Hardcover, 464 pages
In this age of insipid political self-promotion on the one hand and political hatchet jobs on the other, comes this robustly reported account of the incredible strategic achievements of the right-wing Koch brothers. Mayer, a long-time writer for The New Yorker, spent five years on this thick, scrupulously-documented volume and the result is both impressive and frightening. First off, for a book of this type, Mayer’s story is nicely structured, her prose is a pleasure to read, and her conclusions are clear as a bell. Secondly, she shows how the Koch project, begun under the radar in 1980 (coincident with the election of Ronald Reagan), has been an overwhelming success in redefining so-called “conservatism” and winning the election of its adherents to public office at all levels of the American political system. In many ways it now holds an iron grip. This is must reading for any student of the American political process as well as for any truly engaged citizen.