While there have been plenty of books written about the left, scholars have haven't paid anywhere near the same attention to the American right. This book, one of the most sweeping studies of its kind goes a long way toward rectifying the imbalance by delineating the currents of conservative thought from early in the century to today and identifying the groups?from the Ku Klux Klan to contemporary paleo-and neo-conservatives, libertarians, and the Christian right (though, perhaps strangely, not the NRA)?that espouse them. Rather than emphasize such groups' extremism, as the media often does, Diamond makes clear their links to mainstream thought and to the political and business interests that sustain them. She makes dozens of crucial connections, showing how members of the Christian right carried out covert activities for the Reagan administration and how figures such as direct-mail wizard Richard Viguery (whose computerized voting lists have helped Republicans win many Congressional seats) maintain ties to organizations further to the right. In passing, Diamond shows how social theory has failed to account for right-wing movements, but her analysis remains geared to general readers. While her approach may make such groups as the John Birch Society appear more anodyne than liberals would wish, it is both balanced and scholarly: it's the aggregate that is the most alarming. This book should prove a touchstone of future discussion about the right, which is more powerful today than at any time since the 1920s.
The Guilford Press