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Birchers

How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right

Regular Price $32

Regular Price $40 CAD

Regular Price $32

Regular Price $40 CAD

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On Sale

Mar 21, 2023

Page Count

384 Pages

ISBN-13

9781541673564

Description

How a notorious far right organization set the Republican Party on a long march toward extremism
 
At the height of the John Birch Society’s activity in the 1960s, critics dismissed its members as a paranoid fringe. After all, “Birchers” believed that a vast communist conspiracy existed in America and posed an existential threat to Christianity, capitalism, and freedom. But as historian Matthew Dallek reveals, the Birch Society’s extremism remade American conservatism. Most Birchers were white professionals who were radicalized as growing calls for racial and gender equality appeared to upend American life. Conservative leaders recognized that these affluent voters were needed to win elections, and for decades the GOP courted Birchers and their extremist successors. The far right steadily gained power, finally toppling the Republican establishment and electing Donald Trump.
 
Birchers is a deeply researched and indispensable new account of the rise of extremism in the United States.
 
 

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Praise

“In Cold War America, no organization on the right was larger or more influential than the John Birch Society. Matthew Dallek’s perceptive, engrossing narrative reveals as never before how a group funded by wealthy businessmen and organized at the grassroots level changed the Republican Party—and the nation. Birchers is one of the best and most essential histories of modern conservatism that has ever been written.”—Michael Kazin, author of What It Took to Win
“The John Birch Society was once considered so far out on the paranoid fringe it was synonymous with kookiness. In his fascinating and scrupulously researched narrative, Dallek shows how the Republican Party’s extremists took over the GOP. Revelatory and readable, Birchers is essential history for anyone trying to understand American politics.”—Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money
“Before MAGA, there was the John Birch Society, an organization known to many but understood by very few. Dallek has penetrated the fog. His superbly researched and well-written history shows us exactly who the Birchers were and why they mattered—and still matter today.”—Sam Tanenhaus, author of The Death of Conservatism
“A fascinating and much-needed look at the strange but vital history of the John Birch Society. Long dismissed as a fringe movement, the Birchers and their conspiratorial style have found new life in the Trump-era right. This is just the history we need to understand today’s political predicament.”—Beverly Gage, author of G-Man
Birchers is an eye-opening account of the decades-long struggle to organize the radical right in the United States—and to bring the far-right into electoral politics. This deeply researched account exposes the inner workings of the secretive organization, the deep-pocketed and high-powered activists who joined its ranks, and the everyday Americans drawn into its conspiratorial web.”—Nicole Hemmer, author of Partisans
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