Rick Perlstein, award-winning author and journalist
“Experiencing this splendid volume is like reading a history book inside out: events you only knew about from afar are revealed anew, with the striking ground-level intimacy of a fine family memoir. I’ve been waiting for a book like this: one that demonstrates the shockingly effectual continuity of the John Birch Society as a force in American political life: from its early days discrediting the Cold War credentials of JFK, to its outsized role building up grassroots momentum in the Clinton impeachment, to its sudden eruption into mainstream Republican thinking with the rise of the Tea Party movement.”
Frank Schaeffer, award-winning author and political commentator
“The John Birch Society had a huge impact on American politics. They were responsible for the lurch into insanity. The religious right, the Tea Party and the takeover of the Republican Party by extremists can’t be understood unless you understand the paranoid xenophobia Birchers injected into America. This book is about a journey through and out of that Bircher netherworld. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle to understanding the madness that overcame America and a moving story about one person’s journey back to sanity.”
Arthur Goldwag, author and political commentator
“Both of Claire Conner’s parents were deeply involved in the cult of far right politics: they knew that Eisenhower was a secret Communist and they idolized Francisco Franco. Wrapped in the Flag is at once the heartbreaking and intermittently hilarious story of her coming of age and a first-hand history of the far right since the 1950s. Filled with sharply-drawn portraits from life of such notables as John Birch Society founder Robert Welch, the classics scholar and white supremacist Revilo Oliver, the political philosopher Willmoore Kendall, her father’s close friend and comrade Fred Koch, and her mother’s great rival Phyllis Schlafly, Conner’s book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the sources of the conspiratorial, hate-filled tropes of the right today—whether they emanate from the Tea Party, the gun movement, race realists, Sovereign Citizens, or, increasingly, from elected officials in the GOP.”
Charles Kaiser, award-winning author and journalist
This passionate, personal history of the John Birch Society is timely and important. At a moment when Tea Party activists have embraced many of the Birchers’ most outrageous notions, Claire Conner has performed a great service by reminding us of the origins of some of most virulent ideas that continue to pollute our body politic. As the skeptical daughter of two passionate Birchers, Conner may be the only person who could have written such a clear-eyed, insider’s account of the persistent dangers of right-wing extremism.”
Americans are afraid. They wonder where the hate, fear, and paranoia that’s driving the GOP came from, and what will happen to all of us if a right-wing Republican becomes president. Most people don’t realize that the ideas we hear on the debate stage are ideas that the radical right has been promoting for 50+ years. My book connects those dots between the old radicals and today’s extremists.
Order your copy of Wrapped in the Flag by Claire Conner, read it and share it. You can help your friends and neighbors understand how the old radicals morphed into the extremists now controlling the Republican party.