Popular atheist blogger PZ Myers is all excited about a book by Jeff Sharlet, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Turns out the paperback is doing incredibly well, No. 5 on Amazon, perhaps due to a sensational Bill Maher interview that PZ also links to. Sharlet is full of shocking revelations about the sinister Evangelical Christian power brokers behind the National Prayer Breakfast. Can you believe a word he says? No, you can’t. How do I know?
Because several years ago Jeff reviewed a book of mine in the Washington Post. It was a witless review but more to the point, he tried to show he’d read my first book, The Lord Will Gather Me In, and described an episode in it that anyone who’s read the earlier book will remember. But Sharlet couldn’t even read a book, or a read about a book, and report accurately what was in it. He mangled the story in such a way that I appeared to be an insane victim of self-mutilation mania. For the sake of good taste, I won’t go further than that except to say that a lawyer friend after the fact told me I should have considered suing the guy. So FYI, this is how competent a journalist Jeff Sharlet is.