I'd been looking for some light reading -- something quick -- and thought this was an expansion of Sharlet's 2003 article on Ivanwald (http://harpers.org/archive/2003/03/0079525). As I indicated, I had a personal interest in the topic, and had been putting off reading the book (which I'd never seen). Instead, I ended up with this long, sprawling book on the whole structure of "elite fundamentalism" going back to the 17th cen.
There is very little on Ivanwald here -- and Sharlet seems to think of himself as the James Michener of the genre. The book is MUCH too long (for my taste), and over-written -- it reads for long stretches almost novelistically -- and he ain't no Faulkner. So I found this frustrating. I also should note that Sharlet himself is sympathetic to the project of faith. He's just a bit uncomfortable with the fascistization of it that he is witnessing. And I am not sympathetic to that either.
On the other hand, there is a lot of material here of importance on the structure of American fascism. What I found most useful was his discussion of the absorption of fascist elements and Nazi personnel into the Family during the 1930s and 1940s (ch. 5), and his chilling account of Coe's 1989 lecture in ch. 9. The rest of the book could have been reduced by at last 80%.
That said, the book terrified me. Sharlet makes a strong case for the pervasiveness of Coe's influence -- at the very highest levels of government and business and the miltary -- something I can confirm from anecdote and private communication. Coe's message or agenda, ultimately, is that the nations are made to bow, in obedience and loyalty, to an entrenched capitalist power-elite (sanctified and privatized - that is, any countermanding State will be defanged) in the centuries to come. This elite will operate not through institutions, but through covenants of faith.
It is hard to argue that this has not already largely come about.
This is Jeff Sharlet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sharlet
This is his father: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sharlet_(Vietnam_antiwar_activist)
He also shows how far into all this stuff Hillary Clinton has drifted.
Having just read the book, I then caught this article:
Having just read the book -- I asked questions about this article I never would have asked before (I have no answers).
Who precisely IS this organization she was speaking to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_Democracies
It is official, not NGO...
What, then, are the "liberties" they are trying to protect: freedom of speech or freedom of religion?
Why are all the signatories (or most of them) from right-wing countries?
And why is HIllary involved with such a group....?
I have no answers -- but my nose is starting to twitch.