Jason's Reviews > The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

The Family by Jeff Sharlet
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's review
Jan 24, 2010

it was ok
Read in January, 2010

I would have given this 3 stars if only it were titled slightly differently. This book is less about The Family--a seemingly innocuous organizer of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington that actually has deep political influence within the Republican party and even among some Democrats--as much as it is an analysis of Christian fundamentalism as an integral part of America's past, present and future. My previous sentence as well as this one--which are interrupted almost as soon as they begin with lengthy clauses that would work better as footnotes or separate sentences--also serve as examples of Sharlet's tedious writing style. He also shows latent animosity against Christian fundamentalists. This angst comes out most clearly in the mocking physical descriptions frequently employed to portray various Christians, both historical and present-day, who have had a role in the fundamentalist movement. To be fair, Sharlet is self-aware enough to let his audience in on his personal struggle in dealing with the Christians among his friends and family. In fact, he concludes this book with perhaps his most thought-provoking assertion that both fundamentalism and liberalism are such strong threads of our culture that any analysis of American history is incomplete without both perspectives.

If you find these additional topics interesting, I would recommend this book. If, however, you were only interested in an expose on The Family, you are in for quite a few off-topic chapters.
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BHodges haha, Jason, I used that same gag (writing an imitation style in my review). Agreed: his style is crap.

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