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Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative [Paperback]

David Brock
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (342 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 25 2003
In a powerful and deeply personal memoir in the tradition of Arthur Koestler’s The God That Failed, David Brock, the original right-wing scandal reporter, chronicles his rise to the pinnacle of the conservative movement and his painful break with it.

David Brock pilloried Anita Hill in a bestseller. His reporting in The American Spectator as part of the infamous “Arkansas Project” triggered the course of events that led to the historic impeachment trial of President Clinton. Brock was at the center of the right-wing dirty tricks operation of the Gingrich era–and a true believer–until he could no longer deny that the political force he was advancing was built on little more than lies, hate, and hypocrisy.

In Blinded By the Right, Brock, who came out of the closet at the height of his conservative renown, tells his riveting story from the beginning, giving us the first insider’s view of what Hillary Rodham Clinton called “the vast right-wing conspiracy.” Whether dealing with the right-wing press, the richly endowed think tanks, Republican political operatives, or the Paula Jones case, Brock names names from Clarence Thomas on down, uncovers hidden links, and demonstrates how the Republican Right’s zeal for power created the poisonous political climate that culminated in George W. Bush’s election.

Now in paperback and with a new afterword by the author, Blinded By the Right is a classic political memoir of our times.

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From Amazon

David Brock made his name (and big money) by trashing Anita Hill as "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty." But it was Brock's reporting that was nutty and slutty, he confesses in the riveting memoir Blinded by the Right. He absolves Hill; claims he helped Clarence Thomas threaten another witness into backing down; portrays a ghastly right-wing Clinton-bashing conspiracy of hypocrites, zillionaires, and maniacs; and accuses himself of being "a witting cog in the Republican sleaze machine." Now Brock is sliming his former fellows--everyone from the lawyer who argued the Bush v. Gore case to gonzo pundits Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham ("the only person I knew who didn't appear to own a book or regularly read a newspaper") to Matt Drudge and Tom Wolfe. Brock excoriates the gay hypocrites of the right wing, including himself, and tells how he cleverly spun his own outing. (He calls himself "the only openly gay conservative in the country," evidently forgetting about the far more open and famous Andrew Sullivan.)

If Brock says he was a liar for much of his life, how do we know he's not lying now? Blinded by the Right is less addicted to anonymous and third-hand sources than the madcap character assassinations that made him famous, and it is infinitely more plausible. But that doesn't make it necessarily true. (Anita Hill's lawyer has acidly observed that Brock confessed his Hill-related lies after seven years, when the statute of limitations prevents suing for slander.) Dumped by the right after he wrote a non-hatchet-job book on Hillary Clinton, Brock profits by running to the arms of the center and left. But that doesn't make this book untrue. All I can tell you is you'll have to read it and decide for yourself. And I'll bet you'll admit this mea-culpa memoir has the revolting, irresistible fascination of a bad car wreck. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

When Brock (The Real Anita Hill; The Seduction of Hillary Rodham) was a freshman at the University of California at Berkeley in 1981, his political idol was Bobby Kennedy. Four years later, he was a committed conservative who idolized Oliver North and Robert Bork. In this book, Brock chronicles the political round trip back to his more liberal roots. Along the way, he earned the adoration of the extreme right, even after he acknowledged that he was gay, because he worked feverishly as a writer for conservative publications such as the Washington Times and American Spectator, promoting and validating conservative causes. An American Spectator article in early 1994 broke the "Troopergate" scandal and laid the groundwork for the Paula Jones suits against President Clinton, but Brock says he was troubled by the relentless investigations of the Clintons and came to regret his part in them. Eventually, the shallowness of his relationship with the conservatives forced him to make a final break in 1997. Although readers may doubt the sincerity of Brock's latest conversion, the book offers a revealing inside look at the conservative media and provides a careful chronicling of the investigations of the Clintons. Recommended for media studies and political science collections and for larger public libraries. Jill Ortner, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Bobby Kennedy was my first political hero; his legend helped shape my early social conscience. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kafkaesque Hate Trip July 5 2004
Format:Hardcover
This book gets five stars for the list of names it drops, and I get five for actually making it to the last page without vomiting once. Brock gives us a guided tour of the hate matrix from the top down. Bizarre freaks like Rupert Murdoch, Sun Moon, and Richard Scaife bleed influence and money into a rat maze crowded with legions of hungry rodents thoroughly purged of principal and hungry to feed. And feed they do, on everything from the self-esteem of a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, to the tentative and twisted lies and fantasies of a bunch of power junkies, gold diggers, hillbillies, sociopaths, and miscreants, all floundering around together like pigs in a sty.
Brock and his buddies attended the delivery of the current Rosemary's Baby of a presidential administration that we currently cower under in a state of near-perpetual fear and utter victimhood. He appears to repent as it twitches away in its black cradle, but his confessions and regrets are little more than weak platitudes, and the author's core personal defects are neither explored nor resolved here in any meaningful way. At the bitter end, I was left with a haunting feeling that endures. The book is billed as an autobiography, but the interior world of its author is either heavily guarded or nonexistent. Who is this guy, and who abducted his soul? Certainly not the Berkeley anarchists who angered him, or his neocon professor friends who mentored him - no comic book activists or university faculty could ever warp a smart guy like this to such an extreme. Don't crack this book expecting anything but solid concrete - it's nothing more than a running diary describing who he screwed, how hard he screwed 'em, and his resulting ample compensation. That's what you get, but you get a LOT - perhaps more than you can take.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Needs More on the Ladies! June 21 2004
By Aaron
Format:Paperback
If you need to know, Brock tells how disgusting the right wing is. Reagan put a happy face, unity, and some civility on it all, but when Daddy left, the "kids" started to lose it. Gingrich and so many others could throw bombs, but couldn't lead. Nope. Brock found himself fronting and digging dirt for this wingnut crowd, after (understandably) shying from and countering ultra-PC lefties in college. So Brock went Reagan's direction in formative years, like so many others his age. And then... well, Brock tells the story best... and I can't think of a more encompassing history of 1990's politics. The story is dark, and if you're too alert you'll keep questioning Brock's initial motives for the book, and how he spins his tales in his book. (Especially after Bill Clinton's performances - with fingers to chest -, this reader is cynical toward apologies). But, if you lay back and give Brock the benefit of doubt (at least until you finish the book), it's a good read about 90's right-wing politics, tactics, $$$$, careerism, "friendships" of convenience, and hypocrisy, not in that particular order. When I finished the book (which is hard to do -- just keep plowing through it; the info and perspective *is worth it*) I actually felt for Brock (and I don't *think* I'm a bleeding heart :-). Brock's arc and inside perspective are wholly unique. Is this book a new Whittaker Chambers' (who left the communists and spoke up) "Witness" for the *left*? A little, maybe?
Anyway, I'm pretty conservative, and learned a lot. Brock's is a hard book to get through, but I'll never view the 90's (Newt, Clinton, all media) the same again. Oh yeah, back to my review title: Brock tells of his relationships with right-wing queens Arianna Huffington, Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter. More details next time! Do they like to play quarters? Caps?! Keggers or wine boxes?
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3.0 out of 5 stars From an historical perspective its good, but... May 10 2004
Format:Paperback
This is a good book for what it puts into context as opposed to how it was written or what the author confesses about his own life.
David Brock identifies and describes how the right wing echo chamber grew from infancy during the Reagan years and hit critical mass with unsubstantiated reports and ruthless allegations during the Clinton years. He even underscores how Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing, and the sour grapes that followed, lead to his villifying Anita Hill, the Clintons, and anyone else who dared to go against conservatism in the slightest (he makes it a point to argue Bush Sr. was never really trusted by the conservatives).
However, he places too much irrelevant personal reference into the story and his storytelling isn't always coherent or concise.
The story itself has more in line with Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair concerning the importance of proper journalism techniques than it does with political discourse--he doesn't argue who was right or wrong, only that he himself willingly chose a side and slandered those that went against it. To that end, it serves as a mea culpa in the same vein as Blair's or Glass's novels rather than an affirmation as to which side has the better argument. For Dems it verifies what many already knew and for GOPers it is the confession of a person who lost the faith.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, to say the least April 17 2004
Format:Paperback
I really don't know much about any or all of the players that David Brock has mentioned in his book aside from what I have seen on television ocassionally, but at times, he gave me the impression of a Hollywood name dropper. After reading this book, I am still not sure if he is sincere and feel truly sorry about all the bad things that he has done as a "right wing political assassin" and to all the people that he has hurt. Why? Well, what was his punishment? Did he go to jail, did he get fined? The worst thing that seem to have happened to him is switching party and parties. He laments how he wasn't invited to the usual parties anymore and that he was ideologically kicked out of the conservative movement after he drifted away from the political right. Didn't he get a clue that "these people" were not his people, knowing about his homosexuality that these right wingers are basically hard core christian nut jobs?? (Well, we still have Camille Paglia) that would soon see him burn in hell becuase of his sexual preference? That should have been a clue that he didn't belong there? I din't buy everything about this book, but I really enjoyed reading it for the simple reason that it was well written. I like his style of writing and he keeps the story moving right along. I was blown away on how little lies and inuendos can turn into a national head liners given that the right people control the media and the flow of information that we recieve as regular citizens. I also had this giddy pleasure of knowing that these talking heads, blonde bimbos, of the right are nothing but unsophisticated, hanger-ons and the only reason why they are given the time of day is that "it's cool to have young, blonde women screaming and tauting the same Hooey that a redneck militiamen are screaming about. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING - a fantastic account of the clinton wars
Brock comes clean and writes a fantastic account of the late 80s and 90s war between the Right and the Left. Read more
Published on May 22 2004 by J. Fischer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing insight into the dirty politics of the right
I just finished reading this book . . . I stayed up to 5 a.m. last night finishing the book because it was so riveting. Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by D. Johansen
5.0 out of 5 stars (4.5/5) Compelling Expose of Right-wing Slander
This is an extremely readable book that I found difficult to put down. Mr. Brock draws the reader in by making a national movement personal and intimate rather than trying to tell... Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by Sarah Bellum
4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed look at things as they were
First of all, let me deal with the things I thought were bad about the book. There's no index or references in the book. Read more
Published on April 9 2004 by Jim Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible Account
I believe David Brock's account in, "Blinded By The Right." He became alienated by the radical left and fell in with conservatives while a student at UC Berkley. Read more
Published on April 2 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars The Real David Brock.
Last weekend I finally had a chance to read David Brock's infamous Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative and was underwhelmed to say the least. Read more
Published on March 29 2004 by Bernard Chapin
4.0 out of 5 stars It worked for me
After having read a good number of books in the "Franken vs. O'Reilly" genre, I found Brock's book engrossing not just because of the politics involved, but because the... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Pablo Bridges
2.0 out of 5 stars Revelation as History; Confession as Therapy
David Brock provides an "insider" look at the so-called right wing conspiracy that apparently is still lurking in the shadows. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2004 by Avid Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Laughable
This guy has lost all sense of balance and intellect. He has already joined the trash heap of literary history.
Published on Jan. 24 2004 by David S. Rhodes
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