HOLY TERROR: The Fundamentalist War on America's Freedom in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives by Flo & Jim Siegelman Conway

HOLY TERROR: The Fundamentalist War on America's Freedom in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A cry of alarm, overwrought and underedited: ""very soon we may be living in an America reborn of total propaganda and surrender to the supernatural, a notion that rejects reason and science, caring and compassion and. . . the basic principles of human freedom on which this country was founded."" Journalists Conway and Siegelman have followed the spoor of politico-religious Reaction from coast-to-coast and now rush in to tell us about the beast. But while they know all about ""communication science"" (Conway has a Ph.D. in it), and hence are particularly up in arms over such things as Jerry Falwell's ""Old Time Gospel Hour"" and Richard Viguerie's computerized mailing list, they're rather naive when it comes to history and sociology--to the point of trying to explain the ""propaganda strategies"" of the Christian Right by invoking the ""models"" employed by Hitler, Lenin, and Mao. Elsewhere they conjure up the specter of ""spiritual imperialism,"" with Fundamentalists of every conceivable stripe (from the Agudat Israel party to the Afrikaner Resistance Movement) sowing their seeds of violent mischief all over the world. The trouble with this vision of global conspiracy is not that it's crackbrained (Jesse Helms really does share some common ground with the Ayatollah Khomeini, such as a repressive sexual ethic), but that Conway and Siegelman don't understand its genesis or psychology. If you can ignore the rhetorical excess and tedious interviews with critics of the ""Holy Terror,"" you'll find the book a repository of information about unsavory types like Paul Weyrich or the Rev. Tim LaHaye and ominous institutions like the Political Action Committees. But it's too long on dramatic flourishes and too short on hard analysis.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday