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Wrapped in the Flag

Best Seller
Wrapped in the Flag by Claire Conner
Paperback $16.00
Mar 18, 2014 | ISBN 9780807033319

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  • Mar 18, 2014 | ISBN 9780807033319

    Also available from:

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“Both of Claire Conner’s parents were deeply involved in the cult of far right politics: they knew that Eisenhower was a secret Communist and they idolized Francisco Franco. Wrapped in the Flag is at once the heartbreaking and intermittently hilarious story of her coming of age and a first-hand history of the far right since the 1950s. Conner’s book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the sources of the conspiratorial, hate-filled tropes of the right today—whether they emanate from the Tea Party, the gun movement, race realists, Sovereign Citizens, or, increasingly, from elected officials in the GOP.” —Arthur Goldwag, author of The New Hate: Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right

“An invaluable contribution to understanding the mentality of extremist conservatism and its supporters.”  —Kirkus, starred review

“The John Birch Society had a huge impact on American politics. They were responsible for the lurch into insanity. The religious right, the Tea Party and the takeover of the Republican Party by extremists can’t be understood unless you understand the paranoid xenophobia Birchers injected into America. This book is about a journey through and out of that Bircher netherworld. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle to understanding the madness that overcame America and a moving story about one person’s journey back to sanity.” —Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy For God

“Experiencing this splendid volume is like reading a history book inside out: events you only knew about from afar are revealed anew, with the striking ground-level intimacy of a fine family memoir. I’ve been waiting for a book like this: one that demonstrates the shockingly effectual continuity of the John Birch Society as a force in American political life: from its early days discrediting the Cold War credentials of JFK, to its outsized role building up grassroots momentum in the Clinton impeachment, to its sudden eruption into mainstream Republican thinking with the rise of the Tea Party movement.” —Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland

“This passionate, personal history of the John Birch Society is timely and important.  At a moment when Tea Party activists have embraced many of the Birchers’ most outrageous notions, Claire Conner has performed a great service by reminding us of the origins of some of most virulent ideas that continue to pollute our body politic.  As the skeptical daughter of two passionate Birchers, Conner may be the only person who could have written such a clear-eyed, insider’s account of the persistent dangers of right-wing extremism.” —Charles Kaiser, author of 1968 In America and The Gay Metropolis

“An affecting portrait of late-20th-century America on the fringe.” —Publishers Weekly

“This insider’s view of the most radical right-wing organization of the Cold War era describes the seeming paranoia and questionable logic of the most devoted JBS members. Conner provides colorful descriptions of many of the eccentric JBS leaders, including founder Robert Welch. . . . Readers interested in learning more about this example of the Cold War era’s ultraconservative political trends will be fascinated by Conner’s description of the perpetual fear of JBS members regarding communist takeovers and communist infiltration of the highest levels of our government. Recommended.” —Library Jounal

Table Of Contents

Preface: I Know What Extremism Looks Like ix
Introduction: November 1963 1
Chapter One: Rally Cry 5
Chapter Two: The Captain’s Law 11
Chapter Three: Sacrifices 15
Chapter Four: Textbook Wars 21
Chapter Five: Hard Right 30
Chapter Six: Twisted 39
Chapter Seven: Moving Up 45
Chapter Eight: The Black Book 52
Chapter Nine: Stirring the Pot 58
Chapter Ten: The Uncivil War 72
Chapter Eleven: Here We Go Again and Again and Again 80
Chapter Twelve: The End of the World 90
Chapter Thirteen: Civil Rights Marching 100
Chapter Fourteen: A Big Texas Howdy 106
Chapter Fifteen: Crossfire 117
Chapter Sixteen: Carrying the Cross 130
Chapter Seventeen: AuH2O 137
Chapter Eighteen: Something’s Happening Here 147
Chapter Nineteen: A Good Man Is Hard to Find 156
Chapter Twenty: One Woman’s Heart 169
Chapter Twenty-one: Bang the Drum Slowly 180
Chapter Twenty-two: Attention Must Be Paid 191
Chapter Twenty-three: Hell in a Handbasket 201
Chapter Twenty-four: Bedtime Story 213
Acknowledgments 220
Notes 222
Index 245

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