AMERICAN DYNASTY: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

Kevin P. Phillips, Author . Viking $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-670-03264-8

Political and economics commentator Phillips (The Politics of Rich and Poor , etc.) believes we are facing an ominous time: "As 2004 began, [a] Machiavellian moment was at hand. U.S. president George W. Bush... was a dynast whose family heritage included secrecy and calculated deception." Phillips perceives a dangerous, counterdemocratic trend toward dynasties in American politics—he cites the growing number of sons and wives of senators elected to the Senate as an example. Perhaps less convincingly, he compares the "restoration" of the Bushes to the White House after an absence of eight years to the royal restorations of the Stuarts in England in 1660 and the Bourbons in France in 1814. To underscore the dangers of inherited wealth and power, Phillips delineates a complex case involving a network of moneyed influence going back generations, as well as the Bushes' long-time canny involvement in oil and foreign policy (read: CIA) and, he says, bald-faced appeasement of the nativist/fundamentalist wing that, according to Phillips, is now "dangerously" dominating the GOP. Casting a critical eye at the entire Bush clan serves the useful function of consolidating a wealth of information, especially about forebears George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush. Phillips's own status as a former Republican (now turned independent) boosts the force of his argument substantially. Not all readers will share Phillips's alarmist response to the Bush "dynasty," but his book offers an important historical context in which to understand the rise of George W. (On sale Jan. 5)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-14-303431-5
Ebook - 978-0-7865-4496-7
Ebook - 978-0-7865-4497-4
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