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Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  297 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A takedown of the GOP's deceitful propaganda machine from the hugely popular blogger of's Unclaimed Territory and the author of the New York Times bestsellers How Would a Patriot Act? and A Tragic Legacy.
Long since Americans were wooed by images of Ronald Reagan astride a horse, complete with cowboy hat and rugged good looks, the Republican Party has used a John
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published April 15th 2008 by Crown Publishing Group (NY) (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Glen Greenwald is a lawyer, so he's no stranger to research or putting forth a reasoned case based on a lot of diverse information.

This book is a well researched and pointed indictment of the hypocrisy endemic to the nation's political right.

I'd probably recommend it to right wingers, but reason and evidence mail fail to convince most of them that they are backing the wrong horse. Even in socially conservative terms, it appears that the left has a higher level of conformance to national norms t
Todd Martin
The first thing you should know, is that Great American Hypocrites came out in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election so the material is a bit dated. The second thing is that, you’re probably already aware of the rank hypocrisy exhibited by our political leaders. Thus you have:
- Draft dodging, chicken hawks who portray their veteran opponents as weak and fearful.
- Serial womanizers with a string of broken marriages who espouse ‘family values’.
- Small government advocates who want the state
Informative, but very little that's new to anyone who follows Greenwald's blog, or really any left-leaning political commentator. Greenwald's writing style in his books is identical to his style on his blog as well so, as a regular reader of the latter, it's difficult to shake the feeling of simply reading an extremely long blog post when cracking open one of his books. I'd recommend this book as a potential eye-opener to someone who actually buys the myths Greenwald exposes, but as an exercise ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
Greenwald gets in some good licks at John Wayne, Maureen Dowd, and other living and dead phonies. He also makes the key point that Republican chickenhawks actively resent and fear politicos--whether John McCain or George McGovern--who have actually served in combat. (Thus, not having served, while expressing hawkish views, may actually boost a politician's standing among voters--who may themselves have never been in the military--seeking to justify their own pro-war views.) There's also a good d ...more
Petulant indignation. Greenwald's book seems like a few keen observations padded out to book-length in a book past its shelf-life what with the 2008 election now behind us. Republican pundits/apologists/operatives want to be John Wayne; even John Wayne wanted to be John Wayne. But he wasn't, and they aren't, but their obsession with this iconic facade runs the gamut from deliberate hypocritical posing for personal gain to serious psychological underdevelopment, in every area from sexuality to wa ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Zalman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every voter in America
Aside from the relatively minor weakneses (somewhat repetitive arguments), the book is right on in every respect, from cover to cover. It is too bad Greenwald's book will make the most sense to the choir, but I wouldn't necessarily assume that every fact and story in the book is already well known and accepted by sophisticated, like-minded readers, nor that his thesis will be rejected out of hand by anyone who voted Republican in the last election. Even if one essentially knows the score on the ...more
Ryan Davis
Greenwald doesn't take any prisoners with this book, an all out assault on the character myths that have clothed Republican politicians for decades. He exposes his targets with boldness and by saying what is obvious to everyone yet which few commentators have the courage to reveal. His critiques are well researched but his style can be repetitive and a touch frenetic. There is enormous energy and haste in the writing, as if there are great volumes that just pour out of him, making the organizati ...more
Greenwald’s Great American Hypocrites is an attempt to paint the American Republican Party as indulgent in hypocrisy. He pins down the conservative rhetoric with five devices: 1) The John Wayne Syndrome, 2) How Great American Hypocrites Feed Off One Another, 3) Tough Guise, 4) Wholesome Family Men and 5) Small-Government Tyrants. Essentially, Greenwald asserts that Republicans are chicken-hawks who have amoral extramarital affairs and don’t follow through on what they say.

The book was a quick an
Greenwald is a one-man hit squad here, blowing up the myths of John Wayne and Ronald Reagan before heading into the shallower waters of Gingrich, W, Larry Craig and the gang. Great American Hypocrites is a fact-checked and undeniable condemnation of the chickenhawks and neo-cons who ran America into the ground in the name of "freedom." Great book!
Disappointing, very little substance. Maybe it would have been more interesting if I'd read it when it was published - but I doubt it. Nothing anyone with sense doesn't know from paying attention.
May 04, 2008 Shelley rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: liberals, doubting conservatives, and msm idiots
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
I do love Glenn Greenwald, but this doesn't contain anything that any reasonably well-informed liberal doesn't already know, and it won't penetrate the skull of any confirmed conservative who isn't already leaning towards doubt. I won't say that it is preaching towards the choir, because there is a group who really should read it and absorb it if they can... the so-called media jackasses who swallow these moronic macho myths like free beer (and regurgitate it like the same.)
A Tragic Legacy was m
While I like Glenn's column in Salon, I am not always sure the extended version works out so well, so I fell short of giving this book highest marks.

I applaud his attempts to define the hypocrisy of the right; a fun job if done correctly. lol :P However, I don't really feel he broke new ground here, per se. A lot of these myths are only upheld by those invested in them, and a great many of them are not believed by the average person - for the most part.

But it's nice to see it all laid out so wel
Ryan Melena
Some good information but overall a bit repetitive. The book could have been significantly shorter and still hit all the high notes. Glenn Greenwald is one of my very favorite bloggers and political commentators so maybe the information is more repetitive to me than to most. I'd love to see him release an updated version of this book taking the hypocrisy of our current Democratic congress, administration, and its stalwart supporters to task as he often does in his Salon blog.
Having read Greenwald's blog for sometime I am accustomed to his discussion of the hypocrisy of the conservative American political party. As the election is now long over, Greenwald has moved on to put Obama's feet to the fire. That is intellectual consistency that I can get behind.

The man is a constitutional lawyer. He's a fan of the rule of law. Who wouldn't enjoy listening to a knowledgeable person discuss logical reasons for why our country was set up the way it was?
Stefan Fergus
A good summary of liberal complaints, extensively compiled (resulting in a bit of belabouring). So many issues I have been gnawing at myself, and I share Greenwald's frustration with Liberal leaders and the fecklessness of the "junior high school" mainstream media. Ultimately, though, I think this polemic isn't as strong as others. (e.g. Al Franken, Frank Rich, et al). It feels like an over-stuffed article, with multiple repetitions and extended complaints.
Mark Flowers
Greenwald's basic argument--the hypocrisies and abuses of power of the Republican party in the 1990s and 2000s--is basically sound, and well documented. Unfortunately, his overheated rhetoric, which in his blog is usually palatable, becomes pretty hard to take at book length. Also, he is a bit too prone to ad hominem attacks (granted, the people he's reporting on may deserve them sometimes, but he would do better to take the high ground).
Everything the GOP claims to be-they are not. John Wayne was a draft dodger and it goes rapidly downhill from there. Am I surprised? No- anyone that is capable of reading above a fifth grade level, this is not surprising. It has all been in the news at one time or another but this books gets it all into one neat place. Memorize this book and don't let the right wing hypocrites beat you down anymore.
The overwhelming redundancy is grating, as he repeats himself throughout the text with the same rather obvious points. If it weren't for the brief and rare flashes of brilliance in the analysis, I would have easily given this a two (or one) star rating. Greenwald could definitely use a thesaurus, too - he used "effete" at least forty or fifty times.
Evicerates the four big myths of 'Rebublicanism': 1-That they share the values of the common man, 2-They are brave and courageous patriots, 3- They are strong on defence, 4-they are the party of fiscal restraint and small limited government.

Greewald writes for Solon and I have been reading him for a couple of years. This cat is spot on!
A well written book that explains the various hypocrisies of the Republican Right. There isn't anything ground breaking if you are already familiar with the sleeze of the Republican party, but the book is creatively intertextual, bringing in elements of blogging like block quotes, bold, and italics to the printed word.
Jeff Brailey
If you are an American voter, this m ay be the most important book you read this year. You must read it before you go to the polls in November. Not only that, you must get your friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances and complete strangers you meet in the mall or supermarket to read it too.
I recently came across Glenn Greenwald's blog on Take my advice: stick with his blog. This book was extremely disappointing. I felt like I was reading the Rush Limbaugh of the Left (and I consider myself to be liberal on certain political and social issues).
This book contained a fair amount of interesting facts in support of his thesis, and yet somehow, it was still EXTREMELY REPETITIVE. He could have said every single bit of this in a long essay that was still nowhere near book length.
I was excited to get this book but it would have been more relevant leading up to the 2008 election. It was still a good read and reinforced my opinions on people who call themselves Republicans.
A blistering and entertaining polemic, focusing on John Wayne as the archetype for Republicans: divorced draft-dodgers who cheerlead for wars and traditional values.
Glenn Greenwald skewers the Republican Party, attributing their warmongering, lawbreaking and arrogance to personal hypocritical doublestandards.
I liked this book.. It seemed more readable than this last one, but towards he did talk about the 08 election. Something that surely fascinated me.
Stacy LeVine
Greenwald may very well be the single worst writer this side of the 7th grade. But he does have a few decent observations.
Kind of whiny and not that illuminating. All liberals hate John Wayne, man. I doubt I'll finish it.
Deb Holden
The book makes a lot of great points but you can read the first chapter or two and know the rest.
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Glenn Greenwald is an American lawyer, columnist, blogger and author who worked as a constitutional and civil-rights litigator prior to becoming a contributor (columnist and blogger) to, where he focuses on political and legal topics. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, T ...more
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