Claire Conner

Claire Conner

Claire Conner is the author of "Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right," Beacon Press, 2013). Her book was selected by Publishers Weekly as a Top 10 pick for Political Books, Spring 2013. In addition, Wrapped in the Flag received a STARRED review from Kirkus Review and a RECOMMENDED from the Library Journal. The Tampa Bay Times called her book "deft" and "memorable." Numerous readers on Amazon and elsewhere praise "Wrapped in the Flag" as "unable to put down." Excerpts from her book have been featured in, the National and Crooks and Claire speaks around the country about the John Birch Society and the dangers of right-wing extremism. As she says, "Right-wing extremism broke my family. I don't want it to break my country." Claire was twelve years old when her parents dove into the world of paranoid politics, a world dominated by the John Birch Society, an anti-Communist, anti-federal government movement. Her father, Stillwell J. Conner, became a National Council member and remained in top leadership for thirty-two years. Her mother was a partner in all things Birch. At first, eager to gain the approval of her mercurial parents, Claire embraced everything they embraced. As she matured, however, she began to disagree. At first, it was just a whisper here and a tiny "no" there, but every little rebellion made her stronger. The final break from her parents caused tremendous upheaval, leaving a rift that never healed. Wrapped in the Flag is the culmination of five years' work, but Claire feels that her preparation began long before she wrote a word. In 1967, she earned a degree in English (with honors) from the University of Dallas. Twenty years later, she completed her Master's degree in Teaching English from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point campus. For over ten years, Claire was the leader of the Marshfield chapter of Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Life, now Wisconsin Right to Life. She spoke extensively to students in area high schools, to church and parent groups. Her reconsideration of the no-exceptions approach to reproductive issues marked a major milestone in her personal and political evolution. Claire's community involvement gave her numerous opportunities to hone her speaking skills. She has addressed the Marshfield Rotary Club, the Lions Club and numerous church and school groups over the years she lived in Marshfield, and she looks forward to discussing Wrapped in the Flag with audiences large and small. Claire is the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of three lovely girls. "I dedicate every word I write to my family and to all Americans who want to understand what's happening in our politics," Claire says. Claire lives in Florida with her husband, Bob, and their little dog, Conner. Photo Credits: Hank Charneskey
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