Skip to content
Login · Help

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush


Free shipping on all U.S. orders over $10!

Paraphrasing a passage from Machiavelli's The Prince, Kevin Phillips writes, "a ruler can ignore the mob and devote himself to the interests of the ruling class, gulling the inert majority who constitute the ruled." He then says, "Borgia references aside, 21st-century American readers of The Prince may feel that they have stumbled on a thinly disguised Bush White House political memo." These pointed words would sting regardless of who uttered them, but coming from Phillips, a former Republican strategist, they have an added piquancy. In American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Phillips traces the rise of the Bush family from investment banking elites to political power brokers, using their Ivy League network, vast wealth, and questionable political maneuvering to obtain the White House and consequently, shake the foundation of constitutional American democracy. Citing the Bush family mainstays of finance, energy (oil), the military industrial complex, and national security and intelligence (the CIA), Phillips uses copious examples to show the dangerous alliance between the Bushes' business interests (huge corporations such as Enron and Haliburton) and the formation of national policy. No other family, Phillips says, that has fulfilled its presidential aspirations has been so involved in the ascendancy of the arms industry and of the 21st-century American imperium--often at the expense of regional and world peace and for their personal gain. It is hard to tell what offends Phillips the most: the Bushes' systematic deceit and secrecy, their shady business dealings, their cronyism, or their family philosophy that privileges the very wealthy and utterly dismisses all the rest. It is clearly all of these things combined. But at the top of Phillips' list is the dynastic nature of their family power, for it is that concentration of power and influence that strikes at the heart of our democracy. Past administrations have transgressed, albeit not so egregiously, and other political families have had dynastic ambitions. But none have succeeded as thoroughly as the Bushes. Jefferson and Madison would be horrified, and according to Phillips, we should be too. --Silvana Tropea

Customer Reviews

Average Rating
5 ratings


Share your thoughts on American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.

Write a review

we need to know more about the people we elect

For those of you one star reviewers that claim that this is just a bunch of lies, go check out his facts. I easily found many of them by just Google searching, etc. What he has done with this book has put it all together so that we have it displayed in one book. This is an important book in that it does a wonderful job of showing us how the Bush family became so prominent and powerful and why it is not in the best interest of this country to have any one family, no matter who it is, in control of so much power. After reading this book it is abundantly clear to me that we, the people, need to look very closely at the people we vote for and those that they represent, again, regardless of party. Don't just believe what the politicians tell us, look to see what they have actually done to support the issues they say they support. This is one of the best books out right now and I encourage any of you that are interested in our country and the history of the family that has become so prominent in our government and how they got to that point. This is a book written by a Republican who cares about our country. It is for all of us regardless of our party affiliation.

Not merely about the Bushes, but about the nation as a whole

I have to admit by being completely surprised by this book. From the title and from reading the dust jacket, it sounded a tad conspiratorial to me, as if it were trying to force a template on history that wasn't there. But Phillips's case about the worldview that the Bush and Walker families generated that determined the policies and points of view and values of both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush is close to overwhelming. I expected going into the book that it would be mildly informative; coming out, I have to say that no book that I have read on either of the Bushes (and I have at this point read pretty all of them) has been as informative and as full of insight as this one. It is essential to stress two things. First, unlike some of the one star reviewers who obviously haven't cracked the book, Phillips means this as a warning against all political dynasties, which was, in fact, a major concern of the Founding Fathers. They were terrified of political families whose influence would extend from one generation to another. And this fear persisted well into the 19th century. Anyone doubting this should read a good biography of John Quincy Adams. Phillips points out early in the book that the Kennedy family was a bit of a dynasty (and would have been one for certain had Robert F. Kennedy not been assassinated in 1968), and he acknowledges that if Hillary Clinton were to run and win in 2008 that would also constitute a dynasty. His decision to focus on the Bush/Walker family derives from the fact that they in fact have had two presidencies in less than a decade, as well as other members of the family holding other political positions (Preston Bush was a U.S. Senator and Jeb Bush a governor). Second, this book is an exploration of many of the ills of the political system. The faults and flaws are not tied merely to the personalities of Bush 41 and Bush 43, but are systemic and run across the political spectrum, and across the political spectrum. Put simply, the problem is the dominance of the industrial-military complex that Eisenhower tried to warn us against (though Phillips would characterize it as the industrial-military-investment-energy-secret service complex). In "Who is an Author?" Michel Foucault argued that the author was a nexus through which all of society produced a book. In a sense, Bush 41 and Bush 43 are merely conduits through which the great conglomerate that Phillips describes with such clarity makes concrete its goals. Even if Bush 43 is defeated in 2004, this complex is not going to go away. Bush is part of the problem, but merely a part.The power of the book derives from the deep background he provides of the founders of the Bush/Walker dynasty. Ironically, although two Bushes have become president, the real founding of the family came on the Walker side. George Herbert Walker, Bush 41's maternal grandfather, is the Joseph Kennedy of the Walker/Bush clan. Every indication is that Preston Bush, George H.

Detailed, Documented and Devastating

A devastating history of four generations of Bushes and Walkers, Phillips' book is also a scholarly examination of how that history forms the policy and decisions of George W. Bush.Early in the book the prudish and moralistic Phillips comes down especially hard on President Clinton, the book suffers a little from a non-chronological approach from chapter to chapter, and there are so many quotes and so much documentation that it required me to take it slower than normal. Still, it remains very readable.Even a political junkie will find a mountain of new information. BCCI, Halliburton, Harken, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Wall Street, fundamentalists (both Christian and Muslim), Carlyle, Enron, the CIA .... the list goes on and on. This family of mediocre - especially in the last two generations - people has made its fortune in money and power through contacts and secrecy, not merit. Gordon Geckos without the brains.People speak of a Kennedy dynasty but, until now, not a Bush dynasty. Yet, as Phillips shows, the Bush dynasty is vastly more powerful, vastly more egotistical, vastly more clandestine and vastly more corrupt.No other book brings together more information on the Bushes, and no other book exposes so much new information. It's truly devastating.

Make Up Your Own Mind

I too first saw Kevin Phillips on C-Span discussing this book. Phillips is a lawyer and former aide to the Nixon White House, and is hardly a liberal flame-thrower. I was impressed by his level-headedness in reviewing, with a tinge of disappointment and anger, the history of the Bush family and its many years of backroom dealings with Saudia Arabia, the oil industry, and, incredibly, the Bin Laden family. (Don't forget, in the days immediately following 9-11, the ONLY commercial flights that were allowed to take off in the US were the planes carrying members of the Bin Laden family out of the country.) This is not a shrill, one-note, Bush-bashing book, and Phillips does not appear to have an agenda or axe to grind. Accordingly, he comes across as exceedingly fair and objective. His history goes back several generations, is detailed and fully supported, and reveals the Bush family's long-standing ability to insinuate itself with, and do the bidding of, the monied class. As others, including Phillips himself, have mentioned, these are not new revelations - it is all public and available information. What seems to particularly gall Phillips is the mainstream media's laziness and lack of interest in pursuing any aspect of this tale. Neither Al Frankin nor Ann Coulter, Phillips is to be commended for this book.

Finally, a writer digs into the Bush sewer

After years of puff-pieces on the Bush family from lazy reporters just trying to meet deadline, Kevin Phillips stuns us all by gathering largely public information to show the lies and deceit of the Bush legacy. From the early days in the military industrial complex to the recent "election" to the presidency...lazy reporters have let scandal after scandal, deal after deal...just slide.If nothing else, this book shows our national press corps to be lazy elitists.

Edition Details

Publisher:Viking Adult
Lowest Price:$3.59
Copyright © 2016 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy GoDaddy Verified and Secured