A Financial Times Best Book of the Year Shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize There has always been some gap between rich and poor in this country, but recently what it means to be rich has changed dramatically. Forget the 1 percent—Plutocrats proves that it is the wealthiest 0.1 percent who are outpacing the rest of us at breakneck speed. Most of these new fortunes are not inherited, amassed instead by perceptive businesspeople who see themselves as deserving victors in a cutthroat international competition. With empathy and intelligence, Plutocrats reveals the consequences of concentrating the world’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands. Propelled by fascinating original interviews with the plutocrats themselves, Plutocrats is a tour de force of social and economic history, the definitive examination of inequality in our time.
Campaign financing is one of today’s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money flows freely on both sides. In Plutocrats United, Richard Hasen argues that both left and right avoid the key issue of the new Citizens United era: balancing political inequality with free speech. The Supreme Court has long held that corruption and its appearance are the only reasons to constitutionally restrict campaign funds. Progressives often agree but have a much broader view of corruption. Hasen argues for a new focus and way forward: if the government is to ensure robust political debate, the Supreme Court should allow limits on money in politics to prevent those with great economic power from distorting the political process.
"Was it you who yawned so, Clementina?" Nobody answered. The questioner was an old gentleman in his eightieth year or so, dressed in a splendid flowered silk Kaftan, with a woollen night-cap on his head, warm cotton stockings on his feet, and diamond, turquoise, and ruby rings on his fingers. He was reclining on an atlas ottoman, his face was as wooden as a mummy's, a mere patch-work of wrinkles, he had a dry, thin, pointed nose, shaggy, autumnal-yellow eyebrows, and his large prominent black eyes protected by irritably sensitive eyelids, lent little charm to his peculiar cast of countenance. "Well! Will nobody answer? Who yawned so loudly behind my back just now?" he asked again, with an angry snort. "Will nobody answer?" Nobody answered, and yet there was a sufficient number of people in the room to have found an answer between them. In front of the hearth was sitting a young woman about thirty or thirty-five, with just such a strongly-pronounced pointed nose, with just such high raised eyebrows as the old gentleman's, only her face was still red (though the favour of Nature had not much to do with that perhaps) and her eyebrows were still black; but her thin lips were just as hermetically sealed as the old man's, when she was not speaking. This young woman was playing at Patience.
The central question in American democracy today is how the plutocratic 1% minority received enough votes from the 99% majority to gain control of government at all levels. This political novel tells a story that reveals how wealthy plutocrats have gained majority political power by buying the messaging of preachers in independent churches that included presenting sermons that deceive white Protestant Christians and influence their votes. After moving into a mid-western region of America and living there for many years, the author learned that independent churches dominated “Christianity” in that region. Having attended some of the major “big box” church events by invitation, as well as having lived among these political evangelicals, the author experienced first-hand the power of these independent churches in drawing people into membership for a multitude of reasons that included influencing their political voting and had little or nothing to do with Christianity.
Essentially a tale of incident and adventure it is one of the best novels of that inexhaustible type with which I am acquainted. It possesses in an eminent degree the quality of vividness which R. L. Stevenson prized so highly and the ingenuity of its plot the dramatic force of its episodes and the startling unexpectedness of its dnouement are all in the Hungarian master's most characteristic style.
When the German-Jewish Rothschild family founded a chain of banks in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Vienna and Naples, it made them the world's richest in the 19th century. Lionel, Anthony, Nathaniel and Mayer were the first British-born members of this incredible family; this is the story of their triumph over prejudice and bigotry to become the first Jews accepted into the upper echelons of English and European society. Numbering among their friends Gladstone, Disraeli, Browning, Tennyson and Dickens, they lived in a style surpassing that of even today's richest. Written with the co-operation of the family and unique access to previously unseen archives, this biography reveals the intimate lives, lifestyles and difficulties of this most fascinating of families whose name remains a byword for wealth.
In the year that saw the start of World War I, the United States was itself on the verge of revolution: industrial depression in the east, striking coal miners in Colorado, and increasingly tense relations with Mexico. "There was blood in the air that year," a witness later recalled, "there truly was." In New York, the year had opened with bright expectations, but 1914 quickly tumbled into disillusionment and violence. For John Purroy Mitchel, the city's new "boy mayor," the trouble started in January, when a crushing winter caused homeless shelters to overflow. By April, anarchist throngs paraded past industrialists' mansions, and tens of thousands filled Union Square demanding "Bread or Revolution." Then, on July 4, 1914, a detonation destroyed a seven-story Harlem tenement. It was the largest explosion the city had ever known. Among the dead were three bombmakers; incited by anarchist Alexander Berkman, they had been preparing to dynamite the estate of John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of a plutocratic dynasty and widely vilified for a massacre of his company's striking workers in Colorado earlier that spring. More Powerful Than Dynamite charts how anarchist anger, progressive idealism, and plutocratic paternalism converged in that July explosion. Its cast ranges from celebrated figures such as Emma Goldman, Upton Sinclair, and Andrew Carnegie to the fascinating and heretofore little known: Frank Tannenbaum, a homeless teenager who dared to lead his followers into the city's churches; police inspector Max Schmittberger, too honest for his department and too crooked for everyone else; and Becky Edelsohn, a young anarchist known for her red tights and for spitting in millionaires' faces. Historian and journalist Thai Jones creates a fascinating portrait of a city on the edge of chaos coming to terms with modernity.