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American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
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American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,636 ratings  ·  200 reviews
An explosive examination of the coalition of forces that threatens the nation, from the bestselling author of American Dynasty In his two most recent bestselling books, American Dynasty and Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips established himself as a powerful critic of the political and economic forces that rule--and imperil--the United States, tracing the ever more alarm ...more
Paperback, 462 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Penguin Books (first published March 21st 2006)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,636 ratings  ·  200 reviews


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J
May 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Every so often I get the craving to read political texts. The problem with this urge is that I have no interest in picking up the edited transcript/ghost written crap put out by Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly, the frankly embarrassing Dinesh D’Souza, or the “Look at me! Look at me! Look at MEEEE!” shrillness that passes for the corporeal form of Ann Coulter. That’s what’s on offer on the right side of the spectrum.

Too frequently when I read a lefty’s political book of any kind, I find it dully c
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Hadrian
A very troubling recognition of the symptoms of the disease that was Bush's America. Why oh why didn't more people read this sooner.

Does focus a bit on Bushian policies, but also on broader societal trends that started in the 1970s, and some earlier. Deepening worries of consumerism, fundamentalism, religion as intermediary in political issues, the greed for oil as political motivator. All of these topics are covered in greater detail in other books, but this one provides a solid overview of the
...more
Gwynneth
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Thoughtful readers
Originally, this book was intended more for self-education on U.S. oil policy under the current president and its potential influence on the 2008 presidential elections, rather than for specific cemetery research. However, the author has built an historically informative and exhaustively researched “pyramid” comparing the rise and fall of several foundational empires (ancient Rome, Spain, the Dutch, Victorian & pre-1914 England that proved useful to this researcher) and detailing how those s ...more
Barry
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Phillips is a republican who served in the Nixon administration. I am a life-long democrat; nevertheless, I enjoyed his measured comments when he spoke on Morning Edition on NPR. Like many people, I found Mr. Bush to be a less than insightful president, so I thought that a book by Mr. Phillips, critical of the Bush administration, would be an analysis by the loyal opposition. Not so. Like so many Americans who have tired of divisive political rhetoric, I wanted to read the opinions and ideas ...more
Matt
Feb 14, 2008 rated it did not like it

I really wanted to let this book help me make the argument that I (and a ton of other liberals) want to make: that George Bush the second is a religious freak who has his eyes on oil control and who manipulated the south and the general electorate through "culture war" to rig and steal his way to the presidency.

And it did. But not on its own merits.

the problem is, its not written terribly well. Philips knows his facts but he doesn't seem to know what to do with them. He just kind of throws them
...more
Mikey B.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A powerful indictment (if sometimes strident) of the Bush administration presidencies (both father and son) and the Republican party as well. The author takes on three areas – oil, religion and the economy.

Religion permeates the other two. The tenants of Fundamentalism are uninterested in alternative sources of energy or depletion of oil reserves. They also are not concerned with economic collapse. Mr. Phillips was prescient on the impending economic collapse of 2008.

By gaining the complete adhe
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Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty well read; therefore, I wasn't surprised that I was familiar with much of what was in Kevin Phillips' latest book when it came to the American theocracy. What did surprise me was how much I learned about the history and politics of American oil and about the inner workings of Wall Street. I was flabbergasted!

American Theocracy is a hefty tome, but it's well worth reading. You'll look at tomorrow's newspaper headlines in a whole different light after reading this book.
George
GIVING UP.

“…one of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.”—Journalist, Bill Moyers, in a late-2004 speech. (Kindle location 196)

Thick with statistics and citations, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money i
...more
Kevin Beary
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
its incredible how accurately this book predicted the current economic realities we are currently experiencing , It was written over 3 years ago.
This book makes credible arguments that oil and religion have been the focus of our politics at the cost to the american people. I mean , we went into Iraq for Oil and we didn`t even get it ...the chinese won the first contract.
The direction and political decisions influenced by religion is staggering and scary.
A worthwhile and eye-opening read. T
...more
James
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Done with the book, yet still digesting... Despite my anti-religious bent, I am not quite ready to take all of the authors views on religion at face-value... Does Tim LeHay really represent such a strong force in the emerging evangelical movement? Is the proportion of literalists really as dangerously high as Phillips suggests? I sure hope not. Regardless, this book was a facinating read and well worth the time. I must agree that the rapid fire statistics sometimes tried my attention, but the ov ...more
Mark Valentine
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
What I liked about this book is Phillips' balance and conscientious reporting. After all, he is taking on a giant in American politics the conservative Christian right. I also like that he has the courage to report straight and without shades of favoritism. I was disconcerted to read of just how badly the yoke between conservative Christians, the oil corporations, and the political arm really is and I can see that it smacks of hypocrisy. Since the Bible mentions that one should not "be unequally ...more
Mark Valentine
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked about this book is Phillips' balance and conscientious reporting. After all, he is taking on a giant in American politics the conservative Christian right. I also like that he has the courage to report straight and without shades of favoritism. I was disconcerted to read of just how badly the yoke between conservative Christians, the oil corporations, and the political arm really is and I can see that it smacks of hypocrisy. Since the Bible mentions that one should not "be unequally ...more
sologdin
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
not as strong as Wealth and Democracy A Political History of the American Rich, which is one of the great non-fiction texts out there. it's more three separate essays at best tangentially related to each other, as with schlosser's Reefer Madness Sex Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. it does nevertheless continue his examination of public debt from other texts, which is significant.
Erik
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
This was given to me by my father. It's filled with brilliant insights into the looming pressence of religion and oil in our government's practices and backed up by endless research and examples throughout history. Bored me to tears, took me 2 months to read, and made me never want to read political non-fiction ever again. I rewarded myself after finishing it by reading "The Flanders Panel" by Arturo Perez-Reverte which was ever so satisfying.
Clif Hostetler
Phillips' articulates the concerns of many Americans that are troubled by the current blending of American religion and democracy. He moves on to assess the dangers oil diplomacy and excessive national and household debt. This book was written before the current home mortgage crises, but it clearly predicts that the real estate boom spurred by the Federal Reserve cannot continue. That now appears to be an easy prediction to make. So why weren't the bankers smart enough to anticipate it?

Mike Pouraryan
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As I am reading this, I wonder when will we truly think about "going beyond oil"....I finally finished it. I found it, in many ways, to be an overwhelming book because of the profound historical context. I also found it troubling how he foresaw many of the challenges we're facing now--and how there seems to be no consesus on how to deal with the "day after".
AC
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Not his best book, perhaps. Something of an uneven collection of parts
Sharon Beers
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kevin Phillips was remarkably prescient in this book. His subtitle is perfectly descriptive.
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Too scary.
Zeke Chase
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: political
In late March of 2013, Pat Robertson, televangelist founder of “The 700 Club”, self-described seer, multi-millionaire, former presidential candidate and known huckster said, “Ladies and gentlemen, beware of these scamsters, especially scamsters in religious garb, quoting the Bible – I mean, run from them. They're all over the place.” A surprising bit of honesty from the man.

Pat Robertson is a Dominionist. The denomination takes its name from Genesis, wherein God said “Be fruitful, and multiply,
...more
Kay
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a deep dive of three major issues the author sees as threatening America (written in the early 2000's and still relevant today): 1) Oil dependence and the not adapting to new fuel sources--think Britain and coal; 2) Evangelical/fundamental religions that insist on substituting faith for reason in all areas including government and science -- ignoring logic and facts doesn't keep a country great; and 3) financial sector that thrives on debt -- a country can't be great as a borrower n ...more
Ryan
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, 2018
I chose to read Kevin Phillips’ “American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century” at the worst possible time. We were in the middle of buying a new house, selling the old one, packing, moving, unpacking, and doing our best to settle in and establish our old routines in a completely different setting. I’d checked the book out of our old town’s library, returned it two-thirds finished the day the movers showed up, then reserved it from our ...more
Andrew Willis
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Phillips' method is to throw out a hyperbolic statement than cover you in a glob of tangential history in hopes that you get overwhelmed enough to blindly accept the original thesis. The history itself is interesting and useful but his condescending tone won't win over many from opposing viewpoints. He at times equates the religious right to Islamic terrorists and barely touches on any other possible motivations (democracy, national security) for the Middle Eastern wars other than the oil intere ...more
Sharon
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Scholarly overview of the influence of conservative religion, the oil industry and national debt on domestic and foreign policy in the U.S. leading up to 2006. While the book is now somewhat dated, it serves as a useful foundation for understanding the politics and administration of George W. Bush and his not-so-immediate successor, Donald Trump. The chapters on Southern white conservative evangelical/fundamentalist sects and their spread to the north and west are especially useful to readers su ...more
Eric
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
diving into the history of the US obsession with oil, religion, and debt and how the Republican party has embraced the furtherance of those obsessions, Kevin Phillips painted a troubling picture in 2006. The housing market crash is pointed to as an imminent threat, the dependency on foreign oil, and the staggering increase in debt along with the fiscal policies that push it further were bad enough back then, but reading it now in 2018 I'm responding to the pages with "oh, just you wait".
Hershel Shipman
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
While almost 10 years old this book still plays out the unholy relationship between religion, oil and economics that the current Republican Party still uses. It’s almost prophetic in some ways and gives a good warning of our current predicament of an administration. Some is this is about how previous country have lost global prominence in the past. All I can say is it’s coming.
Cassandra Corrigan
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
A very informational book, but there's so much focus on oil politics that the title of the book is a bit misleading.
Anthony
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I certainly was not paying attention to this religious undercurrent.
Barbara
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found this book to be annoying and written through the lens of a simplistic atheistic liberal. He missed so many facts about what happened in history.
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