Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Reviews-American Conspiracies, World War II: Saving the Reality

American Conspiracies
by Governor Jesse Ventura
I like to look into the hidden nature of things. I'm certain that not everyone on this planet means to do good. And when the same events continue happening (like say political leaders assassinated by lone nuts who conveniently are killed or incarcerated without trial shortly afterwards) I like to look for a pattern. So I am probably among the target audience for this book.

If you think that the federal and local governments and corporations that run this society are too inept, self-interested or selfish to successfully pull off a conspiracy to elect your Aunt Mabel dog catcher, much less start wars and murder Presidents, if you think that anyone who believes that there are evil people in government like there are in any other institution is a "conspiracy nut", if you think that governments and corporations are generally organized and run by altruistic people who honestly have your best interests at heart, then this is most definitely not the book for you. Reading it will raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. I wouldn't care to be responsible for that. Take the blue pill and go back to sleep.

But if you're ready to look into some strange happenings, if you are an open minded person, then this book might be right up your alley. Take the red pill, start reading and prepare to have your mind blown.

I was already familiar with many of the nefarious, and ahem, shady, dealings which Ventura discusses because that's how my mind works. But let's be clear. This is not a book that suggests that some amorphous "THEY" (Jews, Rosicrucians, Scientologists, Freemasons, Mafia, Aliens, Templars, White people, descendants of Jesus, Skull and Bones, etc) are the cause of all evil and are even now listening in to your phone calls, reading your email and blog posts, and looking through your financial records. Although honestly there probably are some government officials doing just that.

No this book takes the literal definition of "conspiracy"  (an agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful or subversive act) and looks at some occurrences in American history and the present day where conspiracy does seem to have occurred, been possible, or is openly accepted to have taken place. We dismiss anyone who raises questions but we have seemingly forgotten just how much acknowledged evil the US government and/or corporations have done. If you had been around in the late forties or early fifties and were writing tracts claiming the US government was deliberately exposing unwitting individuals and communities to radiation or disease, you would have been called a communist or subversive. But we know the government did do that. If in the sixties or seventies you managed to sneak on a television variety show to yell that the US government was running a mind control/behavioral modification/torture program that used former Nazis, few people would believe you. But we know that the government did that too. And we know that the government lied about the supposed casus belli of the Vietnam War as well.

So there is really no reason to take this government at its word about anything. And Ventura doesn't. This book is heavily footnoted. Ventura has presumably used his SEAL, political and veteran status to talk to some people who may not have wanted to speak (and most who didn't want to be identified) and share his knowledge of how the military industrial complex works. But this is no tome. It's short quick reading and is written in a conversational style. It's designed to get you interested and go do your own research. Ventura even suggests further reading.

Conspiracies discussed include but are not limited to the Kennedy assassinations, MLK, Malcolm X, the possible real story behind Watergate, Jonestown, AIG and the Goldman Sachs connection, stolen elections of 2000 and 2004, the aborted coup against FDR, drug connections between contras and the US government, BCCI, and many many more. You may not agree with everything Ventura lays out here. You may think he's paranoid. But when he discusses his own tense and not quite willing "debriefing" with CIA analysts who were "interested" in how he had gotten elected to be governor, you'll know he's 100% behind everything he writes here. And if the fact that Senator Robert Kennedy was shot from behind in the back of the head, while Sirhan Sirhan was always in front of him and couldn't have fired all the bullets that were discharged, doesn't at least make you go hmmm, you need to check your "spidey-sense".

World War II: Saving the Reality
by Kenneth Rendell
World War II was the last major conflict in which the majority of European nations lined up on one side or the other and threw down. It also was the bloodiest war in human history. Fortunately such bloodshed has not been seen since though some people have certainly tried. This war has always fascinated me for a number of different reasons. The war started with bolt-action rifles in widespread use and ended with the dropping of nuclear bombs on cities. That's pretty heavy. 

On the other hand it was a war without satellites, without the internet, without computers as we know them today, with several other technologies that we take for granted now only in their infancy or still considered science fiction. More people who lived during that time are dying every day. In ten, maybe twenty years at most they'll all be gone. So all we'll have is memories, family tales, books and movies. But there are some other things we'll have, documents, letters, and photographs created by the people of that time. And those are, to anyone interested in history, worth their weight in gold.

The book's subtitle is "a collector's vault" and that is precisely what it is. I picked this book up for cheap in the bargain section for $13. That was quite a deal off the list price of $50. But if I had known about it when it first came out I may have paid full price. Well no. I am probably kidding about that. All the same there's a LOT here for the price. The director of the Museum of World War Two wrote this book. Noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote the foreword. The book contains suitably aged looking replicas of letters, photographs, posters and portraits from various people in the war. This includes such things as African-American veteran Prentiss Hill's letters to the woman who would become his wife, Dorothy Hill, (The Hills are especially thanked in the acknowledgements) propaganda leaflets, top secret letters from General MacArthur, wartime cartoons, Roosevelt's letters to Stalin, instructions on how to load and cock single shot pistols designed for use behind enemy lines, photographs sent home by soldiers and many many more documents from the time. And these things are not just laid out with no text. There's tons of detailed text and photographic explanations. French women who married after the Allied liberation had no silk so they had to use wedding dresses made from US paratrooper parachutes. Fascinating. My maternal grandfather was a WWII veteran but unfortunately he's passed on. So this book provided some insights I was too dumb to ask about back in the day.
This is a must have book for any WWII history buff. The museum is located 20 minutes west of downtown Boston and schedules visitors in advance.
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