An unsettling exposé of the depth and breadth of the libertarian agenda.



How American democracy is being destroyed by powerful libertarians.

Focusing on Nobel Prize–winning economist James McGill Buchanan (1919-2013), whom Charles Koch funded and championed, MacLean (History and Public Policy/Duke Univ.; The American Women's Movement, 1945-2000: A Brief History with Documents, 2008, etc.) elaborates on the revelations about the Koch brothers’ insidious, dangerous manipulation of American politics that has been presented forcefully by Jane Mayer in Dark Money (2016) and Daniel Schulman in Sons of Wichita (2014). Based on Buchanan’s papers as well as published sources, MacLean creates a chilling portrait of an arrogant, uncompromising, and unforgiving man, stolid in his mission to “save capitalism from democracy.” To Charles Koch, he seemed a kindred spirit. Buchanan believed that growth of government undermines individual freedom. Government overreach, he maintained, included public schools, the Postal Service, prisons, labor laws, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid for the poor, guarantees of voting rights, foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the graduated income tax. Government’s only role, Buchanan and his followers believe, “is to ensure the rule of law, guarantee social order, and provide for the national defense.” MacLean traces Buchanan’s career at several universities—the last was the fledging George Mason, which the Wall Street Journal called “the Pentagon of conservative academia”—where he reigned over his own economics institutes, backed generously by wealthy libertarians; and his embrace by exclusive think tanks, such as the Mont Pelerin Society, the Hoover Institution, the Cato Institute, the Club for Growth, and the Heritage Foundation, among many other Koch-funded organizations. Besides influence at home, Buchanan helped design a constitution for the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, a document that ensured constraint of majority power. MacLean offers a cogent yet disturbing analysis of libertarians’ current efforts to rewrite the social contract and manipulate citizens’ beliefs—e.g., by spreading “junk pseudo science” about climate change.

An unsettling exposé of the depth and breadth of the libertarian agenda.

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-98096-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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