Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Thomas Frank  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: Kansas City, Mo

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Frank Thomas received his Ph. D from the University of Chicago, and lived there until his move to Washington, D. C.

Biographical and Professional Information

Thomas Frank is an American author, journalist and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He is one of the founders and editor of the newsletter, The Baffler, which began in Chicago, Il in 1988.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism
ISBN: 0226259919

University Of Chicago Press. 1997

While the youth counterculture remains the most evocative and best-remembered symbol of the cultural ferment of the 1960s, the revolution that shook American business during those boom years has gone largely unremarked. In this fascinating and revealing study, Thomas Frank shows how the youthful revolutionaries were joined—and even anticipated —by such unlikely allies as the advertising industry and the men's clothing business.

"[Thomas Frank is] perhaps the most provocative young cultural critic of the moment."—Gerald Marzorati, New York Times Book Review

"An indispensable survival guide for any modern consumer."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Frank makes an ironclad case not only that the advertising industry cunningly turned the countercultural rhetoric of revolution into a rallying cry to buy more stuff, but that the process itself actually predated any actual counterculture to exploit."—Geoff Pevere, Toronto Globe and Mail

"The Conquest of Cool helps us understand why, throughout the last third of the twentieth century, Americans have increasingly confused gentility with conformity, irony with protest, and an extended middle finger with a populist manifesto. . . . His voice is an exciting addition to the soporific public discourse of the late twentieth century."—T. J. Jackson Lears, In These Times

"An invaluable argument for anyone who has ever scoffed at hand-me-down counterculture from the '60s. A spirited and exhaustive analysis of the era's advertising."—Brad Wieners, Wired Magazine

"Tom Frank is . . . not only old-fashioned, he's anti-fashion, with a place in his heart for that ultimate social faux pas, leftist politics."—Roger Trilling, Details

One Market Under God
ISBN: 0436276194

Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd. 2001

At no other moment in history have the values of business and the corporation been more nakedly and arrogantly in the ascendant. In One Market Under God, social critic Thomas Frank examines the morphing of the language of democracy into the cant and jargon of the marketplace. Combining popular intellectual history with a survey of recent business culture, Frank traces an idea he calls "market populism"-the notion that markets are, in some transcendent way, identifiable with democracy and the will of the people. The idea that any criticism of things as they are is elitist can be seen in management literature, where downsizing and ceaseless, chaotic change are celebrated as victories for democracy

in advertising, where an endless array of brands seek to position themselves as symbols of authenticity and rebellion

on Wall Street, where the stock market is identified as the domain of the small investor and common man

and in the right-wing politics of the 1990s and the popular social theories of George Gilder, Francis Fukuyama, and Thomas Friedman.Frank's counterattack against the onslaught of market propaganda is mounted with the weapons of common sense, a genius for useful ridicul

What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
ISBN: 0805073396

Metropolitan Books. 2004

One of “our most insightful social observers”* cracks the great political mystery of our time: how conservatism, once a marker of class privilege, became the creed of millions of ordinary Americans

With his acclaimed wit and acuity, Thomas Frank turns his eye on what he calls the “thirty-year backlash”—the populist revolt against a supposedly liberal establishment. The high point of that backlash is the Republican Party’s success in building the most unnatural of alliances: between blue-collar Midwesterners and Wall Street business interests, workers and bosses, populists and right-wingers.

In asking “what ’s the matter with Kansas?”—how a place famous for its radicalism became one of the most conservative states in the union—Frank, a native Kansan and onetime Republican, seeks to answer some broader American riddles: Why do so many of us vote against our economic interests? Where’s the outrage at corporate manipulators? And whatever happened to middle-American progressivism? The questions are urgent as well as provocative. Frank answers them by examining pop conservatism—the bestsellers, the radio talk shows, the vicious political combat—and showing how our long culture wars have left us with an electorate far more concerned with their leaders’ “values” and down-home qualities than with their stands on hard questions of policy.

A brilliant analysis—and funny to boot—What’s the Matter with Kansas? presents a critical assessment of who we are, while telling a remarkable story of how a group of frat boys, lawyers, and CEOs came to convince a nation that they spoke on behalf of the People.

*Los Angeles Times

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule
ISBN: 0805079882

Metropolitan Books. 2008

From the author of the landmark bestseller What’s the Matter with Kansas?, a jaw-dropping investigation of the decades of deliberate—and lucrative—conservative misrule

In his previous book, Thomas Frank explained why working America votes for politicians who reserve their favors for the rich. Now, in The Wrecking Crew, Frank examines the blundering and corrupt Washington those politicians have given us.

Casting back to the early days of the conservative revolution, Frank describes the rise of a ruling coalition dedicated to dismantling government. But rather than cutting down the big government they claim to hate, conservatives have simply sold it off, deregulating some industries, defunding others, but always turning public policy into a private-sector bidding war. Washington itself has been remade into a golden landscape of super-wealthy suburbs and gleaming lobbyist headquarters—the wages of government-by-entrepreneurship practiced so outrageously by figures such as Jack Abramoff.

It is no coincidence, Frank argues, that the same politicians who guffaw at the idea of effective government have installed a regime in which incompetence is the rule. Nor will the country easily shake off the consequences of deliberate misgovernment through the usual election remedies. Obsessed with achieving a lasting victory, conservatives have taken pains to enshrine the free market as the permanent creed of state.

Stamped with Thomas Frank’s audacity, analytic brilliance, and wit, The Wrecking Crew is his most revelatory work yet—and his most important.


Awards

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