I just completed narration work on an interesting non-fiction book by author Jeff Sharlet called The Family

With such a cryptic title, it’s hard to tell just what the subject matter might be.  Could be anything from cosa nostra to a “how to” on family dynamics.  Well, the full title is, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism At The Heart Of American Power.  Here’s how Publisher’s Weekly describes the book.

Checking in on a friend’s brother at Ivenwald, a Washington-based fundamentalist group living communally in Arlington, Va., religion and journalism scholar Sharlet finds a sect whose members refer to Manhattan’s Ground Zero as “the ruins of secularism”; intrigued, Sharlet accepts on a whim an invitation to stay at Ivenwald. He’s shocked to find himself in the stronghold of a widespread “invisible” network, organized into cells much like Ivenwald, and populated by elite, politically ambitious fundamentalists; Sharlet is present when a leader tells a dozen men living there, “You guys are here to learn how to rule the world.” As it turns out, the Family was established in 1935 to oppose FDR’s New Deal and the spread of trade unions; since then, it has organized well-attended weekly prayer meetings for members of Congress and annual National Prayer Breakfasts attended by every president since Eisenhower. Further, the Family’s international reach (“almost impossible to overstate”) has “forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most oppressive regimes in the world.” In the years since his first encounter, Sharlet has done extensive research, and his thorough account of the Family’s life and times is a chilling expose.
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It’s an interesting read, weaving historical information with present-day personal accounts from the author.  It must be selling well: a woman at the Iota open mic actually started talking about this book without provocation.  I can’t even remember how it could have segued into the conversation.  But she had just finished reading it, and it clearly stuck with her enough to want to discuss it.

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