an occasional book review
Jeff Sharlet must have a debt of gratitude to Rachel Maddow. and Rachel back to Jeff. about the time this past summer that the John Ensign ( R. senator from Nevada – having an affair with a married woman in his staff) and Mark Sanford (R. governor from South Carolina – missing for five days in a 'hike') – it was Jeff Sharlet who in a series of appearances in the Rachel Maddow show acquainted Americans with the shadow organization known as "The Family". "The Family" is a secretive fundamentalist organization, now famous for owning a house in C street Washington D.C. where several members of Congress (Ensign and Sanford among others) lived while Congress was in session.
Sharlet has been following "The Family" for several years now. a few years back he spent several months in Ivanwald, one of the houses owned by "The Family" as one of a group of brothers – young men selected to be trained for future leadership positions in support and behalf of "The Family" and its principles of driven Christianity, "biblical capitalism" and "Jesus plus nothing".
The first chapters of the book are interesting, when Sharlet writes about what was it was like to be a brother at Ivanwald and describes the weekly breakfast meetings at the C street house, attended by several members of Congress, the Administration, lobbying groups and other powers around D.C.. Sharlet describes how while publicly supporting inclusive gatherings such as The National Prayer Breakfast, in private The Family has been closely involved with repressive regimes around the world in support of American fundamentalist supremacy.
The book lags a bit after these few chapters – Sharlet dives into a discussion of the beginnings of American fundamentalism, followed by narratives of how different persons have gained leadership within The Family, up to the current leader, Doug Coe. several of these chapters had their beginning in Sharlet's articles in Harper's and elsewhere