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

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

Scritto da Jeff Sharlet

Narrato da Jeremy Guskin


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

Scritto da Jeff Sharlet

Narrato da Jeremy Guskin

valutazioni:
4/5 (21 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
16 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 20, 2009
ISBN:
9780061977299
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

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.

A HarperAudio production.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 20, 2009
ISBN:
9780061977299
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Informazioni sull'autore

Jeff Sharlet is a visiting research scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media. He is a contributing editor for Harper's and Rolling Stone, the coauthor, with Peter Manseau, of Killing the Buddha, and the editor of TheRevealer.org. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    A must read for everyone who wants to understand how we went from being a secular country to being a "Christian" nation. This was not chance; it was planned. Sharlet is a compelling writer, and provides convincing details to lay out the agenda of the powerful men who have passed through the C Street house and become part of our government at all levels.
  • (3/5)
    Extensive research embedded, dedicated journalist = scary product. I used to read Robert Ludlum because he spun a good yarn, but this work of non-fiction is no yarn, because The Family is real, pervasive and infecting the U.S. like a malevolent virus. And not just the U.S. - they back some of the worst dictatorships. Think of the most backward public figures in recent years - John Ashcroft, Tom Coburn, James Inhofe, John Ensign, Sam Brownback - all Family. These people scare me - they have money and they have a jihadist mindset with their own interpretation of Christianity.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    This is an excellent book about an important subject. It seamlessly blends history, journalism (Gonzo & traditional), philosophy and theology in a slick popular style. Jeff Sharlet has clearly been immersed in this subject for a long time; the writing is assured, controlled and ferocious.
  • (4/5)
    To begin with let's stipulate that Jeff Sharlet has an agenda, but so do most writers of political analysis. Like it or not, the political is as much personal as vice versa & we've all got an ax to grind. Having said that this is a wonderfully well-written book & I enjoyed it immensely despite the fact that it triggered all my paranoia.The Family is an examination of the The Fellowship (aka The Family) a somewhat secretive fundamentalist group that at its most overt is responsible for the National Prayer Breakfast & at its most covert is influencing political policy through its members on an international scale. Members of this group include people in power from both sides of the aisle. Their Christianity isn't like any that I've ever experienced. The essential notion is that those who are in power are in power because they are chosen by Jesus, &, therefore, all of their actions are justifiable in his name. The group has studied the organizing tactics of everyone from Marx to Hitler, breaking themselves into hierarchies that at their most fundamental are prayer cells.On the surface this group might seem like an innocent way for people in power to network, but scrape that surface & things get scary. Some of their members believe the poor should be disenfranchised because they are poor & therefore unloved by Jesus & unworthy of the vote. The group has been supportive of genocidal dictators such as Suharto of Indonesia who came to their attention after his first half million killings.The notion of a personal Jesus is not an unfamiliar one, but taken to such an extreme that all of one's actions are justified by him & this is out of hand. Sharlet also examines the history of American fundamentalism through this lens reminding the reader that the theocrats have always been with us. In the case of this group & all of its offshoots, however, I think the vision is less for a Taliban-style theocratic state & more for a concentration of power in the hands of the chosen (them).This book could easily have been dry & hard going, but it reads like a thriller & it can easily give you nightmares. It will certainly make you re-examine how you see some of the people in our halls of power.
  • (4/5)
    This is a scary book when you really think about what the author has researched and presented to us. The most important point I took from the reading was that there is a well-hidden movement within the Christian fundamentalists that has positioned itself to influence the government of this and other countries toward the goal of imposing a Taliban-like society on everyone. By this I mean totalitarian, religious-focused, faith-based, and rulled by the elite. The Taliban is the same -- the elite are exempted from the strict rules because they set the rules. Religion is used to control the masses either through coercion or through the rigid structuring of the peoples' lives. I kept having flashes of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale as the ultimate destination of the Family.An interesting aspect of the Family's belief system is one discussed often in the Atheist forums - the fact that people take a basic story, like that of Jesus from the Bible, and read into it whatever they want to project to achieve their own goals. In the case of the Family, they've distorted the Bible Jesus into some sort of capitalist warrior with his only goal to take over the world by whatever means is necessary. They truely believe that the end justifies the means. This is the scariest part of religion in general, people can twist an idea to whatever purpose they wish, and those really good at influencing others through their words and writings can take a horribly distorted idea and make it seem like a very reasonable approach.It worries me that many of our leaders have bought into these warped ideas. I have to wonder if people see these ideas as a way to justify doing things they know are wrong, but would rather have the benefits derived from the power and authority they control instead of using their positions to help others and improve the human condition.The earthquake in Haiti last week was an interesting occurance given the author's mention of the role of the Family in Haiti's politics. The people in Haiti suffer possibly because of the support we've given the dictatorships of the past trying to fight the Family's fear of communism and non-Christian beliefs.Ironically, the Family's ultimate goal is a religious dictatorship without capitalism, skepticism, or freedom.
  • (4/5)
    This was a very difficult book for me. I don't doubt the facts it presents.One thing I have seen in my life - people who actually believe that rich people are somehow better, rich people know what is right. I have seen this in people who have little money, who have a comfortable amount of money, and in people who are quite wealthy. When somebody confesses this belief to me, I am always amazed. My own theory is that rich people are about as tuned into truth as anybody else is, i.e. sometimes they're pretty tuned in but an awful lot of the time they are very far off the mark. I guess for me what would help more would be a perspective that steps back a bit. Sharlet does occasionally hold up his fundamentalists next to other groups, sometimes liberal secularists, sometimes Islamic jihadists. But never for very long. His book is already plenty long so I can hardly blame him for not triply or quadrupling it! He has a particular story to tell. But to make sense of this story is really hard. It's probably just my style, to understand a thing by seeing it as an instance of a more general category. I like his proposed solution, deliverance versus salvation. I do wonder though... here is an analogy: climate change is a problem, but maybe we will run out of fossil fuels soon enough that actually climate change won't be such a big problem. Living without fossil fuels is going to be plenty hard, though! The cure may well be every bit as difficult as the disease would have been!Similarly, the American Empire may not reach the kind of totalitarian finality that would make clear what horrible nightmares its dreams actually are. Between debt deflation, various global crises from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea etc., we may end up splintered into gangs and clans, ruled by war lords like Ted Bundy and who can say what militias... the USA could look like Afghanistan or Somalia, transformed with horrible suddenness. What kind of stories can we then live by to give our lives meaning?
  • (4/5)
    Jeff Sharlet investigates a religious organization called the Family, a fundamentalist Christian group which puts much of its emphasis on "leadership" (or, to use a less charitable word, "power"), and which possesses a surprising amount of clout in American politics. He opens by talking a little about the organization, its people, and its principles, including recounting his own experiences with the group, then spends the bulk of the book exploring the history of the Family and its precursors, highlighting the often rather startling influence that this very narrow breed of evangelical Christianity has had on politics both foreign and domestic. He then devotes a couple of chapters to the social attitudes of its adherents and their place in the so-called "culture wars."It's an interesting and important subject, one that (distressingly, for those of us who believe strongly in the separation of Church and State) is extremely relevant to the current political landscape in America. Unfortunately, I don't feel like I got quite as much out of this book as I wanted to. It's a complicated topic that requires clear and careful journalism, and while Sharlet has obviously done vast amounts of research, he comes across as less "clear and careful journalist" and more "frustrated literary novelist," writing in a style that includes lush and often slightly fanciful descriptions of people's physical appearances and personalities and interactions, lots of rhetorical rambling, and turns of phrase or even whole paragraphs that leave me imagining the author sitting back and smiling in satisfaction at his own linguistic cleverness. None of which is necessarily a bad thing, and it works pretty well in the chapters where he's giving us glimpses of ordinary individuals and using that to convey some of the flavor of this particular theology and culture. But when it comes to his presentation of the historical facts, I think it muddles things a bit and dilutes some of the rather important points he's trying to make.Which isn't to say that the book didn't have any impact. Mostly, it's left me feeling depressed. I like to believe that compromise and mutual understanding are always possible, but occasionally I have to acknowledge the fact that some worldviews are just intrinsically irreconcilable, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that we have some of those battling it out in America today.
  • (4/5)
    A revealing and frightening book that I read for one of my local bookclubs...The "headquarters" of this movement is within walking distance of my home, making it all the more troubling. Despite having lived in the D.C. area for more than 35 years, a book like this can still shock me. It is a book that delves into fundamentalism in this country and the impact is has on national (and international) politics. It is an important subject for citizens to explore.
  • (5/5)
    Revealing and extremely disturbing.
  • (4/5)
    "Archie gives blood" was the title of an episode of "All in the Family," which aired on Groundhog Day 1971 (Feb 2). Archie debates donating blood, fearing that his donated blood might end up flowing through liberal veins. After all, commies and pinko's are not "in the family." The now celebrated fiction of Archie and Edith Bunker played a light tune to serenade my disturbing journey through this eyewitness account of a fifth-column grab-bag of tricks and slights of hand.Stealth mission tactics appear as fresh in 'The Family' as wet ink on first edition copies of Machiavelli's 'Art of War,' which hit the streets in 1520. Sharlet discloses the strained virtue of so-called Christians embedded in economic conglomerates and elected political offices plotting to use secular leaders "to pursue political jiujitsu." At the top of the grab-bag rests intended avoidance of identifying themselves by the Christian label. This tactic alone causes the author, born of a mixed Jewish-Christian marriage, enough consternation to serve as a sub-theme in the book.Exposed are the Family's "cells"--local units bearing much in lack of organization in common with Al Qa'ida cells-- as inbred cadres of re-branded waifs complete with self-aggrandizing switches and plenty of ambiguous erotic short-circuits. Still it is clear that all cells bear much in common. They lack confidence in divine Providence, because prayerful trust in the Holy Trinity appears absent in Sharlet's descriptions of exchanges with and among many group members over the course of a year or more.As it turns out, therefore, the family might not drop the Christian label only to make their aims palatable in culture wars. In fact, they might not be Christian at all except in nominal sense of the word. Sharlet paints the Family as boasting an elite and folksy membership roster--names of "successful" but disaffected and/or delusional Americans sewn together by a tacit populist fundamentalism. Like fundamentalists in any ideology masquerading as true religion, the Family has done more to take lives in armed conflicts than bring the Commonwealth of peace on earth as it is in heaven. The devil is in Sharlet's details.The author has gone underground inside Ivanwald, the Family's bootcamp where would-be Family members learn rules and procedures about cell life after Ivanwald, where they live cheek to jowl for up to a year or more.Who are the elite members? Without revealing all of the celebrated names and pedigrees, suffice it to say that "Hilary (Clinton) may well be God's beautiful child, but she's not a member of Coe's family" (p. 272).Coe refers to the one and only Doug Coe, organizer of the National Prayer Breakfast and reigning Family mogul. No intellectual welter-weight, Coe has packaged Family pragmatism to make even Hilary and Sam Brownback occasional prayer partners. (Sam Brownback received his Senate crown after fellow Kansan, Bob Dole, released his throne in 1996.)Speculation runs that nothing more than occasional moments have united polar opposites in the Family's 'Art of War.' However, debates of political jiujitsu loom large in this book leaving many answers to the question of who is in the Family and who is out.
  • (2/5)
    Unfortunately dull and extremely difficult to read. It had nothing to keep my interest. After a few chapters I decided to move on.
  • (2/5)
    At its best a detailed description of the history of American fundamentalism and the Family, including alarming and possibly damnable evidence of its ties (post- fall) to Nazism and fascism. No one has yet provided a reliable course for navigating American fundamentalism; instead we now have a number of paths through it that only provide views of some of its features, ignoring others. I had hoped that Sharlet would provide more of a definitive history, but even if it's not that this is a strong book.
  • (3/5)
    An account of a fundamentalist Christian group called The Family, which is incredibly well-connected politically (they run the National Prayer Breakfast and appear to be the folks who added "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance and "in God we Trust" on our currency) and has an odd and sometimes difficult-to-fathom agenda. They seem to believe that Jesus supports the powerful and that their mission is to attain as much power as possible for the United States, but without any clear moral values except for those that appear to keep mainstream white males in power. I found the writing a bit hard to follow at times, and while the author did a fine job explaining who belonged to the group over the 20th century and provided some anecdotal information about specific moments where they intervened (and usually in a way I found upsetting--such as overthrowing the government of Guatemala in 1954), I found it difficult to determine exactly what this group is trying to do. They don't seem to follow the teachings of the New Testament as I've understood this book, but seem intent on calling power "Christian." I am guessing there are some very good magazine articles in here, but as a book, it was in need of a good editor. I had hoped to learn some things about a world view I find difficult to understand, but did not come away feeling particularly enlightened.
  • (5/5)
    A must read for everyone who wants to understand how we went from being a secular country to being a "Christian" nation. This was not chance; it was planned. Sharlet is a compelling writer, and provides convincing details to lay out the agenda of the powerful men who have passed through the C Street house and become part of our government at all levels.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the more important books I have read since reading James Barr's Fundamentalism. It is one of the more disturbing books since I tried to read Herbert Marcuse's One Dimensional Man. After 30 years, I still have not dared pick up Marcuse's book. What is disturbing about the thesis of this book is that it is hard to know how to oppose the fundamentalism that this book describes. And it is easy to get hooked by elements of their program. I was once a reader of Francis Schaeffer and have been attracted by the concept of servant leadership. For now, the only advice I have is to hold fast to democracy and clearly support the separation of church and state.
  • (5/5)
    this was the last book mario puzo wrote. it was a book that was excellently done. you could really feel the presence of the time. i haven't gotten the borgia history down and so this was quite interesting. i realize it's labled as fiction but so is the sicilian (which was based on a real person) and so i kindof figure this is probably the same sort of thing. he will be missed but i'm so happy i got to read this and it was finished.
  • (5/5)
    Wow! That was amazing and very well written. Definably worth the read. I listened to it on Scribd.
  • (5/5)
    this was the last book mario puzo wrote. it was a book that was excellently done. you could really feel the presence of the time. i haven't gotten the borgia history down and so this was quite interesting. i realize it's labled as fiction but so is the sicilian (which was based on a real person) and so i kindof figure this is probably the same sort of thing. he will be missed but i'm so happy i got to read this and it was finished.
  • (2/5)
    The topic - the Borgia family - is great, however I just couldn't get into the writing style of this book.
    I don't believe I've read anything else by Puzo (just seen the movie!), so I'm not sure if this is his usual style, or if it's because he passed away without finishing the novel. I thought the bulk of it read more like research notes than like a completed story. Events and background material were laid out in a very didactic way, almost like reading a non-fiction history text. That wouldn't be so bad - except that this book doesn't make a large effort to be historically accurate, and some of the events were not at all convincing. I like to be able to at least think, "Well, it MIGHT have happened like that." Instead, I was saying "no way did that happen," to myself.
  • (4/5)
    The Family is a fitting ending to a terrific writing career. Completed after his death, Puzo tells the story of the Borgias, what he considered to be the first Mafia family. It starts with the coronation of Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander in 1492. Pope Alexander’s reign as Pope had little to do with religion and had everything to do with amassing power for him and his family. Alexander had children and lovers and a taste for all worldly goods. He sets up his oldest son Cesare as a cardinal with the thought of him taking over as Pope. He marries off his other children to influential families in order to solidify his power base. His son Juan is set up to lead the papal armies and take over lands. Meanwhile his only daughter Lucrezia has a torrid incestuous romance with her brother Cesare. Things eventually start to unravel as the Pope makes many enemies including within his own family.This is a bit of a departure from some of Puzo’s Mafia fiction, taking place during the Italian Renaissance. He has an easy going narrative style that makes for enjoyable reading. From a technical standpoint, I thought he did a little too much summary narrative and could have dug into his scenes a little better. The characters were strong and memorable. They are all very flawed but still likeable. Cesare, in particular, was a character to root for. I enjoyed cameo appearances by Machiavelli, Michaelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci. I have always been a Puzo fan, and although this doesn’t stand up to his best fiction, this was still a very enjoyable read that I would recommend for readers of historical fiction and high drama.Carl Alves – author of Two For Eternity
  • (2/5)
    I wanted to finish this book, but I got too distracted with all of the fiction I want to read. Not the first time non-fiction has lost against fiction. I really enjoyed the first couple of chapters I read though!
  • (4/5)
    A day without BLASPHEMY and SACRILEGE is a lot like a day without sunshine.
  • (1/5)
    This book had the makings of something special. The Borgias are an original mob family. Instead of owning a territory or even a city...they owned nations and religions. In the hands of Puzo? WOW!I don't know at which point Puzo stopped writing and Carol Gino picked up. I can only guess that Puzo didn't get very far and/or the editors made a terrible mess of what was left. The story has absolutely no depth, and the characters have even less. The story, if one can call this narrative a 'story', is more of an outline than anything else I can describe. One can almost imagine the bullet points preceding each paragraph. I desperately wanted the early overview chapters to be a foundation upon which a masterful "Godfather"-like story would rest. Instead, I became desperate to put the book down. And so I did.Quite simply, this book is unreadable.
  • (4/5)
    I've just read this book. I found it interesting, although some roles could have more depth. It seems accurate with the Alexander VII's known history. In the afterword written by Carol Gino, we found out that the book was written in a 20 years span. Perhaps that was the reason for a certain lack of unity in the book. After all, The Family is worth reading, in my opinion.
  • (2/5)
    While this book was somewhat interesting, it was written with such a detached point of view and such matter-of-fact prose that it was difficult to become involved in the book. This book is not nearly as good as some of his other works.
  • (4/5)
    Warning: If you are strictly devote to the Roman Catholic Church this book is most likely not your cup of tea. I picked up this gem in the "Friends of the Library" section of my local library. Having never read any of Puzo's work I decided to give this book a try. The back panel of this paperback contained the following passage as its only description. "We are family," Alexander told his children. "And the loyalty of the family must come before everything and everyone else. For if we honor that commitment, we will never be vanquished-but if we falter in that loyalty, we will all be condemned." Again knowing little of Puzo outside of his works on world renowned titles such as The Godfather and The Last Don I figured this book was another in the line of Italian Mob stories. Man was I off, by a couple of centuries no less.This story has none to do with a modern day crime family and all to do with a 15th century semi-ficticious Popes' reign. Although originally feeling baited and switched (more to my lack of research than the authors intentional misdirection) I was drawn into this story. I have not traditionlly been one to care for any story written before or about time periods prior to the 18th century. But I must say that Puzo's style drew me in quite quickly. Additionally, The Family was Puzo's last work as it was completed by his longtime girlfriend Carol Gino. I must say I cannot decipher the point where Puzo left off and Gino took over. As it turns out The Family was written over a 20 year period of time. Per my Catholic Faith warning at the heading of this review, this book is not for the unwillingly challenged faithful. This book is the story of an extremely sinful pope who uses his power more to benefit himself and his family (yes I said family, I will let you work that one out) than to that of the Mother Church to which he was appointed the vicar of Christ. Although the pages within contain acts of the utmost mortal sins committed by Pope Alexander VI, it is probably not all that far from the reality of the leaders of the church in that day. But without a doubt if this book were on any previewed reading list of the Vatican, it would certainly be reported back to the masses as a morally objectable piece of literature.If you are able to see past religious sanctioned murder, insest, treachery, and deciet, then you are in for a well written story. If not then it is my hope, that my review has prevented you from reading this treacherous work of heresy and has therefore saved you from eternal damnation.
  • (3/5)
    This book is written to show us the beginings of the true Italian Crime family, of course they are Spanish. The Borgias are the essence of getting and keeping power for the family. I feel that the book was much longer than required. But this is probably to be expected, since Mr. puzzo was not able to finish his work. You can tell the author loved this period of time. He is trying to show us that Pope Alexander was not only the 1st Don but the greatest.The book contains 4 main story lines and several secondary tales as well. The Borgia Pope and his 4 children take center stage, and the quest to unite Italy is the book's theme. The battles that span most of Italy and even the Island of Elba should read at the pace of military battles and the campaign they entail. This would be my favorite part, but the battles are mostly just briefly mentioned and this is most evident when Cesare conquers Elba in a matter of a few hours and a handful of pages in the book. Though I understand that this is not a Military history book.Though not not my favorite book, it is worth reading. Espically if interested in that period and to see just how corrupt the church was at that time. I am glad that Carol Gino took on the task to complete this work.
  • (4/5)
    One of the most infamous women of the Renaissance, Lucretia Borgia seems to have a wealth of rumors surrounding her. This book examines the Borgia clan (papa the Pope, the caniving sons who seem ill-suited to their stations, and Lucretia-the beautiful pawn in her father's political games). Puzo does a wonderful job describing the culture, the time, and the thoughts that governed the Church and Europe in those times.
  • (4/5)
    Several times while I was reading THE FAMILY, I wondered if Jeff Sharlet was paranoid. I've felt the increased influence of the Christian Fundamentalist movement on the United States but had never thought it was as wide-spread as he proclaimed, with active cells reaching into all three branches of government and influencing governments throughout the world. I decided to read the reviews of his book and found that many of the ones that were positive (and they were the majority) were written by people whose opinions I respect. Some of the negative ones, on the other hand, seem to have been composed by people so far to the right that I doubt if they even read the book or understood it if they did. The Family is a group, basically started by a philosophy of an immigrant preacher from Norway in 1935. His idea was to gather a small group of powerful men sympathetic to fascism to bring those ideas into American government. Henry Ford was one of his followers. His (and later other group leaders) models were Hitler, Lenin, and Mao. It wasn't so much that they agreed with their actions but they liked the discipline they imposed and how they got their government and populations to do their bidding although he states that Hitler had a picture of Ford in his office and visa versa. Giving themselves over to Jesus was their method and they, and their followers, even today, firmly believe the most important thing in their lives is to bring Jesus's message and actions to everyone everywhere. The group was divided into small cells with each cell providing its members with support and reinforcement. They were interested in the elite, not the general population, though they did recruit a large number of families and offered programs to attract and maintaing their membership. They are against government aid to people because they think that shows the recipients have forgotten that "God will provide" and expect to receive benefits from the government. They were able to gain early success through their fight against communism. Some of their accomplishments to show we were better than the "Godless Communists" was to insert "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, placing "In God we Trust" on our coins, and instituting the National Prayer Breakfast in the halls of government in DC. They began the home-schooling movement and provide many of the textbooks used by parents, textbooks that are skewed to present The Family's viewpoint. They have established "faith-based" desks in many government departments. The book names of the Presidents, Congressmen and Senators, and Supreme Court Justices, and top-level military leaders who were and are part of The Family. They supported governments throughout the world, sending US funding to them, that were ruled by some of the most ruthless murdering dictators of the twentieth century including General Suharto of Indonesia, General Costa e Silva of Brazil, Haile Selassie of Etheopia, and El Salvador. With the support of the US government, members of The Family were able get access to leaders throughout the world to try to get them to recognize the supremacy of Jesus. After the fall of the USSR and the Berlin Wall, communism was no longer the major threat to the US. They decided the new one was sex and fought to prevent abortions and homosexuals. An example of their success was in Uganda where Congressman Joe Pitts got their government to write abstinence into their law. He redirected millions of dollars from effective sex-ed programs to programs stigmatizing condom use. College students had bonfirs to burn condoms. The result was the number of cases of AIDS, which had been the Africa's most successful country for reducing AIDS, nearly doubled. But since the country followed the evangelical playbook, it is considered a triumph the the American Family members who promoted it. The followers of The Family truly believe they are doing Jesus's works and that they must get our government and people to follow their lead. Since I am not an Evangelistic Christian and prefer following the dictates of my own religion, I found this book frightening. It reminded me of what they are afraid the Muslims are doing but don't see the comparison. I gave this four stars because I think it would have been more effective (and an easier read) if he had cut back on the descriptions of many of the people mentioned. For instance, what difference does the shape of a man's fingers make? I think it is an important book to help people understand the movement, its history, and how is has and will affect us all.