156 of 166 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2010
Jesse starts out by telling us his first days as Minnesota's first Independent governor and how he was requested to meet with and answer some questions by those wonderful folks with the CIA down in the lower area of the Minnesota Capitol Building. He is obviously a conspiracy nut (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way) who takes his research seriously and is meticulous. He has said "When I get denied something, I do the opposite of getting intimidated--I get angry." He's determined to get answers. He gives us an insight on the JFK, RFK and Lincoln assassinations, the Dr. King and Malcom X assassinations, and a great American hero whom most of the country has never heard. Marine Major General Smedley Butler prevented some of America's big name bankers and industrialist of what amounted to a take over of the country from FDR. These icons thought Butler was their man to pull it off. Instead, he read the Constitution and effectively brought an end to the conspiracy. I have a degree in American History and I wasn't aware that happened. He deals with the CIA and their escapades. He goes after Bush/Cheney and the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004. He takes us through the Jonestown Massacre. The first stolen election? Bush/Cheney you think? So did I, but he shows us how the Election of 1980 was the first stolen election. His take: "Reagan's people had cut a deal with Iran to keep the hostages beyond the presidential election, to ensure President Carter's negotiations with Iran failed and that he lost to Reagan." 9/11 is not a taboo subject for the former governor. Israel sent two senior agents of the Mossad to Washington in August 2001 to "alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many as 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation." He shows us that our officials in Washington were not concerned enough to take that and other warning seriously. Was there a conspiracy? The Governor's book isn't an "I think it was like this" book. He documents his findings. In summary, I'm glad I purchased this book. It is written by someone who isn't afraid of our corrupt government (whether Democrat or Republican, they're both self serving, each with their own agenda) and who pretty much says it like it is. I wish we had more people of Governor Ventura's calibre who exposes our government's lies and coverups by ssking the tough questions our bureaucrats don't want to answer. If conspiracies are your thing, this book is a must read. If you don't buy it, go to your library and check it out.
180 of 201 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2010
This book is an excellent primer on some of the major political conspiracies in American history, from the Lincoln assassination to 9/11. Ventura's strong suit is avoiding the bogus conspiracy stories that have been planted to muddy the investigative waters and paint conspiracy theorists as a tinfoil hat brigade. Ventura knows those stories get planted by government spooks in the media to create straw men than can easily be torn down. Notice how we have a constant stream of "investigations" into UFOs on television, but nothing of any substance on 9/11? I was happy to see a chapter on Marine Corp. General Smedley Butler, a man who tried to blow the whistle on the Anglo-American cabal that was secretly running the country, manufacturing war for profit, only to be muzzled by Congress. Smedley should be celebrated as our greatest patriot since the Founding Fathers, instead he is virtually unknown. Another story that seldom gets told is how the Martin Luther King Jr. family won a civil case against the government for King's assassination after it was discovered two sniper teams were sent to Memphis that day, and that the bushes the sniper hid behind were immediately chopped down and removed a few hours after the shooting by police to sanitize the crime scene. Just as all the steel from the Twin Towers was disappeared as quickly as possible to sanitize that crime scene. Ventura picked one of the best researchers in the country to help him with this book, Dick Russell. Russell's book, "That Man Who Knew Too Much," is probably the best book ever written about the JFK assassination.
145 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2010
This book simply is eye-opening. The conclusion that I get is that we can't trust the government and what is told and taught is not at all the reality. The research done for the book is outstanding and other than his opinions, they are mostly all government documents and well-reserched material.
Looking at some of the unfounded and idiotic bad reviews on this book, I ask -
Why is it easy to see corruption in countries like China, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba, but so hard to see the corruption in America? I believe it's because of so much brain-washing in Media, Education, and politics and while I love this country dearly, before we realized, we have become a near-fascist country.
67 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2010
AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES arrives at a time when conspiracies, specifically American conspiracies, are in the news now more than they have been in years. Oliver Stone appears on the Bill Maher show with a copy of JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE by James W. Douglass, and the book becomes a national bestseller. Elsewhere, ABC news reporter Chris Bury, at a conference in Philadelphia, labels noted FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley a conspiracy theorist on camera after she critiques the Bush administration's curious activities prior to 9/11. The phrase `conspiracy theorist' is wielded as an all-purpose put-down by some, and unwillingly adopted by others who now question the `official story' surrounding any number of events.
As Rowley noted to her aggressive interviewer, a conspiracy is quite often simply "people deciding to do something bad". People who make such a decision aren't likely to announce it in a press release, hence the logical requirement of secrecy. Likewise, some misdeeds would require more than one person to be successfully carried out, hence the accompanying notion of collusion in private. Yet the idea of two, three or more people in key positions of power privately deciding to do something nefarious is viewed by the mainstream media as an invention of the mentally insane. Criminals might do it, the Mafia might do it, doctors or dentists or lawyers might occasionally do it (as folks from all walks of life are prosecuted for criminal acts every year), but the idea of certain politicians or elements within a government colluding to commit a criminal act is somehow viewed as beyond the pale.
With the vast amounts of power and profit available to those in government, you don't have to buy the premise of every conspiracy theory going to realize that - no matter how big or small - private collusion for personal gain, and a subsequent cover-up by those involved, is going to occur at some point or another. Likewise, there would be few incentives for later politicians to shed light on the events, and many more incentives, both professionally and privately, to keep their big mouths shut. It may all simply depend on the personalities involved. To suggest a hypothetical, can anyone think of any recent, powerful leaders of mainstream American political parties who largely avoided intensive scrutiny by the press, encouraged governmental secrecy, and displayed a notable interest in enhancing their private wealth while in office? Even better - and to extend the argument into areas covered at one point in Ventura's book - can you think of two such upstanding folk, perhaps with a shared background going back some years? This is not to point the finger (if you browse the later book and DVD recommendations in this review, you'll find material that clearly does), but simply to note that the extremes of long-held ideology, paired with the potential for wealth and the accumulation of power, would provide fertile grounds for conspiratorial behavior to be encouraged, rather than reduced.
Ventura's interest in the topic seems both sincere and substantial. Photos of a launch event for the long out-of-print deluxe hardcover of John Armstrong's HARVEY AND LEE (a massive volume discussing curious events in the background history of Lee Harvey Oswald) depict a smiling Ventura holding his own personal copy. A more recent filmed interview with Ventura on the Alex Jones show a few years back concluded with Jones passing Ventura a copy of his documentary TERRORSTORM, and requesting him to watch it. Ventura agreed that he would, and parted with a handshake. Concluding footage of Ventura's car pulling out and driving away revealed, with a zoomed-in shot, the former Governor solemnly reading the back cover of the DVD. (Ultimately, Ventura not only watched the film, but later appeared on camera in an expanded second edition of the movie). Since then, Ventura has appeared in the Alex Jones film TRUTH RISING, debated potential conspiracies with numerous TV and radio personalities, and hosted his own TruTV show on the topic, bluntly titled CONSPIRACY THEORY. The quality of the episodes of the latter that I saw struck me as varying from mixed, to quite good, but not for a moment have I doubted Ventura's own curiosity about the subject.
As author, Ventura could have chosen any number of conspiracy theories to discuss in this volume, but the selected few are compelling and backed up with detailed research. The Wall Street plot against Roosevelt - a very public conspiracy neutered by General Smedley Butler, and now almost forgotten - is covered in detail. The assassinations of Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King are also examined. (As noted in other reviews, the King family ultimately won a court case that suggested the official story explaining MLK's shooting was contrived to cover up government involvement in same). Watergate (a topic thoughtfully covered in earlier books like Jim Hougan's SECRET AGENDA) is dipped into, as are the chances of vote-rigging in the two elections won by George W. Bush, and how the recent Wall Street bailout has benefited a chosen few. 9/11 - the subject of a recent article by Ventura, written on the request of the Huffington Post, then censored by the same site within hours of being posted - is covered in particular detail. Ventura's co-author is Dick Russell, a fine writer of past works on the JFK assassination (such as THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH) who lends a tremendous depth of research to Ventura's gruff, singular writing voice.
Some readers might wish to dig further into the topics explored in AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES. On the assassination of JFK, I highly recommend James W. Douglass's JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE, Philip H. Melanson's SPY SAGA (covering the background of Lee Harvey Oswald), Hinckle and Turner's DEADLY SECRETS (documenting the CIA's use of anti-Castro mercenaries for covert activities), Gaeton Fonzi's THE LAST INVESTIGATION (recounting the abortive House Select Committee on Assassinations inquiry from the mid 70's), and Gerald D. McKnight's BREACH OF TRUST, (studying the machinations of the Warren Commission after the event). On the death of MLK, Melanson's THE MURKIN CONSPIRACY (`Murkin' being the code chosen by the FBI for their investigation into King's death), and William Pepper's AN ACT OF STATE are both exemplary. On the shooting of RFK, THE ROBERT F. KENNEDY ASSASSINATION: NEW REVELATIONS ON THE CONSPIRACY AND COVER-UP by Philip Melanson (currently only available from Amazon marketplace), THE ASSASSINATION OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY by William Turner, and Shane O'Sullivan's recent, extremely thorough WHO KILLED BOBBY? are the best works available, and each generally supports the conclusions and evidence presented by the others. (It should be noted that James Douglass is at work on books of his own about the murders of King and Robert Kennedy).
On the subject of 9/11, (and in recommended order), I'd suggest the key books by the indefatigable David Ray Griffin, those being THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT: OMISSIONS AND DISTORTIONS, THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED and THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF WORLD TRADE CENTRE 7. These can be supplemented with the most thoughtful and comprehensive overviews of the entire event, Jim Marrs's THE TERROR CONSPIRACY, Webster Tarpley's superlative 9/11 SYNTHETIC TERROR, and the overlooked but extremely incisive 9/11: THE NEW EVIDENCE, by British journalist Ian Henshall. Peter Dale Scott's THE ROAD TO 9/11 is a lengthy, heavily annotated University of California Press volume that suggestively fingers two ex-Bush administration members as being busier that morning, with clearly deleterious results, than you may have realized. The major documentaries on the topic are the aforementioned TERRORSTORM: SECOND EDITION, the recent LOOSE CHANGE FINAL CUT and LOOSE CHANGE 9/11: AN AMERICAN COUP, and the disquieting CORE OF CORRUPTION: IN THE SHADOWS. Readers (or viewers) pondering the subject of 9/11 anew might like to contemplate the subject of the various military drills that took place on 9/11 - notably, `Vigilant Guardian' and the other suggestively titled drills re-enacting mock hijacking scenarios on the day of the attacks - and how beneficial they were to the success of the actual hijackings on the day. (General Richard Myers, in a Commission interview, enthused at one point that the drills had actually helped, not hindered, their response on 9/11, presumably suggesting that if the drills had not been present, the US military response - which failed to intercept any of the planes, or prevent any of them from reaching their targets - would have been even worse. The clear embarrassment of General Myers and NORAD commander Ralph Eberhart towards those `coincidental' hijacking drills that mirrored the hijackings they failed to prevent, magically predicted the who and the how and where and when, and fortuitously helped to confuse the immediate response of others, is outlined in detail in Chapter 21 of Michael C. Ruppert's CROSSING THE RUBICON). For a perceptive and sympathetic overview of the entire topic of conspiracy, I'd recommend THE ROUGH GUIDE TO CONSPIRACY THEORIES, a lengthy volume now available in an expanded second edition. Finally, two volumes that exemplify the interconnected nature of much of the above material are Russ Baker's FAMILY OF SECRETS, a Bush family biography (following the exploits of Dubya's Presidential father George H.W. through CIA-linked involvement in Watergate and - possibly - the killing of JFK), and H.P. Albarelli Jr's A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: THE MURDER OF FRANK OLSON AND THE CIA'S SECRET COLD WAR EXPERIMENTS, a recent, mammoth volume that sheds light on much that was once unclear about the CIA's involvement in MK-Ultra, the covert program that dumped much of its documentation following shred orders from nervous, odious CIA head Richard Helms.
149 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2010
STOLEN ELECTIONS, 9/11 COVER-UP, SANCTIONED DRUG-SMUGGLING, JFK, RFK, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - and lots more.
This book covers it all in a thoroughly enjoyable way as JESSE VENTURA &
DICK RUSSELL team up again and spell it out loud & clear in their patented
Think of it as a primer on what's really been happening in America --
written by someone just like you -- too sharp to swallow the "official
version" that's been force-fed to us from our so-called leaders and then
reinforced by mainstream media. And they have a news-flash for mainstream
If it's What Really Happened then it's not "revisionist history" -- it's
What Really Happened.
So -- Buy it, Read it, Lend it, Talk to people about it -- it's important and very timely.
64 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2010
This book is a sound sampler of conspiracies most of which relate to our National Security State as established beginning in 1947, with clinching further developments occurring in the 1953-55 period following the profound rearrangement of the CIA under Dulles. Eisenhower was never short on second thoughts, long before his famous Farewell Address.
Jesse Ventura clearly articulates why these events are the epistemological keys to unlocking the myriad closed doors of our current state of may-as-well-be-state-run media driven society, and the garrison state for which it dissembles.
Dick Russell is one of the finest researchers in National Security State history that we have. His The Man Who Knew too Much, is nothing short of an epic tale of Cold War America and beyond. Never have I read a work so meticulously documented in Cold War history that also happens to move more electrically than any work of fiction. TMWKTM is a book that many have misunderstood, wanting instead some sort of reductive naming of trigge-pullers, instead of a structural investigation of what power really meant in Cold War America.
In American Cosnpiracies Russell puts his abudant expereience to good use, winnowing abundant chaff from wheat. The depth and breadth of his more than thirty years scholarship is absolutely necessary given all the disinformation about these topics.
Without any doubt the next book that readers of this book should read, however, is the most important work of Cold War History published in 42 years. That book is JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. DoussJFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
Former CIA agent Ray McGovern mentioned this as the most important new book on the JFK assassination in his absolutely necessary article which was published in December 2009 entitled "Are President's Afraid of the CIA" In that article-- and another which preceded it earlier last December and which is equally must reading-- McGovern described how former President Harry S. Truman was censored by the Washington Post and later cajoled by Warren Commission member Allen Dulles for making writing an incredibly strong editorial condemning the CIA for becoming, in effect, a policy making, rather than a policy implementing organization.
I agree with McGovern that JFK and the Unspeakable is the single most important book on the Assassination by a long shot.
And so does Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers Fame. This is what Ellsberg has to say about Douglass book:
Douglass presents, brilliantly, an unfamiliar yet thoroughly convincing account of a series of
creditable decisions of John F. Kennedy-- at odds with his initial Cold War Stance-- that
earned him the secret distrust and hatred of hard-liners among the Joint Chiefs of Staff
and the CIA"
Now Daniel Ellsberg knows a thing or two about the CIA and its very own CIA policies in Vietnam. With a recommendation like that from someone of his vast importance in our entire Cold War historiography, it is fair to ask why has this book not received a single review in the Corporate Media.
It has also received rave reviews from the likes of former top aid to McGeorge Bundy in the JFK White House Macus Raskin, Princeton University professor Richard Falk and numerous other academics. But not a review anywhere in the corporate press.
Could it be related to the fact that JFK and the Unspeakable places primary responsibility on the CIA?
The scholarship in Unspeakable is unassailable and nimble. Each chapter has between six hundred and over nine-hundred footnotes. That's right I said each chapter. These footnotes are from top academic sources.
So much work has been done by subsidized disinformation writers to dig a moat around the JFK Assassination in order to trivialize it and cut it off from the threads of Cold War history that run through it in myriad ways. This book bridges that moat. Most left readers of hired JFK bashers such as Noam Chomsky will be very very surprised at what the latest academic histories are saying re: the question of whether JFK was getting out of Vietnam:Yes. I am a person on the left, and I am so often amazed at how little those on the left actually know about US foreign policy of1960-63 period. FOr them there is no JCS and CIA. Its just the President and his little handmaids. Funny how Newsweek and Chomsky seem to agree on only two things, and they are the very things that could win the largest audiences: JFK and 9/11. Sad how virtually all of the scholarship from the best academic history publishers in America such as Harvard and the University of California Press all contradict the Chomsky-Newseek view, but are little known because they pass unreviewed into the blind night of press-pooled America.
JFK and the Unspeakable is the single most important book of Cold War history since the publication of Gabriel Kolko's groundbreaking reinterpretation, The Politics of War, was published in 1968. There is no more important book on earth for the future of the United States than this one.
American Conspiracies shows the benefit of Dick Russell's years of experience and his ability to see beyond the superficial who dunnit to the much more important why done it. This book helps us build a bridge from the spineless media of today back to reality, as in 1975, when The NYT almost every day featured front page revelations on the CIA that today would only be ridiculed by the likes of Olbermann and his completely discredited buddy, who was the author of a book called Case Closed a while back. Today no scholars go near that book with a ten foot pole. Is there a quid pro quo going on in American "liberal" journalism.
If one researches the history of Encounter Magazine, the CIA fake-left disinformation magazine from the Cold War years, this suggestion might not seem so outlandish. The history of Encounter-- as is discussed in such excellent books as The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World Of Arts and Letters by Frances Saunders and The Mighty Wurlitzer (See my review on Amazon) show that often these so called left-shows can paradoxically serve rightist ends because they reinforce common assumptions with the legitimizing stamp of "reason". Often, one learns, a more honest stamp would read "Timorous Conformity."
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2010
As an X-Phile and someone who has always been intrigued by conspiracy theories, I was looking forward to reading this book and wasn't disappointed (though I also wasn't blown away). Jesse Ventura, along with co-writer Dick Russell, explores history-changing events, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln to the Wall Street scandal. Each chapter delves into one of these events, outlining facts that point to government and/or CIA involvement, effectively contradicting what America was (and still is) told by the media and government itself. The theories are backed up by numerous sources and definitely give me pause. Some of these scenarios I've already heard, but others are complete eye-openers.
I'll admit I was wary when I found out who wrote the book, and that is my one sticking point. Though I'm sure the sources are credible, the tone of the writing is almost too conversational and argumentative, and it undermines the seriousness of the book. I'm not a fan of exclamation points, and this book has enough of them to cover the entire library. I'm also not sure about the little blurbs at the end of each chapter; they almost remind me of high school textbooks. I see what Ventura is trying to accomplish here, but we're not morons who need to be told what to do.
Overall, the concepts are great but the writing made it hard for me to follow at times. It's a must-read for anyone who has ever been even somewhat suspicious of the stories we've been fed over the years, if you can get past the sophomoric writing. As Fox Mulder would say: The truth is out there.
47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2010
It's a good thing that Jesse Ventura (along with Dick Russell, his meticulous co-author) came out with this book. First of all, he has the guts to do it--a sort of courage that is all too rare among the types (i.e., journalists and academics) who _should_ be rigorously questioning official lies as he's done here. And it's also lucky that Ventura co-authored AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES because he has the sort of star power that ensures a fair amount of mainstream media exposure (although he'd certainly get plenty more if he'd come out with, say, a tell-all about other wrestlers and/or politicians). So many good Americans will hear a lot of things that they should know.
And that's precisely why this book provokes the sort of snide and sweeping put-down that we see in some of these Amazon reviews (although so far just a few), and that we're sure to hear from mainstream voices, both far-right and "liberal." The point of such derision certainly is _not_ to help us grasp some truth: on the contrary. Its point is to discourage you, and everybody else, from even bothering to read AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES.
So I would urge you to get hold of it, and read it--and, most important, look into all these matters for yourself. I doubt that the book's authors would want anyone just to swallow everything they say (unlike rabble-rousers like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, who _do_ promote "conspiracy theories" without any basis in reality). Read it, and then follow up, both by looking into these forbidden stories, and by urging others to look into them as well.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Former wrestler, former governor, and now host of his own cable TV reality show, Jesse Ventura is also a conspiracy theorist which, depending on your point of view, makes him either a "nut" or a crusader for truth. I call him a crusader for truth because the only people who are not conspiracy theorists are those who sit back and impassively let the government and the media force feed them whatever lie they need to hear to keep them quiet and docile.
In American Conspiracies, Ventura and co-writer Dick Russell examine some of the more notable conspiracies in search of the truth that the media knows but refuses to acknowledge and which the average citizen would rather not know anyway. There isn't a lot here that's new to anyone who has already read earlier books about both Kennedy assassinations (the best of which, by far, is The Assassinations edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease), Watergate, the attempt to oust FDR in favor of a dictator (a plot in which Prescott Bush of THE Bush family was involved) and 9/11, but Ventura has the benefit of a high profile which most conspiracy experts lack, so his crash course on these and other plots (the Lincoln assassination, the Jonestown Massacre, the CIA's role in the crack cocaine epidemic, and more) has the potential to reach and sway a wider audience than more thorough exposes (many of which are cited at the end of the book and are worth checking out).
During his one term as governor of Minnesota, Ventura also gained first-hand knowledge of the shadowy forces, most tied to the CIA, that are sneaking around even in local governments. "Sometime early in 1999," he recalls in the introduction, "I was 'asked' to attend a meeting in the basement of the Capitol building, at a time when the state legislature was not in session." Ventura found himself being grilled by CIA agents eager for inside info about the campaign that successfully sent him to the governor's mansion. Simply put, they wanted to know how someone over whom they had no control managed to slip through the wires. Also, how could they prevent it from happening again.
Each chapter ends with a question - "What Should We Do Now?" - followed by the author's advice on how to take back a government that no longer represents the people.
Brian W. Fairbanks
58 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2010
Don't you just love it when "skeptics" write "reviews" of a book or DVD? They all follow the same Phil Klass-ian pattern. Bash the book, bash the author, (and do it in a childish, derisive tone), but in the end, add NOTHING to the conversation, except maybe some pre-pubertal name-calling. There's a review on here that calls Ventura and his ideas "nutty," and offers...what for proof? You guessed it. NAUGHT.
If these conspiracies are "all" so easily disprovable, do it! Offer a point-by-point-honest-argument for each assertion. Golly, couldn't do that. Call people names, defame, mock, but for god's sake never, never-ever use facts against a "conspiracy theorist." Mr. "go to sleep the government says everything's ok...and by the way, you're not being screwed, that's just an extra-friendly snake I put in your bed," does what "they" all do...offers no proof, save saying that ALL these conspiracies are easily disproven in a mocking, contemptuous whine somewhat reminiscent of the demoralized schoolyard kid with a bloody nose, who keeps asserting, "I whooped him, I whooped him."
Why don't these kids just dry up and blow away? The positive wind from newer and newer voices finding more and more proof is blowing away their sad, scared, denialist grumblings while the adults in the room are trying to get on with a meaningful conversation.