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Unger, Craig 1949–

Unger, Craig 1949–

PERSONAL:

Born March 25, 1949, in New York, NY; son of Roger H. (a doctor) and Barbara (a bookseller) Unger. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1971.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. Agent—Amanda Urban, International Creative Management, 40 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

CAREER:

Boston Phoenix, Boston, MA, contributing editor, 1971-73; Real Paper, Boston, staff writer, 1973-75; Paris Metro, Paris, France, coeditor, 1976-79; New York magazine, New York, NY, contributing editor, 1979-85; former deputy editor, New York Observer; freelance writer, 1985—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Shared the National Press Club award for investigative reporting in consumer affairs, 1975.

WRITINGS:

Blue Blood, Morrow (New York, NY), 1988.

House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties, Scribner (New York, NY), 2004.

The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future, Scribner (New York, NY), 2007.

American Armageddon: How the Delusions of the Neoconservatives and the Christian Right Triggered the Descent of America—and Still Imperil Our Future, Scribner (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to magazines, including Geo, the French edition of Playboy, and Esquire.

SIDELIGHTS:

Craig Unger was born May 25, 1949, in New York, New York. He was educated at Harvard University, then went on to write for a number of publications, including the Boston Phoenix, where he was a contributing editor, the Paris Metro, and New York magazine. Since 1985, he has worked full-time as a freelance writer. A politically astute writer, he is the author of several books on U.S. president George W. Bush's administration and on the role of the Christian right in American politics.

House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties addresses U.S. foreign policy regarding the nation's relationship with Saudi Arabia, a country that is a powerful oil producer and has financial ties to the Bush family within the oil industry. In his book, Unger suggests that the financial link between the Bush family and the Saudi royal family is at the center of the ongoing relationship between the countries. He also proposes that U.S. foreign policy has been manipulated to best serve this financial relationship. He traces the history of the relationship, along with the history of U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, and includes details regarding how the relationship might affect the country on a permanent basis. The book, which made for a controversial publication, received varied responses from critics. Jonathan D. Tepperman, in a review for the New York Times Book Review, remarked of the book that "the problem with this kind of conspiracy mongering, which borders on self-parody at times (it is interesting to note that the book was pulled from publication in Britain at the last minute, out of fear of litigation), is that it threatens to obscure the very real problems in the United States-Saudi relationship. Many of America's Saudi allies are corrupt, vicious and more sympathetic to Islamic extremism than to Western democracy. The entire alliance badly needs some serious reconsidering." Patrick Clawson, in a review for Middle East Quarterly, observed that "on a personal and financial level, Unger presents no evidence to support his insinuations of a close relationship. In short, for all the trappings of a scholarly analysis, Unger's account amounts to conspiracy mongering of the shallowest sort." F. Gregory Gause, III, a contributor to History: Review of New Books, related a similar stance on Unger's effort, and, referring to the U.S. and Saudi capital cities, remarked that "what could have been an effective critique of the decades-long alliance between Washington and Riyadh is lost as he focuses on the Bush family."

In The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future, published in 2007, Unger addresses the steps taken by the George W. Bush administration to allow more freedom to the neoconservative members of the Republican Party. Though his own father, President George H.W. Bush, was careful to keep this group of individuals isolated and away from any positions of power during his own term, Bush went directly against the leanings of his father's administration. In effect, according to the author, the Bush administration developed a strongly right-wing, Christian, conservative quality, with an agenda often driven by neoconservatives. Unger analyzes the hierarchy of the Bush administration and the Republicans responsible for getting Bush elected and reveals the levels of involvement of these individuals in conservative organizations or religions. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews called the book "a sobering examination of the twin fundamentalisms that shape the current administration internally—to say nothing of the one it's supposed to be fighting." Vanessa Bush, in a review for Booklist, praised the book for its revelations regarding "the enduring impact on the country of a philosophical separation between father and son." Olga Bonfiglio, in a review for America, concluded that "The Fall of the House of Bush reads like a Shakespearean tragedy. Readers know what is going to happen next. What Unger does, however, is reveal how things happened. The cast of characters is large— and seen on [television] nearly every day as Bush administration representatives. Extremely well written, Unger's book is an intriguing eye-opener to how the shadow government of Vice President [Dick] Cheney and the neocons operates, what motivates it and how our democracy is threatened as a result."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, March 3, 2008, Olga Bonfiglio, "Oedipus Tex," review of The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future, p. 26.

Booklist, November 15, 2007, Vanessa Bush, review of The Fall of the House of Bush, p. 8.

History: Review of New Books, September 22, 2004, F. Gregory Gause III, review of House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties, p. 4.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2007, review of The Fall of the House of Bush.

Middle East Quarterly, September 22, 2004, Patrick Clawson, review of House of Bush, House of Saud, p. 79.

New York Times Book Review, April 18, 2004, Jonathan D. Tepperman, "The Kingdom and the Power," review of House of Bush, House of Saud, p. 11.

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