Item description for Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Ascendancy by Nina J. Easton...
Gang of Five is the story of the conservative activists of the babyboom generation, who arrived on campus in the 1970s in rebellion against everything "sixties" and went on to fight for social and political change in the '80s and '90s. As she redefines the development of modern conservatism, former LA Times staff writer Nina Easton also narrates the rise of the babyboomer conservative movement through the intertwining lives and careers of five major political figures --Bill Kristol, Ralph Reed, Clint Bolick, Grover Norquist, and David McIntosh -- a few of whom are now household names but whose backgrounds are largely unknown. That is, until now. Gang of Five tells the interlocking stories of these conservative rebels, the cultural forces that shaped them, and their three-decade-long war against the political establishment. Even though they came to their politics as social pariahs, they've managed to rise to positions of national influence in the 1990s, and, most important, still maintain control of the national agenda.
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Studio: Simon & Schuster
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.52" Width: 5.57" Height: 1.11" Weight: 1.37 lbs.
Release Date Apr 9, 2002
Publisher Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0743203208 ISBN13 9780743203203
Availability 0 units.
More About Nina J. Easton
Nina J. Easton is a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times. An award-winning writer, her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Esquire, The New Republic, The Boston Globe, and other major publications.
Reviews - What do customers think about Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Ascendacy?
An Excellent Behind-the-Scenes Look Oct 30, 2007
"Gang of Five" is an excellent, behind-the-scenes look at five individuals who played a large part in shaping the Republican power structure as we know it today. Although the book was written nearly six years ago, Easton's insightful journalism is especially relevant due to the Jack Abramoff scandal. Abramoff plays a large part in the book, as he ran the College Republicans with pals Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed.
To understand the Republican Party, you must read this book. Easton's knowledge spans the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton years, and goes beyond the personalities you see in the media to paint a picture of a party rooted in college activism, philosophy, and a desire to push the country to the Right.
This book comes highly recommend to anyone interested in our political strucutre, Republican or Democrat.
Not surprising that nobody read it Oct 7, 2006
First, lets consider the source. Nina appears to be a very nice person and very attractive. But she is a liberal. She writes for the Boston Globe, not a publication who is tolerant of conservative views. This is akin to having Yankees fans review the Red Sox fans conduct. Its not only skewed but also deliberately contrived to create a sinister appearance and motive of the 'five'.
Second, she chose five people of which only really two were actually major movers in the GOP or conservative movement. Maybe she should have asked around first if she actually knew any conservatives she could have surveyed for some names to start with.
Mostly, this book is harmless and a rehash of already public information. Ralph Reed is a smooth talker and more moderate in tone than Pat Robertson. Boy, that's gonna be a headline someday.
I'm sure that liberals will gleefully read about how evil, heartless and conniving those conservatives are trying to organize things so they can win elections without the public knowing it. Its hardly news and its hardly unusual considering that we have already had to live through Carville and Begala.
Learn about the internal makeup of the conservative movement Jul 23, 2002
Being a Leftist, I didn't know much about how the conservative movement actually works. After reading this book, I think I understand it a little better. I had always known that the Republican Party is fractured, with religious conservatives and economic libertarians forming a coalition of people who have little in common with one another. This book showed me that there are even more divisions than that.
It also showed me how the conservative movement has changed. In this profile of five relatively young conservative leaders, you won't find any mention of Jesse Helms as a role model. The Republican Party is trying to smooth the edges a little bit.
Of the five leaders whose lives are profiled (Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Clint Bolick, David McIntosh, and Bill Kristol), I found Ralph Reed's to be the most interesting. I really didn't know how moderate he is. After his almost comical exploits as a young man trying to rig elections, his maturity and conversion come off as being genuine if incomplete. I loved the parts of the book where Ralph Reed tries to moderate the conservative christian message and is undercut by his own followers, who are much more interested in being anti-abortion crusaders than in crafting a complex social policy. When he missteps, it is usually by presuming to speak for them in ways for which they would not approve.
Grover Norquist comes off as a Darth Vader-like character, a man almost completely blinded by his ideology. Reading about his torpedoing of a potential Colin Powell run for the presidency and about his thinly disguised sympathy for separatist militia groups, one is reminded of the ugly face of conservatism that earned it the traditional brand "mean-spirited". But one also realizes that people like Bill Kristol disapprove of that sort of thing vociferously, and still call themselves conservatives. Norquist operates under the supposition that 60% of the people of the country are Rightists, and that Democrats only win by cheating, but it seems that not even 60% of Republicans would meet his definition of a Rightist.
This book chronicles the intellectual development, the rise to power, the internal conflicts, the illusions and delusions, the lessons learned through hard experience, and the ultimate disappoinment of the Right's leaders before, during, and after the Republican Revolution of 1994. As a liberal reader, I recommend it as a great primer. I don't know what a conservative reader would think of it.