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  • Birchers

  • How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right
  • By: Matthew Dallek
  • Narrated by: Donald Corren
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Birchers

By: Matthew Dallek
Narrated by: Donald Corren
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Summary

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.

©2023 Matthew Dallek (P)2023 Basic Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

“Before MAGA, there was the John Birch Society, an organization known to many but understood by very few. Matthew 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
“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, Matthew 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

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