely wish us all to take many steps back, breathe deep, calm down, then start to review (as honestly and calmly as we can) what happened. Those responsible need to be man enough to deal with the consequences of their actions.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeffrey
  • West Harrison, NY, USA
  • 09-12-08

Loss of hope...

My heart goes out to Saundra as she clearly is looking for hope: perhaps looking for that time in Frank's conclusion where the parents of current 40 and 50 year olds worked manufacturing jobs and lived more prosperous and fulfilled lives than their offspring.
True that Frank's book is not prescriptive, but there's really no surprise there. He is a historian, and as such he has done his job: recounting recent history so that we might learn to avoid the mistakes of the prior 25 years. Indeed, he has done his job very well. I haven't encountered a better journalistic or historical rendition than this fine audiobook.
The job of reversing course and bringing those days of prosperity is up to us now.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Wrecking Crew

Speaking as a former Republican, I can say that Thomas Frank documents what I lived through and began to see for myself since the Reagan era. An historical perspective is precisely what we need to be able to set our policies and politics back on a reasonable course. The voice of reason, trust and goodwill has been all but silenced after 30 years of big money and power-grabbing by the "conservative" ideologues.

I highly recommend this listen for everyone who is fed up with this deregulated and corrupted system.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stephen
  • Moroni, UT, United States
  • 05-27-10

Great book, but sad Tale!

Very interesting and good overview of how the current political system has become corrupted. Very good but also very sad. Highly reccommond for anyone interested in understanding why the politicians never get anything done.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Saundra
  • Thornton, CO, USA
  • 08-13-08

Looking for the political good

Thomas Frank documents conservativism's enumerable sins ending with believer's reaping the disdain they hold for foe and friend alike. With Herbert Spencer's social Darwinism mantra of survival of the fittest mixed with the original sin of St Augustine, conservative belief assumes everyone is corrupted or corruptible and the ruthless win. Because all men are more motivated by greed and power than altruism, there is no hope for man or government structured by man. So, stand aside you who still hold out the hope your government can and will serve you the individual person. For the conservative only the MARKET is worthy of a voice in your government and that voice rightly goes to businesses willing to buy it. Conservativism is the law of nature; it is absolute.

In 10 hours of listening there was a litany of crimes and criminals, with the certainty that after 30 years of rule, conservativism's power over us is now absolute. Thomas Franks effort held no hope, no reasoned discourse. He proposed no workable ideas that might restore a government for and by the people.

The author's conclusion: We dare not strive for better for as long as anyone dare vote with vision and hope, we only embolden the resolve of Conservativism to destroy us. This book leaves the listener so demoralized they are left wondering if that was the objective of the author.

Possibly this book is a good resource on the history, methods and results of conservative rule for the student of politics but for other listeners looking for a different path it is a pain filled exercise in self flagellation

23 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Good historical analysis

Always enjoy Frank's writing. He explains what is right before our eyes.
Wish narrator would learn to pronounce Laissez faire (not laa) and Che (not shay). Even Frank pronounced Laissez faire correctly in the after interview.