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  • Book Club - On Corruption in America: What’s at Stake by Sarah Chayes

Book Club - On Corruption in America: What’s at Stake by Sarah Chayes

  • 10 Nov 2022
  • 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Island Recreation Center, 20 Wilborn Rd., Hilton Head Island
  • 9


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From Sarah Chayes, a prizewinning journalist and internationally recognized expert on corruption in government networks throughout the world, comes a major work that looks homeward to America, exploring the insidious, dangerous networks of corruption of our past, present, and precarious future.

Sarah Chayes will speak on December 2, 2022 on our Distinguished Speaker Series.

“If you want to save America, this might just be the most important book to read now." — Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains

Sarah Chayes writes in her new book that the United States is showing signs similar to some of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption, she argues, is an operating system of sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out-and-out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public, but to maximize returns for network members. 

In this unflinching exploration of corruption in America, Chayes exposes how corruption has thrived within our borders - from the titans of America's Gilded Age (Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, et al.) to the collapse of the stock market in 1929, the Great Depression, and FDR's New Deal; from Joe Kennedy's years of banking, bootlegging, machine politics, and pursuit of infinite wealth to the deregulation of the Reagan Revolution - undermining this nation's proud middle class and union members.

She then brings us to the present as she shines a light on the Clinton policies of political favors and personal enrichment and documents Trump's hydra-headed network of corruption, which aimed to systematically undo the Constitution and our laws. 

Ultimately and most importantly, Chayes reveals how corrupt systems are organized, how they enable bad actors to bend the rules so their crimes are covered legally, how they overtly determine the shape of our government, and how they affect all levels of society, especially when the corruption is overlooked and downplayed by the rich and well-educated.

About the Author

Sarah Chayes is internationally recognized for her innovative thinking on corruption and its implications in prompting terrorism, revolutions, and environmental degradation. She has served as a Senior Fellow in Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, and as a special advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which involved participating in cabinet-level decision-making on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Arab Spring. As an NPR reporter, Chayes covered the fall of the Taliban, and then remained in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country. She has authored three books and her commentaries have been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy Magazine, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Atlantic. She is a graduate of Harvard University.


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