Review by Emily Wojcik
September 25, 2012
Those of us who watched in mild confusion as the Tea Party became a significant political force in a matter of two years—despite its angry and, at times, incoherent blend of libertarian ethos and quasi-religious placards—will find in Faith Based a welcome guidebook to the wilderness of conservative politics. At once a critical history of the more conservative arm of the contemporary Right; a penetrating sociopolitical analysis of the party’s dismantling of social programs, particularly welfare; and a theoretical exploration of the ramifications thereof, Jason Hackworth’s study is a timely and welcome addition to the crowded field of political tomes.
Hackworth, a professor of geography and urban planning at the University of Toronto, tackles a subject that most of us know very little about—the intersection of neoliberalism and fundamentalist Christianity in the United States—and does so in a way that is clear and very readable despite the preponderance of research (this book is intended for other scholars). I don’t mean to imply that having done his work thoroughly is a problem; it’s refreshing to read a book that tackles a potentially explosive subject so comprehensively without falling back on bombast and snark. But Hackworth’s style is otherwise so engaging that the depth of research can feel a bit oppressive to the more casual reader—one hopes that he might one day write a book for a lay readership. Continue reading