Cover image for American monsters : 44 rats, blackhats and plutocrats
American monsters : 44 rats, blackhats and plutocrats
Publication Information:
New York : Thunder's Mouth Press, c2004.
Physical Description:
xv, 377 p. ; 21 cm.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Book E840.6.A547 2004 1

On Order



Among our most celebrated and notorious Americans, these monsters are the corrupt, greedy, power-mad, and vicious betrayers of the dreams of fair play and equal opportunity, the practitioners of a catalog of anti-democratic vice: from anti-Semitism and union-busting to racism and murder. Organized in Dantesque circles, American Monsters remembers history a little differently than it is taught in school. Indian exterminator President Andrew Jackson, Jew-baiting propagandist Henry Ford, and nearly forty other malefactors whose evil cores have been relegated to footnotes, are brought to account. From Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Roger Taney, to robber barons and captains of industry like Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie; from Ezra Pound and Col. Tom Parker to cops and criminals like Alan Pinkerton and Charles Manson, American Monsters is provocative and entertaining history that you won't read anywhere else. With specially commissioned essays by veteran chroniclers such as Pete Hamill, Jimmy Breslin, Ishmael Reed, Steve Earle, Danny Schechter, Nat Hentoff, James Ridgeway, Joe Conason, Michael Wolff, Danny Goldberg, Will Blythe, and Legs McNeil, this collection of national malfeasance--edited by award-winning columnist Jack Newfield--holds up a dark mirror to the national character.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The most despicable Americans of all time--from politics, sports, religion, letters, science, business, and, of course, crime--are named, then fully denounced in this collection of 44 essays by 41 writers, including Nat Hentoff, Ishmael Reed, and Christopher Hitchens. Some of the chosen: John Wilkes Booth, Ty Cobb, Colonel Tom Parker, Charles Manson, O. J. Simpson, Joseph McCarthy, and J. Edgar Hoover. The viewpoint tends to be left of center, so it's not a surprise to find George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, William Bennett, and Henry Kissinger. Readers, though, might be surprised to find Billy Graham (he restored Protestant fundamentalism to its central place in American life ), Henry Ford (cited for virulent anti-Semitism), and Thomas Edison (accused, among other things, of obtaining dogs from the ASPCA for electrocution experiments). As a sort of addendum, the editors go after the Reverend Al Sharpton, Stephen Spielberg (!), and Jane Fonda. Largely unleavened by humor, this ill-tempered collection of essays--specifically commissioned for the occasion--will both offend and delight, depending on the reader's point of view. --Alan Moores Copyright 2004 Booklist