Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Poison Tea

Poison Tea

How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP

Jeff Nesbit

Thomas Dunne Books

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Poison Tea shines a spotlight on the shadowy Koch brother network and reveals hidden connections between the tobacco industry, the reclusive billionaire brothers, and the Tea Party movement. It’s a major story that for too long has been underreported and poorly understood.”—REP. HENRY WAXMAN, a former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

How did today’s Tea Party movement really come to be? Did it suddenly appear in 2009 as a spontaneous response to Barack Obama and health-care reform? Or was its true purpose and history something far different. Was it in fact a careful, strategic effort by two of the planet’s wealthiest individuals, the tobacco industry, and other corporate interests to remake the government and seize control of one of our two national parties, ultimately gaining both the White House and Congress?

Jeff Nesbit was in the room at the beginning of the unholy alliance between representatives of the world’s largest private oil company and the planet’s largest public tobacco company. There, they planned for a grassroots national political movement—one that would later be known as the Tea Party—that would promote their own corporate interests and political goals.

Drawing from his own experience as well as from troves of recently released internal tobacco industry documents, Nesbit reveals the long game that these corporate giants have played to become a dominant force in American politics.

Reviews

Praise for Poison Tea

"Poison Tea is essential reading for those interested in the inner workings of a key element of the conservative insurgency."
—Bruce Bartlett, BookForum

"The hijacking of American politics by the Tea Party is one of the most important stories of our time, and Jeff Nesbit offers an inside account of how it happened. Poison Tea is compelling, richly reported, and utterly chilling."
—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

“Without exaggeration or vitriol, Jeff Nesbit has enlightened readers to the influence and unabashed manipulation by the Koch brothers over industry, politics, and the American public. Too few citizens recognize the name Koch brothers, and even fewer understand their tactics and the power they wield. The author has had first-hand information regarding their stronghold on Republican politicians. He writes with facts and without emotion. All citizens of the United States need to read this book.” —Senator Harry Reid (NV), Democratic Leader, United States Senate

“If there is a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy,’ as Hillary Clinton famously said, Poison Tea makes a compelling case that it is alive and well-funded. Jeff Nesbit’s exhaustive research connecting seemingly disparate groups is impressive.” —Owen Ullmann, USA TODAY

“Jeff Nesbit meticulously traces the origins of the Tea Party movement, and the ways in which its creators hoped to disrupt the Republican Party. By all accounts, they've succeeded - perhaps more than they could have imagined.” —David A. Kessler, MD, former Commissioner, US Food and Drug Administration, and author of A Question of Intent

“Many Americans think that the Tea Party is a grass roots movement, born of voter discontent with Washington, DC. Jeff Nesbit shows us otherwise: that it is, in fact, a highly orchestrated movement with roots in the tobacco industry, designed to discredit government action to reign in industries who are doing damage to our health, well-being, and natural environment. Poison Tea is a truly frightening book. Read it and weep.” —NAOMI ORESKES, coauthor of Merchants of Doubt

"Poison Tea shines a spotlight on the shadowy Koch brother network and reveals hidden connections between the tobacco industry, the reclusive billionaire brothers, and the Tea Party movement. It’s a major story that for too long has been under-reported and poorly understood." —Rep. Henry Waxman, former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

“In Poison Tea, Jeff Nesbit draws on his own first-hand insider knowledge plus extensive research to reveal that, contrary to conservative mythology, the genesis of the Tea Party was neither spontaneous nor did it come from the grassroots. Poison Tea demonstrates that the birth of the Tea Party was the result of an unholy alliance between the Koch brothers and the tobacco industry that began in the 1980s. Nesbit also reveals how this decades-long campaign to capture the American political system helped spark the civil war within today’s Republican Party.” —Andrew Claster, Deputy Chief Analytics Officer, Obama for America 2011-2012

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Jeff Nesbit

JEFF NESBIT was the director of public affairs for two federal science agencies. He was once profiled in The Wall Street as one of the seven people who ended the Tobacco Wars. Nesbit was a journalist, communications director for Vice President Quayle, and manager of a strategic-communications business for nearly fifteen years. Now the executive director of Climate Nexus, he writes a weekly science blog for U.S. News & World Report. He lives in New York.

Jeff Nesbit

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Thomas Dunne Books

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