Book Review: Dark Money by Jane Mayer

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer is a nonfiction book tracing how rich and powerful people shape the world to fit their image.  Ms. Mayer is a writer for the New Yorker and author of several bestselling nonfiction books.

  • 464 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385535597

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My rat­ing for Dark Money  — 5
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If you’re a news / political junky like myself, put this book at the top of your “to read” list. Regardless of your political affiliation, or even if you don’t have one, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer makes a fascinating, informative, and very convincing argument.

It has always been fascinating to me how politicians manage to convince people to vote against their own best interest. I’ve read several books about the subject but it’s still a mystery to me. One more mystery is how issues such as climate change became wedge issues after, it seems, almost all politicians, from all sides, agreed it’s an issue until… they didn’t.
So, what happened?

According to the author two things happen, one was the election of Ronald Reagan, a movement conservative, the other was a campaign by two rich oil men in Kansas who decided to dedicate enormous amount of money to elect conservatives to every level in the American local and federal governments.

The Koch Brothers were playing a long term game, which started bearing fruit after three decades. In the 2010 midterm elections Republicans dominated state legislatures and governorship, controlled one chamber of Congress and were well on their way to win another. Many of the folks the Kochs backed weren’t aging realists looking to make a deal. They were those that embodied the Kochs’ politics of anti-government. Together with financing an organized network of think tanks, academia, and news outlets for mass propaganda, the opposition could do little but watch.

The books is written in a simple, unemotional narrative which leads the reader to scratch their heads in amusement, or tear their hair out in anger. After a five year investigation, Ms. Mayer makes a case that the Koch brothers managed to use their money to game American democracy and silence the voice of their opposition.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I borrowed this book from the local library.
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