Pity the Billionaire by Thomas Frank
The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right

66%

15 Critic Reviews

It would have been nice to know a bit more about where Thomas Frank is coming from.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the bestselling author of What's the Matter with Kansas?, a wonderfully insightful and sardonic look at why the worst economy since the 1930s has brought about the revival of conservatism

Economic catastrophe usually brings social protest and demands for change—or at least it's supposed to. But when Thomas Frank set out in 2009 to look for expressions of American discontent, all he could find were loud demands that the economic system be made even harsher on the recession's victims and that society's traditional winners receive even grander prizes. The American Right, which had seemed moribund after the election of 2008, was strangely reinvigorated by the arrival of hard times. The Tea Party movement demanded not that we question the failed system but that we reaffirm our commitment to it. Republicans in Congress embarked on a bold strategy of total opposition to the liberal state. And TV phenom Glenn Beck demonstrated the commercial potential of heroic paranoia and the purest libertarian economics.
In Pity the Billionaire, Frank, the great chronicler of American paradox, examines the peculiar mechanism by which dire economic circumstances have delivered wildly unexpected political results. Using firsthand reporting, a deep knowledge of the American Right, and a wicked sense of humor, he gives us the first full diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous. The understanding Frank reaches is at once startling, original, and profound.

 

About Thomas Frank

See more books from this Author
Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, What's the Matter with Kansas?, and One Market Under God. A former opinion columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and a monthly columnist for Harper's. He lives outside Washington, D.C.
 
Published January 3, 2012 by Metropolitan Books. 241 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jan 29 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Pity the Billionaire
All: 15 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Good
on Oct 18 2011

Why one of the biggest financial disasters in history somehow strengthened the political position of those who were most responsible...An insightful, bitingly humorous book.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Kinsley on Jan 06 2012

It would have been nice to know a bit more about where Thomas Frank is coming from.

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NY Times

Above average
on Jan 02 2012

...Mr. Frank’s more credible arguments here are undermined by his ideological certainty, his reductive logic and his hectoring tone...

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Guardian

Below average
on Oct 02 2012

It is, for some chapters, an extremely depressing read...

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Guardian

Good
on Jan 13 2012

The new populism that Frank describes is a feverish reassertion of faith.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Nick Cohen on Jan 05 2012

There are two reasons, apart from his dazzling style, why Frank is one of the best leftwing writers America has produced. He comes from the midwest and there is a solidity behind his work that one associates with the sturdiness of the American heartlands.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by pessimist on Jan 28 2012

...Frank’s work should be seen as Part I of a series explaining the Great Recession to the future, making the case as to who bears the blame. Highly recommended.

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The Washington Post

Below average

...“Pity the Billionaire” feels like a document from a time already gone...

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
on Jan 17 2012

No figure on the American left knows more about the American right than Thomas Frank...

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San Francisco Chronicle

Good
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield on Jan 15 2012

Almost all of the book's criticisms are aimed at conservatives, and yet the most devastating part of "Pity the Billionaire" might be Frank's use of President Obama's own words to explain why so many on the left have been disappointed with his stewardship.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Good
on Jan 06 2011

...Pity the Billionaire has the virtue of describing how we got to this grim pass in our political and economic system.

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Daily Kos

Excellent
on Jan 08 2012

...you will have few earthshaking moments while reading this book...

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Daily Kos

Below average
on Jan 08 2012

There were times when it felt like he went a little over the top...

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USA Today

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Feb 05 2012

Elucidating Frank's thinking in a brief book review is difficult. He possesses a first-rate mind, but it's necessary to labor in his wake. Grasping, for example, his explanation of how nothing the influentials say is as it seems can be exhausting, even confusing. Frank does not mince words.

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AARP

Below average
on Jan 26 2012

In many ways, events of last fall have conspired to make the timing of Pity the Billionaire unfortunate...

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Reader Rating for Pity the Billionaire
73%

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