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The Wrecking Crew

How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation

Thomas Frank

Holt Paperbacks

From the most astute political scoffer since H. L. Mencken, the definitive account of the conservative reign of misrule and corruption

Hailed as a “hunk of dynamite” (Salon) and celebrated for its “satiric wit” (The New York Times Book Review) and “delighted outrage” (The New Republic), The Wrecking Crew supplies the first and—lacking future fact-finding commissions—probably the only full reckoning of what conservatism has wrought.

Casting his eyes from the Bush administration’s final months of plunder to the earliest days of the Republican revolution, Thomas Frank uncovers the deep logic behind the graft and incompetence of conservatives in power. He shows how leaders dedicated to a doctrine of government by entrepreneurship proceeded to sell off the state, channeling the profits to cronies and loyalists. He surveys the federal agencies doomed to failure by the inept and even hostile staff appointed to run them. He charts the practice of wholesale deregulation and the devastating results now clear for all to see. From political scandal to mortgage meltdown, Frank documents the consequences of enshrining the free market as the logic of the state.

As conservatives retreat to lick their wounds and a new administration prepares to undo the years of misgovernment, The Wrecking Crew makes clear the challenges before the nation. A brilliant and audacious stocktaking—now thoroughly revised and updated—this is Frank’s most revelatory work yet.

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Chapter One
Golconda on the Potomac
The richest county in America isn’t in Silicon Valley or some sugarland preserve of Houston’s oil kings; it is Loudoun County, Virginia, a fast-growing suburb of Washington, D.C., that is known for swollen suburban homes and white rail fences of the kind that denote “horse country.” The second richest county is Fairfax, Virginia, the next suburb over from Loudoun; the third, sixth, and seventh richest counties are also suburbs of the capital.1 The Washington area has six different Morton’s steakhouses to choose from, seven
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  • The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Thomas Frank's book The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation. The Wrecking Crew supplies the first and—lacking future fact-finding commissions—probably the only full reckoning of what conservatism has wrought. Casting back to the early days of the conservative revolution, Frank describes the rise of a ruling coalition dedicated to dismantling government.

  • Democracy Now: The Wrecking Crew

    Author Thomas Frank on Teh Wrecking Crew and How Conservatives Rule

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REVIEWS

Praise for The Wrecking Crew

“A no-holds-barred exegesis on the naked cynicism of conservatism in America.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Written with barbed wit and finely controlled anger, he skewers such juicy targets as libertarian strategist Grover Norquist and Michelle Malkin.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Glorious… Often brilliant… Frank’s gloom is leavened by an eye for the unexpected and the absurd."—Los Angeles Times
 
“Well-researched and witty… Provides a powerful liberal antidote to the high-volume rantings of Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Fox News.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Frank’s gifts as a social observer are on display… His analysis of why there are so many libertarian think tanks in a country with so few libertarians is dead on. In Thomas Frank, the American left has found its own Juvenal."—The New York Times Book Review

"Frank offers one damning anecdote after another. The Wrecking Crew explains how cynical conservatives have wrested control of the government by railing against its very existence, all while using federal perches to funnel billions into the pockets of lobbyists and the corporations they represent."—Time

"Thomas Frank is back with another hunk of dynamite. The Wrecking Crew should monopolize political conversation this year. It’s the first book to effectively tie the ruin and corruption of conservative governance to the conservative "movement building" of the 1970s, and, before that, the business crusade against good government going back at least to the 1890s."—Salon.com

"Tom Frank has hold of something real. The Wrecking Crew can be good, spirited fun. Frank captures a quality of exuberant bullying in those of his conservative subjects he knows well enough to identify individually, rather than categorically."—The New Yorker

"Frank’s sentences inhale and unfurl with a wit and verve…"—The New York Observer

"Conservatives in office have made their share of blunders and mistakes, and Frank is at his finest in depicting some of the stunning instances of hypocrisy and idiocy in the period of Republican rule."—The New York Post

"Smart, thoroughly researched, and written with wit and panache."—The Wichita Eagle

"A welcome read. There is no doubt that Frank is helping to restore the journalistic and literary standards to political books. Elegant… The Wrecking Crew has the rhetorical power to illustrate the dire consequences of a government sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder. One finishes the book feeling as if one’s political vision has been brought into focus."—The Courier-Journal

"A superb follow-up to What’s The Matter with Kansas?... Thorough reporting and incisive historical analysis. With genuine outrange and blasts of polemic, but Frank never allows The Wrecking Crew to become just another seething right- or left-wing political tract preaching to the choir."—The Oregonian

"Frank brings invaluable insider perceptions, ardor, and precision to his lancing inquiry into the erosion of democracy and the enshrinement of the mighty dollar… An electrifying, well-researched analysis of ‘conservatism-as-profiteering.’ This staggering history of systematic greed with inject new energy into public discourse as a historical election looms."—Booklist (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Thomas Frank

  • Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, What's the Matter with Kansas?, and One Market Under God. A former opinion columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and a monthly columnist for Harper's. He lives outside Washington, D.C.

  • Thomas Frank Jane Magellanic
    Thomas Frank
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The Wrecking Crew

How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation

Thomas Frank

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Holt Paperbacks

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