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Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich

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For more than thirty years, Kevin Phillips' insight into American politics and economics has helped to make history as well as record it. His bestselling books, including The Emerging Republican Majority (1969) and The Politics of Rich and Poor (1990), have influenced presidential campaigns and changed the way America sees itself. Widely acknowledging Phillips as one of th For more than thirty years, Kevin Phillips' insight into American politics and economics has helped to make history as well as record it. His bestselling books, including The Emerging Republican Majority (1969) and The Politics of Rich and Poor (1990), have influenced presidential campaigns and changed the way America sees itself. Widely acknowledging Phillips as one of the nation's most perceptive thinkers, reviewers have called him a latter-day Nostradamus and our "modern Thomas Paine." Now, in the first major book of its kind since the 1930s, he turns his attention to the United States' history of great wealth and power, a sweeping cavalcade from the American Revolution to what he calls "the Second Gilded Age" at the turn of the twenty-first century. The Second Gilded Age has been staggering enough in its concentration of wealth to dwarf the original Gilded Age a hundred years earlier. However, the tech crash and then the horrible events of September 11, 2001, pointed out that great riches are as vulnerable as they have ever been. In Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips charts the ongoing American saga of great wealth–how it has been accumulated, its shifting sources, and its ups and downs over more than two centuries. He explores how the rich and politically powerful have frequently worked together to create or perpetuate privilege, often at the expense of the national interest and usually at the expense of the middle and lower classes. With intriguing chapters on history and bold analysis of present-day America, Phillips illuminates the dangerous politics that go with excessive concentration of wealth. Profiling wealthy Americans–from Astor to Carnegie and Rockefeller to contemporary wealth holders–Phillips provides fascinating details about the peculiarly American ways of becoming and staying a multimillionaire. He exposes the subtle corruption spawned by a money culture and financial power, evident in economic philosophy, tax favoritism, and selective bailouts in the name of free enterprise, economic stimulus, and national security. Finally, Wealth and Democracy turns to the history of Britain and other leading world economic powers to examine the symptoms that signaled their declines–speculative finance, mounting international debt, record wealth, income polarization, and disgruntled politics–signs that we recognize in America at the start of the twenty-first century. In a time of national crisis, Phillips worries that the growing parallels suggest the tide may already be turning for us all. From the Hardcover edition.


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For more than thirty years, Kevin Phillips' insight into American politics and economics has helped to make history as well as record it. His bestselling books, including The Emerging Republican Majority (1969) and The Politics of Rich and Poor (1990), have influenced presidential campaigns and changed the way America sees itself. Widely acknowledging Phillips as one of th For more than thirty years, Kevin Phillips' insight into American politics and economics has helped to make history as well as record it. His bestselling books, including The Emerging Republican Majority (1969) and The Politics of Rich and Poor (1990), have influenced presidential campaigns and changed the way America sees itself. Widely acknowledging Phillips as one of the nation's most perceptive thinkers, reviewers have called him a latter-day Nostradamus and our "modern Thomas Paine." Now, in the first major book of its kind since the 1930s, he turns his attention to the United States' history of great wealth and power, a sweeping cavalcade from the American Revolution to what he calls "the Second Gilded Age" at the turn of the twenty-first century. The Second Gilded Age has been staggering enough in its concentration of wealth to dwarf the original Gilded Age a hundred years earlier. However, the tech crash and then the horrible events of September 11, 2001, pointed out that great riches are as vulnerable as they have ever been. In Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips charts the ongoing American saga of great wealth–how it has been accumulated, its shifting sources, and its ups and downs over more than two centuries. He explores how the rich and politically powerful have frequently worked together to create or perpetuate privilege, often at the expense of the national interest and usually at the expense of the middle and lower classes. With intriguing chapters on history and bold analysis of present-day America, Phillips illuminates the dangerous politics that go with excessive concentration of wealth. Profiling wealthy Americans–from Astor to Carnegie and Rockefeller to contemporary wealth holders–Phillips provides fascinating details about the peculiarly American ways of becoming and staying a multimillionaire. He exposes the subtle corruption spawned by a money culture and financial power, evident in economic philosophy, tax favoritism, and selective bailouts in the name of free enterprise, economic stimulus, and national security. Finally, Wealth and Democracy turns to the history of Britain and other leading world economic powers to examine the symptoms that signaled their declines–speculative finance, mounting international debt, record wealth, income polarization, and disgruntled politics–signs that we recognize in America at the start of the twenty-first century. In a time of national crisis, Phillips worries that the growing parallels suggest the tide may already be turning for us all. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leftbanker

    A must read for anyone interested in hanging on to the fragile democracy we are left with after 25 years or so of allowing the rich to pretty much get away with anything and everything. The growing economic inequalities in America should scare the living shit out of anyone who makes less than about $500,000 a year. Of course, all of the neo-con trailer trash in America think that they are a lottery ticket away from joining that club. Good luck, assholes.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Troy

    A poorly written, but absolutely amazing book! If I could, I would give the information in this book five stars, and the writing one star. Phillips, who used to be a prominent conservative, has turned into a wild-eyed Bush-hating populist. He's still roughly a fiscal conservative, but he's also become a scholar who is deeply interested in the history of wealth and money. This is the finest book I've read on the subject, but it is NOT fun reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This book was published in 2002 and in it (the end of Chapter 2) Kevin Phillips basically predicted the too-big-to-fail bailout Great Recession: "The industrial policy debate of the early 1980s had long since ended. But in retrospect, the United States did adopt a kind of 'industrial policy,' one that bowed to the mounting national importance of both private finance and the treasury and Federal Reserve Board. Instead of seeking to restore the older manufacturing industries or build the new techno This book was published in 2002 and in it (the end of Chapter 2) Kevin Phillips basically predicted the too-big-to-fail bailout Great Recession: "The industrial policy debate of the early 1980s had long since ended. But in retrospect, the United States did adopt a kind of 'industrial policy,' one that bowed to the mounting national importance of both private finance and the treasury and Federal Reserve Board. Instead of seeking to restore the older manufacturing industries or build the new technological sector, Washington authorities steadily protected and advanced banking and finance, providing rescues from perils, insolvencies, and crises hitherto regarded as being hazards of the marketplace…. “The ultimate expression of wealth or financial mercantilism involved the elimination under Reagan, Bush, and then Clinton of the so-called ‘moral hazard’ in the U.S. and global finance through bailouts and rescues by one agency after another. The deliverance list kept growing: Under Reagan, major banks, a threatened Latin American default on bond payments (1983), and a stock market flooded with liquidity on the day after its October 19, 1987, crash. The S&L financial oxygen tent of 1989-92 stretched over the whole Bush Administration. Under Clinton, resurrections were almost biblical: collapsing Mexican peso, with its threat to U.S bondholders (1994), shaky Asian currencies and banks (1997), the arrangement by Greenspan for Wall Street to bail out Long Term Capital Management (1998), and the Federal Reserve's late 1999 Y2K miscalculation….. Small wonder that so many upper-bracket Americans felt so comfortable in their speculations.” Also interesting is Appendix A, “U.S. Historical Price Indexes, 1790-1991,” which shows prices gently rising & falling and then being exactly the same in 1909 as they were in 1790. Prices then rise 1300% over the next 82 years.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nick Huntington-Klein

    A book that tries to track the existence and status of the very-wealthy in the United States over time, and how they interacted with the political system. Absolutely has some high points. The book may be worth picking up for some very interesting statistics about wealth at the very upper end, however believable those figures are. The changing relationship between politicians, the populus, and the wealthy is also interesting to see. Not a book with particularly strong analytic muscles to flex, tho A book that tries to track the existence and status of the very-wealthy in the United States over time, and how they interacted with the political system. Absolutely has some high points. The book may be worth picking up for some very interesting statistics about wealth at the very upper end, however believable those figures are. The changing relationship between politicians, the populus, and the wealthy is also interesting to see. Not a book with particularly strong analytic muscles to flex, though. Taking the step from data to theory and prediction we have very little economics or political science to lean on, and rather just a bunch of hunches and lazy populist assertions (and I don't mean Populist). A quote from a stump speech isn't really the best indicator of an economic climate. Worth picking up for some fun data on the uberwealthy and a little bit of historical perspective. Want anything serious, though, and you're much better off reading Piketty.

  5. 5 out of 5

    sologdin

    Former Nixon strategist adopts a critique of "plutocracy," which I'm not sure is a leftwing or rightwing topos--but the strength is the rigorous presentation of economic history of the United States.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim Parker

    Kevin Phillips is an insightful analyst of the destructive economic and social agenda of the Republican right, and his voice is especially important since he was the first commentator to report its emergence, as both a GOP electoral strategist and author of The Emerging Republican Majority in 1969. Phillips has since done some emerging of his own, and become one of the right's most pereceptive and profound critics. And in Wealth and Democracy he details how the "Southern Strategy" which he helpe Kevin Phillips is an insightful analyst of the destructive economic and social agenda of the Republican right, and his voice is especially important since he was the first commentator to report its emergence, as both a GOP electoral strategist and author of The Emerging Republican Majority in 1969. Phillips has since done some emerging of his own, and become one of the right's most pereceptive and profound critics. And in Wealth and Democracy he details how the "Southern Strategy" which he helped devise as a GOP operative, has provided convenient cover — powered by a constant barrage of manipulative social themes centered on divisive "wedge" issues — to conceal the GOP's real agenda: unravelling the social fabric of America to increase the concentration of wealth and privilege at the top of our economic and power pyramid.

  7. 4 out of 5

    James Igoe

    I found Phillips writing of wealth and democracy illuminating, not because I was unaware of the degree to which wealth controls the government, but how it has changed over the years, and the degree to which war profiteering creates wealth. Reading this book, one can't help but notice that the past is repeating, and what it is repeating is ugly, corrupt, and wrong-headed. As for others' criticisms that times are better for everyone, and that everyone does better when we all do better, that allowin I found Phillips writing of wealth and democracy illuminating, not because I was unaware of the degree to which wealth controls the government, but how it has changed over the years, and the degree to which war profiteering creates wealth. Reading this book, one can't help but notice that the past is repeating, and what it is repeating is ugly, corrupt, and wrong-headed. As for others' criticisms that times are better for everyone, and that everyone does better when we all do better, that allowing egregious accumulation of wealth allows society to grow, well that is nonsense. I'm not an economics professional, although a member of an international economics honors society and a regular reader of economics books, but my own research indicates that such ideas, justifying gross inequality and the invisible hand, are false.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ned

    timely reading this year of election. It got me hot. This contains Reams of data of cycles of economic periods of the mercantile states of the west since the Renaissance but focusing of course on America and it's cycles in economic boost-and-bum. Of the several periodic growths of the US economy, in Jackson's time, and after the civil war thru the time of the plutocrats by 1890, again is paralleled the mighty 20th century cycle of growth which on the one hand both took on and then floated the world timely reading this year of election. It got me hot. This contains Reams of data of cycles of economic periods of the mercantile states of the west since the Renaissance but focusing of course on America and it's cycles in economic boost-and-bum. Of the several periodic growths of the US economy, in Jackson's time, and after the civil war thru the time of the plutocrats by 1890, again is paralleled the mighty 20th century cycle of growth which on the one hand both took on and then floated the world with the idea of global economies. This works for me as a fine continuation of many of the questions that DH Fischer came up with in his "Great Wave" [see elsewhere:], but who for his own ends, focuses on the great waves of economic history with a great deal of focus on the great Italian, Spanish, Dutch and English economies, 15th-19th centuries. This of Kevin Phillips also helped me align my studies elsewhere in the parallels between the european renaissance and our own time. There are so many instances of what can only be called insights -- since there really is no systematic science or historiography in our times to compare these things systematically without ahistorical prejudices of very often emotional hyperbole getting in the way and highjacking any discussion -- but in very few but very large, crucial differences of scale and of moral and cultural climates, in the 15th century and our own to the edification of today's entrepreneur. You could start a whole University curricula around watching the march of history through today's headlines by comparing it with the dynamics of the past. The Prince or Duke of the 1400's had to act with the same set of priorities that a corporation the size of abc or sprint operates on today in their separate milieu. Their goals are different, their methods are very similar. All the way down to expenses for clothing for a retinue of lawyers and ambassadors, for example. You can't get that grant unless your team wines and dines, usually 'the shareholders' and convinces thru a series of conferences and power-point presentations the readiness your company has for this job. Right? Same deal. But Phillips doesn't talk bout this so much. Instead you get a lot of charts and graphs detailing market trends, prices, comparisons, cycles and how they turn out. Marvelous, lovely data! And he is kind enough to show his prejudices. Sweet!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jim Pfluecke

    The title of this book says it all: this book looks at wealth formation and the relationship of money to politics. Its strength is in the former, showing how most of the early American fortunes were made in some relationship to the state (supplying the continental army, privateering, etc), and how wars and major political re-alignments (New Deal, election of Reagan) shift where and how the richest fortunes are accumulated. On the whole, the book shows the powerful effect of the Federal governmen The title of this book says it all: this book looks at wealth formation and the relationship of money to politics. Its strength is in the former, showing how most of the early American fortunes were made in some relationship to the state (supplying the continental army, privateering, etc), and how wars and major political re-alignments (New Deal, election of Reagan) shift where and how the richest fortunes are accumulated. On the whole, the book shows the powerful effect of the Federal government on determining who gets rich. The book is weaker on looking at the relationship of money and politics. Basically, Phillips takes this for granted. Perhaps the best part of this book is its examination of the concentration of wealth and why (in the perspective of other former great powers), this is really bad for America and its future. Phillips provides a wealth of data that is useful for understanding changes over time in America. Finally, I find much irony in that fact that Phillips, one of the main architects of the GOP's "Southern Strategy" that has led to the dominance of conservative politicians and ideas for most of my adult life, is less than please with the outcome of his works. While I agree with him on the nature and scope of the disaster that is the destruction of the American middle class and the increase in poverty, I can not bring myself to extend much empathy to Mr. Phillips, who goes out of his way in this book to attack the only political and ideological allies he has, American liberals...

  10. 5 out of 5

    James

    The title of this book says it all: this book looks at wealth formation and the relationship of money to politics. Its strength is in the former, showing how most of the early American fortunes were made in some relationship to the state (supplying the continental army, privateering, etc), and how wars and major political re-alignments (New Deal, election of Reagan) shift where and how the richest fortunes are accumulated. On the whole, the book shows the powerful effect of the Federal governmen The title of this book says it all: this book looks at wealth formation and the relationship of money to politics. Its strength is in the former, showing how most of the early American fortunes were made in some relationship to the state (supplying the continental army, privateering, etc), and how wars and major political re-alignments (New Deal, election of Reagan) shift where and how the richest fortunes are accumulated. On the whole, the book shows the powerful effect of the Federal government on determining who gets rich. The book is weaker on looking at the relationship of money and politics. Basically, Phillips takes this for granted. Perhaps the best part of this book is its examination of the concentration of wealth and why (in the perspective of other former great powers), this is really bad for America and its future. Phillips provides a wealth of data that is useful for understanding changes over time in America. Finally, I find much irony in that fact that Phillips, one of the main architects of the GOP's "Southern Strategy" that has led to the dominance of conservative politicians and ideas for most of my adult life, is less than please with the outcome of his works. While I agree with him on the nature and scope of the disaster that is the destruction of the American middle class and the increase in poverty, I can not bring myself to extend much empathy to Mr. Phillips, who goes out of his way in this book to attack the only political and ideological allies he has, American liberals...

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Abramowitz

    Phillips highlights the dangerous and sometimes absurd trail of political and financial corruption from the colonial era to the present. With some great exceptions, American policy has been affected by the wealthy's undue influence and all too close relationship to elected officials. To my knowledge, Clinton taking that hedge fund position marks the first time a former President has entered the financial sector after his term (though this is common place for legislative figures). This should pro Phillips highlights the dangerous and sometimes absurd trail of political and financial corruption from the colonial era to the present. With some great exceptions, American policy has been affected by the wealthy's undue influence and all too close relationship to elected officials. To my knowledge, Clinton taking that hedge fund position marks the first time a former President has entered the financial sector after his term (though this is common place for legislative figures). This should prompt each of us to ask if we are returning to an age where financiers are playing the role of railroad men and bankers, propping "their boys" in to the Senate, Bench and local legislatures. Phillips final point, to which the trail has led, is that we need to stop letting politicians and business leaders conflate democracy and capitalism. Those seeking to confuse the two have committed wild offenses in the name of the balance sheet and price/earnings ratio. As a simple review of the book, Phillips makes his case strongly, though I wish the bibliography was more user friendly.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Doug Noakes

    A voluminous book that nevertheless was hard to put down, "Wealth and Democracy" examines the steady climb of financial empire-builders and speculators in American history from John Jacob Astor's fur empire of the early republic to the tech billionaires of the Silicon Valley. Kevin Phillips' makes a case that the power these companies have built up ebbs and flows over time, but the influence that wealth has over our government is getting stronger ever since the great economic strains of the Grea A voluminous book that nevertheless was hard to put down, "Wealth and Democracy" examines the steady climb of financial empire-builders and speculators in American history from John Jacob Astor's fur empire of the early republic to the tech billionaires of the Silicon Valley. Kevin Phillips' makes a case that the power these companies have built up ebbs and flows over time, but the influence that wealth has over our government is getting stronger ever since the great economic strains of the Great Depression and the Second World War. He also does an excellent job showing how purveyors of wealth in nations like Spain and the Netherlands essentially ruined their economies in the past through too much influence over the governing bodies of the state. It's a cautious but not radical work of economics that provides a background to the role that wealth creation has on the functioning of democratic-republics for good and ill.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    If you have wondered if the recent US economic pain has historical global parallels, the answer is yes. Over the centuries, Spain, Holland and England have all made the catastrophic shift from making money from real goods and services, providing for the middle class, to profits generated from moving money around, resulting in extreme polarization of wealth and ultimately the collapse of their global economic leadership. Interestingly, the countries all exacerbated the problem by racking up debt If you have wondered if the recent US economic pain has historical global parallels, the answer is yes. Over the centuries, Spain, Holland and England have all made the catastrophic shift from making money from real goods and services, providing for the middle class, to profits generated from moving money around, resulting in extreme polarization of wealth and ultimately the collapse of their global economic leadership. Interestingly, the countries all exacerbated the problem by racking up debt fighting wars that they could not afford and bailing out companies that were no longer sound. Sound familiar? Fascinating read despite the depth of detail and numbers; the historical background is still excellent. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian Ridge

    It's easy to dismiss talk of "wealth inequality" as socialist claptrap, but this book demonstrates the real dangers that America's rising rate of inequality can lead to. The author convincingly draws worrisome parallels between today's America and the state of pre-economic decline mid-18th century Holland and late 19th century England. In short, the same factors that brought the mighty Dutch and English economies to their knees are abundantly at play in America today. For the sake of long-term A It's easy to dismiss talk of "wealth inequality" as socialist claptrap, but this book demonstrates the real dangers that America's rising rate of inequality can lead to. The author convincingly draws worrisome parallels between today's America and the state of pre-economic decline mid-18th century Holland and late 19th century England. In short, the same factors that brought the mighty Dutch and English economies to their knees are abundantly at play in America today. For the sake of long-term American prosperity, the issue of wealth inequality and its concomitant social and financial ills needs to be addressed as a problem rather than celebrated as a glory of capitalism. This bookl is challenging to get through, but worth the read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth Barnett

    This book is full of information about inequality and extreme wealth in the United States. Some chapters go into more detail than I needed (for example, detailing the origin of great fortunes and the names of the top wealth owners in Britain and the United States in the 18th-19th centuries), but I can't hold it against the author, the book is, after all 400+ pages long. Phillips discussion of wealth inequality, and the relationship between money and political power is timely and fascinating. His This book is full of information about inequality and extreme wealth in the United States. Some chapters go into more detail than I needed (for example, detailing the origin of great fortunes and the names of the top wealth owners in Britain and the United States in the 18th-19th centuries), but I can't hold it against the author, the book is, after all 400+ pages long. Phillips discussion of wealth inequality, and the relationship between money and political power is timely and fascinating. His comparisons between the modern US economy and previous great economic powers (Spain, Netherlands, Britain), show parallels between our current economy and other historical periods (of decline).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Even though the detail Mr. Phillips provides in this tomb can get a bit thick at times, the historical perspective it provides gives one ample reason to doubt all of the Republican apologists who praise the so called "job creators." Especially is this now Romney speak for don't tax the wealthy. But as Phillips points out, we are already well down the road already traveled by the Dutch and the British; the path where the wealthy become more entrenched and risk averse. Where investment strategy i Even though the detail Mr. Phillips provides in this tomb can get a bit thick at times, the historical perspective it provides gives one ample reason to doubt all of the Republican apologists who praise the so called "job creators." Especially is this now Romney speak for don't tax the wealthy. But as Phillips points out, we are already well down the road already traveled by the Dutch and the British; the path where the wealthy become more entrenched and risk averse. Where investment strategy increasingly involves paper instruments that maximize the ratio of profit to risk, and any notions of responsibility to country are looked upon as naive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    JP

    I can't tell whether his main point is that wealth is increasingly concentrated at the top and that this is bad, or that the concentration of wealth at the top is a sign of ecomic decline -- and that this is bad. He does make a convincing case that the boom times where anythimg but laissez faire and he does show the extent to which the rich control democracy. But his work is also loaded with subjective opinions. He clearly has an agenda that wouldn't be possible in a free democracy. I wonder if I can't tell whether his main point is that wealth is increasingly concentrated at the top and that this is bad, or that the concentration of wealth at the top is a sign of ecomic decline -- and that this is bad. He does make a convincing case that the boom times where anythimg but laissez faire and he does show the extent to which the rich control democracy. But his work is also loaded with subjective opinions. He clearly has an agenda that wouldn't be possible in a free democracy. I wonder if he has considered whether "Wealth and Totalitarianism" or "Wealth and Socialism" would be much worse.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Diane C.

    This excellent book is not one you will read cover to cover in a few weeks. It's dense with historical facts and data and the writer's own analysis of these. I got it from the library, will BUY the book and read a bit almost every day. Kevin Philips goes all the way back to the inception of our country to analyze the dangerous interplay between government and the rich (and how the government usually IS the rich). How it has always been thus, with brief and blessed periods of time when we had a h This excellent book is not one you will read cover to cover in a few weeks. It's dense with historical facts and data and the writer's own analysis of these. I got it from the library, will BUY the book and read a bit almost every day. Kevin Philips goes all the way back to the inception of our country to analyze the dangerous interplay between government and the rich (and how the government usually IS the rich). How it has always been thus, with brief and blessed periods of time when we had a healthy middle class. Will the 21st century result in the triumph of the plutocrats or the middle class? Hopefully the latter.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This is a pretty dense book about American democracy and politics, but specifically with the rich. It's an interesting topic but the book itself took awhile for me to get through. It is dense and therefore can get tedious from time to time. However, there is a great deal of information in there and the author makes some interesting conclusions so if you are interested in the topic, you should read it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marik Casmon

    This history seems pretty thorough and includes lots of footnotes and an extensive bibliography. It demonstrates clearly the role of the U.S. government in creating, maintaining, and enriching our nation's ruling plutocracy. Though it was written in 2002, I don't think the author would have been at all surprised by the 2007 crash and the bailouts and subsequent prosperity of the nation's ruling rich.

  21. 4 out of 5

    chimneyswift

    Phillips writes for those familiar with the terrain of economic history. I had started this book some time ago and put it down. After taking a class on econ hist US 1880-present, I picked it back up. MUCH better the second time around. Lesson: it takes much better writing than this to make this subject interesting for anyone not passionate about it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matt Slaybaugh

    I was gonna give it 5 stars, but I knocked it down to four because it is a little dry and repetitive. None-the-less, this book gives an incredibly thorough and unique accounting of much of what we take for granted as our American History. And most of it is not dry at all. Think of it as a less radical, more reasonable version of Zinn's "People's History"

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jay Roberts, CFP®, CRPC ®

    While it is a political history of the wealthy, it most often reads like a list. There was no real draw to keep the reader engaged. I started the book at the beginning of the year and finally gave up just now. After 250 pages, during which I managed to read several other books, I couldn't go on. The book is dull and ponderous with no real point.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jrobertus

    this book is loaded with facts. it shows, over and over, that the super rich 1% control income and wealth in this country. the pattern follows closely on that seen in england, holland, and even spain before us.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael Bryan

    Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose... A masterful work of political economy. You may think that you understand the history of class in the United States, but unless you've read Phillips' book, you are simply wrong.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    An excellent historical perspective of economics systems from the Spanish Inquisition, the first modern stock exchanges of the Dutch, British Imperialism, and the rise of American economic and financial dominance as well as indicators of its waning power.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nirmal

    Answers the question being debated now - is Obama going to reditribute the Wealth - according to this book we have histroical done that and the current woes may be related to the lack of that redistribution

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Great for anyone attempting to truly understand how economics dictate the real decisions behind politics; from the get go. KP is a former conservative writer (served w/Nixon) and offers an insightful look into the machinations of politicians and their parties.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Val

    Noted economist Kevin Phillips "follows the money" from Greater Spain of the mid 1500s,through the Dutch and British empires and on to the U.S. He documents similiarities in the fall from economic power and layes a road to follow to the future. Great foundational economic and political read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    G

    Phillips predicted the current loss of American jobs accurately due to grinding globalization. What Americans think is a new development has actually been going on for centuries, as described by the author. those jobs are not coming back anytime soon.

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