In the best-selling What's the Matter With Kansas? Thomas Frank looked at how his once-progressive native state was seduced by conservatism. In The Wrecking Crew the contentious writer claimed "conservatives ruined government, enriched themselves and beggared the nation."
Now Frank returns to Kansas City for a public conversation with KMBZ's Dana Wright about his most recent book Pity the Billionaire on Monday, October 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Economic catastrophe usually brings social protest and demands for change. But when Frank set out in 2009 to look for expressions of American discontent in the wake of the economic meltdown, all he could find were loud demands that the system be made even harsher on the recession's victims and that society's traditional winners receive even grander prizes.
In Pity the Billionaire Frank examines the peculiar mechanism by which dire economic circumstances have delivered wildly unexpected political results. Using firsthand reporting, a deep knowledge of the American Right, and a wicked sense of humor, he provides the first full diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous.
Frank is a historian who analyzes trends in American electoral politics and propaganda, advertising, popular culture, mainstream journalism, and economics. He specializes in the relationship between politics and culture. Born in Kansas City and a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the University of Kansas, Frank is a columnist for Harper's and a former columnist for the Wall Street Journal.
Wright is co-host, along with Scott Parks, of the 980 KMBZ drive-time show Dana and Parks. A native of Topeka, Kansas, she previously spent 12 years at KCTV5 where she won five Emmy Awards while covering everything from elections to tornadoes to the decision to shutter dozens of Kansas City schools.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.