Brenda Cooper

Reading Recommendation: Dark Money, by Jane Mayer

Jane Mayer’s Dark Money uses our recent political past to illuminate the off-kilter present. Reading it made made me very angry.  While our country has never been perfect, fair, or completely free of the influence of the rich, the events described in this book chronicle a slow, insidious, and nearly complete take-over the Republican Party by the ultra-rich, much of it in hidden donations.  The book is not about how everyday Republicans are evil, or about how liberals are not evil (there’s some dark money there as well). It convincingly describes the systematic dismantling of the laws that protected us from government by the rich, and the subsequent purchase of our politicians.

Everyone should read this book.

I recently read the science fiction book (R)evolution, by P.J. Manney. I loved the book, which a page-turning thriller and a discussion of transhumanism that rises above the simplistic story that we’ll be perfect after we get more digital abilities. But (R)evolution involves a conspiracy theory among the very rich, and I thought Manney went a bit overboard on that.  I’m not a conspiracy theory-type.  Now I believe that what (R)evolution and Dark Money describe are possible.

Dark Money is hard to read. It’s relentless.  But all of us who care about the collective, the commons, the environment, biodiversity, or just about any other cause that doesn’t directly support making the rich richer should read it.  If we want to take back our future, we need to understand what and who we are fighting.

Of note – Dark Money has over a thousand reviews, and it’s 5 stars all the way.

In case you want to learn more, here is a longer review of the book from the New York Times.