The Family

The Family

The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A journalist's penetrating look at the untold story of christian fundamentalism's most elite organization, a self-described invisible network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful

They are the Family--fundamentalism's avant-garde, waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe. They consider themselves the new chosen--congressmen, generals, and foreign dictators who meet in confidential cells, to pray and plan for a "leadership led by God," to be won not by force but through "quiet diplomacy." Their base is a leafy estate overlooking the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia, and Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have reported from inside its walls.

The Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist power--not its angry masses, but its sophisticated elites. Sharlet follows the story back to Abraham Vereide, an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the far right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. From that core, Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a "family" that thrives to this day. In public, they host Prayer Breakfasts; in private, they preach a gospel of "biblical capitalism," military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao as leadership models, the Family's current leader, Doug Coe, declares, "We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't."

Sharlet's discoveries dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American fundamentalism, revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the cold war, and the no-holds-barred economics of globalization. The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not "What do fundamentalists want?" but "What have they already done?"

Part history, part investigative journalism, The Family is a compelling account of how fundamentalism came to be interwoven with American power, a story that stretches from the religious revivals that have shaken this nation from its beginning to fundamentalism's new frontiers. No other book about the right has exposed the Family or revealed its far-reaching impact on democracy, and no future reckoning of American fundamentalism will be able to ignore it.

Publisher: New York, NY : HarperCollins, c2008.
ISBN: 9780060559793
Characteristics: viii, 454 p. ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 13, 2019

Explains why the fake "religious" right wing nuts still support that lying orange idiot con man trump. #sad

Mar 20, 2016

Politics masquerading as "Faith and family values" has long been the staple battle cry of the religious right...but it has never been anything more than a quest for complete hegemonic control in order to turn from the plan of our founders from a stable Democratic Republic into an ever increasing Totalitarian fascist Theocracy.

No one can afford to let that happen, and we should do more to keep church and state separate for good !!

Jul 20, 2015

"The Rise of Christian Fascism and Its Threat to American Democracy – We must attend to growing social and economic inequities in order to stop the most dangerous mass movement in American history -- or face a future of fascism under the guise of Christian values.” 07-02-2007 by Chris Hedges from . . .
and . . .
“The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger” by Chris Hedges 07-06-2010 from

Dec 14, 2014

Disturbing analysis of a network of fundamentalist Christians who have woven a web of influence throughout government and industry since the Eisenhower administration. Known first as "The Fellowship," and more recently as "The Family," this is a group without any overt structure, operating in "cells" modeled on communist revolutionary groups. Their public event is the National Prayer Breakfast held annually with the president and leading members of the government. Working confidentially with some of the 20th century's most bloodthirsty dictators, The Family holds no one accountable for political action, works to further the interests of US power and the "free market," and insidiously breaks down the wall of separation between church and state. Their conception of Christianity? Sharlet writes, "For all of the Family's talk of Jesus as a person, he remains oddly abstract in the teachings they derive from him, a mix of 'free market' economics, aggressive American internationalism, and 'leadership' as a fetishized term for power, a good in itself regardless of its ends." Scary reading!

Apr 01, 2011


Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top