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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of What's the Matter with Kansas?, a wonderfully insightful and sardonic look at how the worst economy since the 1930s has brought about the revival of conservatism.
Economic catastrophe usually brings social protest and demands for change - or at least it's supposed to. But when Thomas Frank set out in 2009 to look for expressions of American discontent, all he could find were loud demands that the economic system be made even harsher on the recession's victims and that society's traditional winners receive even grander prizes. The American right, which had seemed moribund after the election of 2008, was strangely reinvigorated by the arrival of hard times. The Tea Party movement demanded not that we question the failed system but that we reaffirm our commitment to it. Republicans in Congress embarked on a bold strategy of total opposition to the liberal state. And TV phenom Glenn Beck demonstrated the commercial potential of heroic paranoia and the purest libertarian economics.
In Pity the Billionaire, Frank, the great chronicler of American paradox, examines the peculiar mechanism by which dire economic circumstances have delivered wildly unexpected political results. Using firsthand reporting, a deep knowledge of the American right, and a wicked sense of humor, he gives us the first full diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous. What it portends is ominous for both our economic health and our democracy.
©2012 Thomas Frank (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
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Critic Reviews

"No one fools Thomas Frank, who is the sharpest, funniest, most intellectually voracious political commentator on the scene. In Pity the Billionaire he has written a brilliant expose of the most breath-taking ruse in American political history: how the right turned the biggest capitalist breakdown since 1929 into an opportunity for themselves." (Barbara Ehrenreich)
“Thomas Frank is the thinking person’s Michael Moore. If Moore, the left-wing filmmaker, had Frank’s Ph.D. (in history from the University of Chicago), he might produce books like this one.” (Michael Kinsley, The New York Times Book Review)
“A feisty and galvanizing book… This is the kind of analysis - historically astute, irreverent and droll - that makes Frank such an invaluable voice. As he's done in a series of perceptive books, Frank cuts through the partisan blather and explains how money and cynical ideas shape a certain kind of contemporary politics. Pity the Billionaire is further evidence that he's as good at this as any writer working today.” ( San Francisco Chronicle)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By EC on 03-19-12

another outstanding book by Thomas Frank

Where does Pity the Billionaire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

one of the best. The author is extremely engaging. His data and research are impeccable.

What other book might you compare Pity the Billionaire to and why?

It is hard to compare Thomas Frank to anybody. He writes differently and researches differently. He really stands in the category by himself. His body of work is different than any other author that I can think of.

Any additional comments?

if you're a political junkie, this book is a must-read.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Mike Schnoll on 08-17-12

Intelligent analysis of a stupid phenomenon

Would you consider the audio edition of Pity the Billionaire to be better than the print version?

How would I know? The audio edition is moving and insightful, but I haven't read the print version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Pity the Billionaire?

Understanding how citizen outrage at profligate government/corporate corruption morphed into the Tea Party reality-rejecting echo chamber. It's a remarkable story of money and manipulation. You certainly can fool some of the people all of the time.

Which scene was your favorite?

The CEO of Massey Energy (multi-millionare beneficiary of lax safety practices that killed dozens of miners) rallying a crowd of middle class idiots with anti-government rhetoric.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Self-reinforcing nature of faith and politics, not blatant stupidity, precludes people from questioning the beliefs that lead to this mass crazy. Joe the Plumber really believes he's better off under Bush/McCain no matter the evidence to the contrary.

Any additional comments?

Both entertaining and thoroughly depressing to think that so many American voters lack the critical reasoning skills see through the mendacity of the monied leaders of this Astroturf movement. Our public education system has failed us.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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