Jane Mayer – Dark Money:The Hidden History of Billionaires behind the rise of the radical right. Book Review

Money: The Hidden History of Billionaires behind the rise of the radical right

and Summary

Mayer, a long-term serving prolific staff writer, and journalist for the New Yorker,
convincingly discusses the financial state capture that has ruined American
politics for decades. Right from the first chapter of her book, “The Hidden
History of Billionaires behind the rise of the radical right,”to the last, the author talks about the
few selfish American billionaires who support the Republican Party in every
election with an intention of earning more benefits in return. The book
generates curiosity at first, but later on, it satisfies the reader’s urge to
know more about American political affairs by providing realistic past occurrences
that are measurable and exact. It is a preferred book for review in this course
because of the author’s in-depth analysis of the filth in the Republican Party,
and the way that the operations of a few billionaires affect the lives of
millions of Americans.

25 years now, Jane Mayer has been working at the New Yorker covering mainly the
political news. She is also known for investigative news that unearths the
government’s weak sides and shady deals of the dignitaries in the political
helm. Her main intention of writing the book, The Hidden History of Billionaires, is to expose the rot that has
been deeply rooted in the current American political parties. By singling the
Koch brothers and discussing more of how they interfere with American politics,
Mayer informs the readers of the political privileges that wealthy Americans
enjoy at the expense of the middle class and the poor in American society.

of the book

resourceful piece clearly defines American political power and forces behind
such influences. The journalist narrates how the Koch brothers through their
involvement in the political think tanks and the contribution of millions of
dollars have ruined America’s democracy (Mayer, 2016).
It is worth mentioning, however, that other political parties are not clean or
saints when compared to the Republican Party. The non-fictional book exposes
the real interest of these tycoons in every election that they are involved in.
For that reason, the American political party donations have evolved into a scheme
used by billionaires to negotiate for tax cuts and favorable laws that save
them more money and give them more opportunity to earn cash in return.

also sheds light on the American founding principles that are currently in jeopardy.
The forefathers argued that the political power should emanate from the people
and that the will of the majority should prevail at all costs. The meddling of
a few people in the American political sphere, therefore, indicates that truly,
the elections are not yet free and fair. The original meaning and intention of
donations to the political parties have changed, and it is not about supporting
the good agenda of the political party but serving the interests of some few individuals (Mayer, 2016). Mayer, therefore, talks about
the hypocrisy currently present in the Republican Party, and how the elected leaders,
right from the top leadership positions like the presidency, work hard every
day to meet the demands of a few people who sponsored their campaigns during
the electioneering period.

book also captures well concepts such as civic engagement, activism, voting,
and identity. The author argues that it is the right for every citizen to know
why his/her vote is important. Interestingly, the massive campaigns led by the Republican
Party and other political parties have lured the masses to believe exactly what
the aspirants say. In most occasions, the public would not vote based on the
party principles, but due to the beauty of campaign elements, bribery and
showoff that has become the norm across all political parties. The wealthy
tycoons have also bought think tanks and activities and on most occasions, they
serve their masters who dictate what they share on social media platforms and
campaign arenas. After reading Mayer’s book, it is unbelievable how dirty
tricks have found a way into American politics.

uses simple-to-understand English to connect to the readers. Unlike other
authors who often use technical terms in all their writings, this author
captures the readers’ attention by using normal language to enable them to understand
all the crucial points passed through her text. Her comprehensive analysis of
the class inequality currently present in America is marvelous. In every part
of the book, there must be one or two concepts that a reader can connect with.
Additionally, she has arranged vital points in chapters to ease the reading and
to make the readers glued to her reading. 
Her text is, therefore, organized and appealing to readers. 

of the notable quotes from the book states that “…it was March 16, 2013, and
at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, the heads of
Washington’s most influential conservative think tanks – the closest thing the
movement had to wise men or witch doctors – were gathered on one stage to
diagnose how the election of 2012 had gone so wrong and deliver a cure…” (Mayer, 2016, p.337). This is a favorite quote because
it exposes the role of rich elites in American politics. It shows that in every
election period, there is a group of elites who try as much as possible that
their preferred candidates get into power. Once their preferred individual is
in power, they rest assured of various benefits such as upholding legislation
that favors their businesses and lowering taxes for the wealthiest groups, not
the American middle class. It is, therefore, a crucial quote for the topic too,
because it highlights the deception and insincerity that has flocked the
American political parties such as the Republican Party.


this resourceful and educative political book tells the rot that is currently embedded
in the American political parties. At first, I thought of the book as a biased
piece written by a democrat journalist to tarnish the name of the Republican
party, but upon reading the book carefully, I appreciated the journalist’s
effort in writing a detailed and informative piece that tells more about the
current American political spheres. One thing that I liked about the book is
its objective and robust narration of the current American politics. From the
reading, more lessons are learned. One, the political elites control most of
the American legislations. Two, the American political donations are in most
cases selfish-driven to fulfill the interests of a few insincere business
moguls. Third and lastly, the citizens need to read more of such books to get
knowledge on how politics works, as this would help them in making more sound decisions
during the election periods.


Mayer, J. (2016). The
Hidden History of Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
. New York, NY: Doubleday.

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