Book review: ‘Dark Money’, by Jane Mayer | Financial Times
Positive David Bromwich, The Nation. The Koch family portrait aside, Dark Money piles up facts and anecdotes to support its central thesis: the evasion by the very rich of any obligation to rise above self-interest and serve the public interest. But selfishness usually wants an alibi, and Mayer might have paused somewhere to try and explain the attraction of the free-market ideology The billionaires do all the mischief they can, and Jane Mayer, in this brave and resourceful book, has numbered their abuses with admirable pertinacity, but they are only one of the forces 'behind the rise of the radical right.
Her explorations of the family histories of the Kochs and their philosophical allies in the Scaife-Mellon clan are detailed and satisfying to the human thirst for juicy tidbits. We learn in intimate detail, complete with psychological analysis, of the family feud that split the Koch brothers into two warring camps, with Charles and David on one side and Bill and Freddie on the other.
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But some readers might grow weary of Ms. Mayer might herself benefit from an economics course. Mayer unmasks this generation's big-league political funders, who operate with little or no public scrutiny.
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She expands her earlier reporting for The New Yorker. In addition to several hundred author interviews, the book's nearly 1, end notes mostly acknowledge secondary sources — books and articles by other trackers of big money in politics.
She presents her case soberly and comprehensively. But her matter-of-fact style may not suffice as big money in politics moves into the spotlight Certainly, material can be found on the money-in-politics beat for similarly great story-telling. But Mayer isn't there yet. On the one hand, this tale of how the Koch brothers persuaded 'hundreds of the other richest conservatives in the country to give them control over their millions of dollars in contributions' compels us to read on.
On the other, the story is so outrageous it should make any citizen want to go out and do something about it. Rave Glenn C. Altschuler, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Want to get more out of the basic search box?
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Olin and the Bradley brothers ; The Koch method: Free-market mayhem ; The Kochtopus: Free-market machine Secret sponsors: covert operations, Boots on the ground ; Tea time ; The fossils ; Money is speech: The long road to "Citizens United" ; The shellacking: Dark money's midterm debut, Privatizing politics: total combat, Ask Us: Live Chat.
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New York : Doubleday, .