A REVELATORY AND DARKLY COMIC ADVENTURE THROUGH A NATION ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN—FROM THE HALLS OF CONGRESS TO THE BASES OF BAGHDAD TO THE APOCALYPTIC CHURCHES OF THE HEARTLAND
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi set out to describe the nature of George Bush’s America in the post-9/11 era and ended up vomiting demons in an evangelical church in Texas, riding the streets of Baghdad in an American convoy to nowhere, searching for phantom fighter jets in Congress, and falling into the rabbit hole of the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Matt discovered in his travels across the country that the resilient blue state/red state narrative of American politics had become irrelevant. A large and growing chunk of the American population was so turned off—or radicalized—by electoral chicanery, a spineless news media, and the increasingly blatant lies from our leaders (“they hate us for our freedom”) that they abandoned the political mainstream altogether. They joined what he calls The Great Derangement.
Taibbi tells the story of this new American madness by inserting himself into four defining American subcultures: The Military, where he finds himself mired in the grotesque black comedy of the American occupation of Iraq; The System, where he follows the money-slicked path of legislation in Congress; The Resistance, where he doubles as chief public antagonist and undercover member of the passionately bonkers 9/11 Truth Movement; and The Church, where he infiltrates a politically influential apocalyptic mega-ministry in Texas and enters the lives of its desperate congregants. Together these four interwoven adventures paint a portrait of a nation dangerously out of touch with reality and desperately searching for answers in all the wrong places.
Funny, smart, and a little bit heartbreaking, The Great Derangement is an audaciously reported, sobering, and illuminating portrait of America at the end of the Bush era.
With his trademark mordant wit, journalist Taibbi explores the "black comedy" of the American polis, where a citizenry shunted out of the political process seeks solace in "conspiratorial weirdness and Internet-fueled mysticism." Trained from birth to be excellent consumers, Americans have become experts in "mixing and matching news items to fit [their] own self-created identities," according to the author, who embeds himself in these pockets of people as he travels to the Congress press gallery, Iraq, meetings of the 9/11 Truth Movement, and goes undercover at a Christian Retreat. He pillories born-again Christians and the 9/11 conspiracy theorists, concluding that despite their differences: "Both groups were and are defined primarily by an unshakeable belief in the inhumanity of their enemies on the other side; the Christians seldom distinguished between Islamic terrorism and, say, Al Gore-style environmentalism, while the Truthers easily believed that reporters for the Washington Post, the president and the frontline operators of NORAD were equally capable of murdering masses of ordinary New York financial sector employees." Thoughtful Democrats, Republicans and independents will find common ground in this book that punctures pretense, hypocrisy and know-nothingness. (May 6)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.