Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” as Want to Read:
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  17,280 ratings  ·  2,703 reviews
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the agenda of this powerful group.

In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent
...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Anchor Books (first published January 19th 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dark Money, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sundra I am still in the middle of the book - pouring over every word - so know that. But what Mayer is helping me understand (or reminding me) is that all…moreI am still in the middle of the book - pouring over every word - so know that. But what Mayer is helping me understand (or reminding me) is that all politics is local. I'm based in Oklahoma, and my side of the political spectrum blames ALEC, or political leaders, or others for our horrendous situation with privatizing and all "gah'ment" being evil or ineffective. This book is helping me sooo much better understand why our state's poor and marginalized vote against their self-interests and trust the rich to take care of them. It's very empowering to understand how and why ALEC is just a tool, and so many of our politicians (not all!) are just tools. My saving grace is our organizing work in Oklahoma City - and getting to know there are some conservative reps who hate every ALEC bill, etc. etc. Being a responsible citizen is more that voting every four years, which is what way too many people do, and then rest, satisfied (or not!). Being a citizen requires fighting the disempowerment that some nurture, and staying on top of local and state elections. Know the candidates. Organize yourself and your neighbors to identify your interests and insist that candidates, representatives, and other leaders know your wishes and are accountable to their voters. Amazingly, politicians and representatives will listen when you show them the numbers of voters you turn out. They know local elections can flip on a few thousand votes and still, at bottom, they have to be elected. Organized people can fight organized money - and this book is helping with understanding the context and being able to follow the money. Our current state of affairs can be changed, but it will take every bit as much work to do so that it has taken to get us here. It's worth it every minute.(less)
Bronwyn This book is depressing, but if you want to understand what is busy happening you need to read this. Understanding what is going on will help you to…moreThis book is depressing, but if you want to understand what is busy happening you need to read this. Understanding what is going on will help you to know how to respond to this. Now more than ever, every American should read this book.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,280 ratings  ·  2,703 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
Will Byrnes
We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Louis D. Brandeis
It has been a consistent element of modern life in the USA that the public polls as more progressive than our elected officials. Given that in a democracy one would expect representatives to more or less reflect the views of the people who make up the population, and not speak in opposition to them, this seems surprising at first blush. Yes, we have
...more
Darwin8u
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"I just want my fair share--which is all of it."
- Charles Koch, quoted in Jane Mayer, Dark Money

description

I'm not sure reading this right after Trump got elected was the right decision. As I write this Betsy DeVos (sister of Eric Prince, daughter of billionaire Edgar Prince, daughter-in-law to Amway founder Richard DeVos) just got picked to be Trump's Secretary of Education. Let it sink in for a minute. We just had a billionaire nominate another billionaire for a seat at the political table.

It is really
...more
Esil
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not American, but my reaction to Dark Money is that everyone in the US -- and elsewhere for that matter -- who has any interest in politics must read it. For reasons related to my busy life and not the quality of the book, I listened to the audio of Dark Money sporadically over several weeks. But each time I picked it up I was mesmerized. And I suspect that Dark Money has made me a conversational bore because in so many conversations over the past few weeks, I have found a way to relate the ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
We're all fucked. Everything is fucked. Mitch McConnell, I hope you and the rest of you soul-selling goons really do believe in hell, because I'm sadistically delighted by the idea of you guys having to drink yourselves to sleep every night expecting that you're going to burn there for allll eternity. No worries, though, eventually the whole planet will be a ball of fire thanks to your collective flipflopping on global warming for Kochtopus money, so it looks like we'll all be burning with you ...more
Bradley
I am utterly astounded.

Not surprised, mind you. But I am utterly astounded. It feels like there are no books written any more that rely on real investigative journalism.

But this is one, and it has meticulous, astounding scope.

It's one thing to point out the flaws in your opposition. Those kinds of books are commonplace and are always designed to sway you persuasively. And then there are books that give you a very, very big picture that shows you something so scary, so pervasive, that it boggles
...more
Trish
It will not be surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that for the past twenty years our political system has been awash in special interest money. Mayer tells us it is forty years. What Mayer does in this detailed accounting is to elucidate the sources of that money and the routes it takes to influence votes. What may be more surprising to readers is how often that money has failed in its mission.

Probably the best reason for reading this book is to see how Jane Mayer allows these
...more
Tulay
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
Urge you to read this book.

Leave your political beliefs aside and read this book. How commercials, news media reports are influencing us how to vote country, state and every two years. All the dark money behind all those 501 (c)... billionaires and millionaires. We don't have one person one vote anymore, our cabinet members already made of billionaires and millionaires. Even university courses, professors, judges, senators, representatives are elected.
After reading how four Koch brothers were
...more
Lewis Weinstein
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I haven't finished the book yet, but the thrust is clear. The Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are implementing a plan to take over American government at every level. Their objectives are purely personal greed: no taxes, no regulation (especially environmental), minimal government for all people and programs except defense and whatever benefits the very wealthy.

The problem is they're succeeding. They can't win the Presidency yet, but at every other level - Congress, Senate, state
...more
Julie
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer is a 2016 Doubleday publication.


I can read supernatural horror novels, the grittiest crime thrillers, true crime and a host of other material that sends shivers down my spine, but nothing paralyzes me with fear more than hidden forces influencing government in barely detectable ways, influencing the quality of life for millions of people in the process.

After this election, it has become clear,
...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
What an important book! I'm planning to read it slowly and will note some key quotes and information from each section.

"We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

INTRODUCTION:
"We are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth. When you have a few people who are so wealthy that they can effectively buy the political system,
...more
Clif Hostetler
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
This book shines a light on dark money. Its called dark money because it is of unknown origin (i.e. secret), unlimited in its amount, intended for political purposes, and in the United States its legal and often tax deductible. This book based on thorough research turns the darkness into a bit lighter shade of dark.

The conservative shift in American politics, and its continuing movement toward the radical right didnt just happen. This book makes it clear that it was paid for by wealthy
...more
Emily
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: M M
Our government has been hijacked by billionaires who are only interested in making themselves money. This book should be required reading for anyone living in America today to understand our political climate, and for anyone outside of America who lives in a representative democracy.

Charles and David Koch have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into redefining American politics. The basic amount alone - on whatever side of the aisle - should stagger you. It would stagger any American voter
...more
howl of minerva
Nothing in America makes sense except in the light of moneyed interests.

Essential reading. If you don't read it, for the love of Christ at least read about it.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/...

Mayer's original New Yorker article from 2010

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/201...
DeB MaRtEnS
I'm sorry. I bailed. I simply felt as though I was suffocating under the piles of Dark Money, the angles to obstruct President Obama politically and these greedy billionaires who don't give two hoots about anyone except their fortunes and the relatives who will inherit. The author names names, lists companies, organizations which hide behind fronts as philanthropic efforts but are just tax shelters (oh, trumped?)- and as I was reading, Trump was naming the head of Amway's daughter to his inner ...more
Calista
There book terrified me. I have had problems sleeping reading this book and my family urged me to quit reading it because it was affecting me so. Yet, this book explains everything that is going on in politics and our country today. I finally understand why things are happening to a degree and what once made no sense now makes sense. What I can't fully comprehend is why so many people still vote republican when it is making government a branch of a few billionaires in the country. People are ...more
Monica
The depth of the undermining of democracy by a very small number of very wealthy people is astonishing. One can look at the state of Congress and know that this is not hyperbole. Citizens united enabled these wealthy beyond the wildest imagination folks to purchase politicians, particularly the GOP because these donors are Libertarian as in...greedy. Greed in ways that "the common man" cannot understand. These folks seek not just to control the government, but to shape the thoughts of the ...more
Max
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charles and David Koch grew up rich in Wichita Kansas. Their father Fred had built a fortune overseeing oil refinery development for both Stalin and Hitler and establishing a thriving oil refining business in the US. He learned to despise the communists but he admired the German work ethic. He became a strong libertarian supporting the John Birch Society. He was a strict disciplinarian to his four sons not hesitating to beat them. Two sons in particular, Charles and David, reflected their ...more
Donald Owens II
Jun 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a 464 page newspaper article by a liberal with an agenda, who seems to honestly believe only those on the right have agendas or corruption. I would highly recommend this book as a companion text for logic students, showcasing many logical fallacies, particularly ad hominem, attacking the motive, and genetic fallacies, as well as her unabashed propaganda techniques throughout. For instance, she consistently refers to teaching conservative principles as "indoctrination", describes ...more
Tim
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As a Brit who had never heard of the Koch brothers to my knowledge not once have they ever been mentioned on a news or current affairs programme in the UK this was a startling and terrifying read. Now and again I had the feeling the US might, in the not too distant future, become the dystopian society we often read about in novels and see in films where the many are surfs ruled by an elite few corporations. This will certainly be the case if the individuals this book is about get their way. ...more
Maru Kun
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has read this book and taken a look at the composition of Trumps cabinet will understand that the Koch brothers and the right wing network that they helped form and continue to support has, broadly speaking, succeeded in its aims.

Let us briefly recap what those aims were. They were the promotion of fossil fuels and the suppression of climate scientists warning against their continued exploitation (Tillerson); tax cuts for the wealthy, paid for by a reduction in social benefits such as
...more
Mal Warwick
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The Koch brothers, Charles and David, get a lot of attention from political observers and, increasingly, from the public. No wonder. The fortune they possess together is greater than those of Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Warren Buffet, and other private individuals who are often characterized as the richest people in the world. But its not the brothers wealth that attracts the attention. Its their heavy-handed attempt to dominate American politics. Thats the subject of Jane Mayers explosive new ...more
Peter
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, let me begin by stating unequivocally that Jane Mayer is an important journalist whose work should be required reading for everyone not just people interested in politics, but everyone. She continues to write, daring and dauntless, about the secret workings of very powerful forces, be they governmental forces like the NSA and CIA, in her previous book, The Dark Side, or private, like the Koch Company, whose attempts to silence her have been documented in the NYT along with other news ...more
Jan Philipzig
Investigative journalism at its best! Jane Mayer's meticulously researched book takes a close look at a crucially important topic that is largely being ignored by the mainstream media: the fact that a few rather secretive (American, not Russian) billionaires are in the process of hijacking American democracy for their own selfish ends. Essential reading for anybody who has been wondering what the FUCK is going on.
Sebastien
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yowee. What a damning exposé of the role of money in our political system. Jane Mayer mostly focuses on the Kochs, while also highlighting other oligarchic players like the Devos and their role in buying influence and crafting policy often at the cost of the public interest.

I'm not going to lie. This was rather a frustrating read for me. It's hard not to get upset at the current paradigm and situation of our political system and how badly it has been subverted by powerful moneyed interests. So
...more
Nigeyb
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deeply disturbing and profoundly depressing account of how a cadre of extremely wealthy US business people continue to use their wealth to subvert American democracy using a variety of integrated techniques.

Charles and David Koch, the enormously rich proprietors of an oil company based in Kansas, started their programme in the early 1980s and, by the midterm elections of 2010, they'd ushered in the political system that the'd spent years creating. They had financed and organised a network of
...more
Patrick Brown
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is your summertime, vacation beach read, right here. If you're looking to escape from it all, stop worrying about trivial things like the death of the American experiment, etc., well, then this baby right here is for you.

JK, this is the single most disheartening, depressing book I've ever read (and I have read a lot of downers in my day). To be frank, it sat on my desk for three or four months before I finally picked it up. But once I did, it hooked me in.

Partly, it's that it feels
...more
Katia N
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark Money

We have two unelected multibillionaires who want to control the US government and exercise the power to decide what is best for more than 300 million American people, without the voices of those people being heard.

This is the quote from the book which summarises it pretty well. Jane Mayer has invested a lot of her talent, courage and energy in investigating and telling the story of systematic attempt in privatising the democratic process in the US. The book tells the story how Koch
...more
Joshunda Sanders
I'm probably as guilty as anyone of refusing to really look at things in the world I don't want to see. I think it has to do with self protection but it's possible that more is at work there. I saw Dark Money on a few lists late last year and it was one of a few books I bought for myself for Christmas. As nauseating and dispiriting as the thorough reportage is in Dark Money, it is required reading for anyone who cares about the state of politics, the rise of the radical right and the enormous ...more
Nate D
Actually listened to as an audiobook while animating for roughly 36 hours straight. This seems essential information for seeing how the U.S. came to be so horribly off the rails, detailing the web of dubiously apolitical non-profits and think tanks created by the Koch brothers to funnel incomprehensible sums of money into influencing politics towards enhancing their private fortunes (43 billion each and counting. They are, for instance anti ANY income tax whatsoever, or any government spending ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at the behind the scenes world of politics big money and the people who control so much of the landscape.A meticulously researched look into the Koch brothers their roots and their amazing influence control of today's political world.Perfect read for today in the midst of a particularly weird caucus time from Trump to Cruz toRubio to Jeb this is their world their control &influence .
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Dark Money 9 113 Mar 25, 2020 06:31PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
  • Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
  • Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
  • Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
  • Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America
  • Why We're Polarized
  • American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power
  • The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy
  • How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future
  • War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  • Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
  • A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America
  • Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
  • Fascism: A Warning
  • Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future
  • Fear: Trump in the White House
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
See similar books…
535 followers
Jane Mayer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books. She co-authored Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 19841988, with Doyle McManus, and Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, with Jill Abramson, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Her book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the
...more

News & Interviews

April is the most hopeful of months, promising warm days and sunshine just around the corner. The weather is a little unpredictable, sure, but tha...
11 likes · 0 comments
“Pundits, opponents, and disillusioned supporters would blame Obama for squandering the promise of his administration. Certainly he and his administration made their share of mistakes. But it is hard to think of another president who had to face the kind of guerrilla warfare waged against him almost as soon as he took office. A small number of people with massive resources orchestrated, manipulated, and exploited the economic unrest for their own purposes. They used tax-deductible donations to fund a movement to slash taxes on the rich and cut regulations on their own businesses. While they paid focus groups and seasoned operatives to frame these self-serving policies as matters of dire public interest, they hid their roles behind laws meant to protect the anonymity of philanthropists, leaving more folksy figures like Santelli to carry the message.” 11 likes
“the polluters had triumphed by overturning the campaign-finance laws. “There was a huge change after Citizens United,” he contends. “When anyone could spend any amount of money without revealing who they were, by hiding behind amorphous-named organizations, the floodgates opened. The Supreme Court made a huge mistake. There is no accountability. Zero.” 6 likes
More quotes…