Customer Reviews

278 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review

525 of 558 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book
Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America

French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre said that "words are loaded pistols." In the hands of Russ Baker, they are hydrogen bombs. On each and every page of his masterpiece, "Family of Secrets," he exploses the myths and lies that...
Published on December 18, 2008 by Richard Cummings

129 of 157 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How about 9/11?
The author spends hundreds of tantalizing pages developing facts concerning the Bush's involvement in so many intelligence operations for so many years; he makes "Poppy" Bush out to be a sort of cloak and dagger Zellog who seems to be on the fringes of not only the Kennedy Assassination--which he considers, correctly, to have been a conspiracy involving the CIA, big oil,...
Published on May 20, 2009 by Howler

‹ Previous | 1 228 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

525 of 558 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book, December 18, 2008
Richard Cummings (Bridgehampton, NY) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America

French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre said that "words are loaded pistols." In the hands of Russ Baker, they are hydrogen bombs. On each and every page of his masterpiece, "Family of Secrets," he exploses the myths and lies that powerful forces have perpetratred on the American consciousness. He digs beneath the surface in a form of journalistic archeology to reveal the hidden history of one of America's most powerful families, leaving no stone unturned. Moreover, he names all of his sources and documents the materials he relies on to unmask the hypocrisy behind the myth. From Prescott Bush's ties to Nazi Germany to Poppy Bush's secret role in the Watergate scandal that ousted Richard Nixon, which was, in fact, a "silent coup," to George W. Bush's deceit in launching the war in Iraq, Russ Baker unmasks the truth with a relentless brilliance unmatched by his peers. His publisher, Bloomsberry, is to be congratulated for its confidence in Russ Baker at a time when most publishers are hedging their bets and looking over their shoulders in acts of self-censorship. Baker's revelations about George W. Bush's private life is worth the price of the book alone. Here is Bush, forcing himself on a Danish beauty, stripping to the nude, while getting another girl friend he knocks up an abortion, and then later, as president, opposing abortion and cutting funding for organizations that provide information about birth control. How he managed to get the Danish beauty to go on record, as he does with other key players in Watergate and the Kennedy assassination, is nothing short of astonishing. He traces the true history of Poppy Bush's career, from his early ties to the CIA he pretended never existed while declaring himself "out of the loop," to his strange phone call from Dallas to the FBI on the day of Kennedy's assassination, pointing a finger at a suspect who was in fact totally innocent, to his manipulation of Watergate to get rid of Nixon, is a secret story forced out of the shadows by the powerful documentation by Baker in this tour de force that keeps you turning the pages in asonishment. What he discloses is America's War of the Roses, as powerful families fight to the death for ultimate power. The history of Lee Harvey Osward in the world of wealth, power and intelligence that was Dallas, Texas at the time, is amazing. The anodyne courses in political science and history at American colleges and universities need very much to inject Family of Secrets into the curriculum so that young Americans can be more able to understand what America is truly about as a new president strives to change and reform it. It puts the dots together in a way that makes any further naivety amongst Americans impossible. What he tells us simply cannot be ignored. One can fully expect the Establishment media to go after this book in typical fashion, as they make their usual attempt to cover up what can no longer be denied. Family of Secrets takes to what Cyril Connolly so aptly descibed as the "blood crossroads of literature and politics." After Family of Secrets, neither will ever be the same.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

233 of 247 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tantalizing clues of covert operations, oil and America's position in the world, March 16, 2009
Russ Baker's book "Family of Secrets" takes the reader on a tantalizing journey into the Bush family. Baker's unabashed goal was to answer the question "How did Bush happen?"

As Baker began his intensive research into George W Bush, he found that in order to understand George Jr., one must first look at George Sr. This led him to inquire about the Bush clan in general, raising the blinds on this most secretive of families.

The book is comprised of 23 chapters. Of these, Baker spends the first 16 discussing George H W Bush (called Poppy by those close to him). The remaining 7 chapters are about George W Bush and those in his specific orbit.

Russ Baker makes a strong circumstantial case that George H W Bush was involved in intelligence work long before his 1974 CIA stint appointment. The actual evidence that would verify this is unavailable to the public in general as the CIA does not like inquiries.

Those who surround Poppy Bush seemed to be tinged by covert, intelligence operations. A few examples are: his father Prescott Bush, Neil Mallon and George DeMohrenschildt. The intelligence apparatus that evolved from WWII (the OSS) would become known as the CIA. And many in Bush's orbit were somehow connected to the OSS, the CIA or to covert missions in WWII.

Building upon this, Baker argues that the world of covert operations, including propaganda and psyops, is able and willing to suppress information and diseminate disinformation. The gatekeepers of knowledge tend to have ties to the CIA--including the Watergate journalist Bob Woodward.

The world of covert operations goes hand in hand with the oil industry and the world of international finance. The oil industry has acted as a kind of vanguard for US covert operations. This includes Poppy's oil rigs in the Caribbean that would be the training grounds for Cuban exiles before the Bay of Pigs. To fund covert operations, an intelligence agency needs funding. This is where international financial institutions play a role. The motivation: when a covert operation topples a regime, the financial institute gets first crack at exploiting the resources of the country.

Baker discusses the forces that brought Poppy Bush into the Nixon White House. Prescott Bush, he suggests, was the one who arranged for Nixon to first run for the open Republican Congressional seat in California in 1946. And George and Prescott are visible in the shadows during Nixon's rise to power--Prescott as a US Senator from Connecticut and George as a covert operative in several strategic regions around the world.

During his two terms as VP under Eisenhower, Nixon was in charge of several covert operations. And those in George Bush's close knit circle left their fingerprints all over these operations.

When Nixon became president, the name George H W Bush was considered for the VP slot. Nixon went with his own choice instead. Then Nixon wanted Helms at the CIA to give him all the materials regarding the covert actions Nixon had taken during the 50's. Helms balked. The result: Watergate.

The Watergate scandal, which undid the Nixon presidency, was perpetrated by CIA agents. All the major books on Watergate to come out in the past two decades confirm that Nixon was set up. And Baker concurs. But Baker goes on to implicate Bush as being complicit in this. Bush, along with Kissinger and Haig, was one of the few to survive the scandal. And with Nixon gone, the US got a new president: Gerald Ford.

The Ford adminstration saw the commission of what was to be called the "Halloween Massacre"--the elimination of several staffers and cabinet members who were loyal to Nixon. And Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld oversaw and coordinated this "massacre".

How do you explain many strange events in American history without resorting to covert/intelligence operations? Bush's fingerprints can be found on the Iran/Contra scandal: a covert operation if ever there was one. Bush support for 3rd world dictators (Noriega, Hussein, Marcos) can easily be explained if you look for the web of intelligence.

And riding on his dad's coattails is young George W Bush. Where Poppy went wrong, George W seemed to correct: managing the media to spin all inquiries; politicizing every government agency; handing out juicy contracts to cronies.

Baker's book is filled with innuendos and suggestions. This is its greatest failing. The circumstantial evidence in many cases is compeling. However, in some cases it is lacking. The true value of Baker's research will be seen in the years to come. Future researchers can use his book and fill in the gaps where he was only able to provide circumstantial evidence.

Baker's narrative is fun but difficult to read. His prose is strong but this is not a book to be taken lightly. It weighs in at over 500 pages but reads like a book twice that length. If you are interested in American history, the Bush clan or the power of covert/intelligence operations, Baker's "Family of Secrets" receives my firm recommendation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

267 of 292 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right is still right, even when nobody's doing it. Wrong is still wrong, even when everybody's doing it., December 31, 2008
"All great accomplishments are the products of discipline and the force of will. To write a lasting and important book, a journalist must be relentless in pursuing detail that others have misunderstood or even ignored. The commitment to discerning the facts can never waver, regardless of the obstacles placed before the reporter. We see such non-fiction narratives too infrequently in American publishing but we have a great one before us now in Russ Baker's phenomenal `Family of Secrets.' As an investigator and as a writer of compelling narrative, Baker has created, in my estimation, an almost unequalled standard in political reportage. He has refused to accept conventional wisdom regarding the Bush family and the failed son they made president. There is no way any reasonable person can reject what Baker reports and the conclusions are profoundly disturbing. The reader becomes convinced, page after page, footnote after footnote, quote after quote, that everything we thought we knew about American history in the past 50 years was wrong. I confess that I was prepared to be dismissive. When Baker first approached me about an interview and to offer what little insight I had on years of covering the Bushes in Texas, my reaction was that he was too late and that the public had been worn out by the publishing deluge prompted by George W's incompetence and lying. Why did we need another book on the Bushes? After reading `Family of Secrets' that answer is abundantly obvious: we did not know the truth. I think we do now and Russ Baker has given it to us in a brilliant book that that will be impossible for any sensible American to ignore. I considered myself well informed on both Presidents Bush but Baker has proved that even those of us close to the subject need to reconsider the facts and to do otherwise is to jeopardize the value and purpose of our democracy. As Karl Rove, Joe Allbaugh, Karen Hughes, Mark McKinnon, Dan Bartlett, Condoleeza Rice and the rest of the outgoing administration go about their immoral task of trying to spin a more positive Bush legacy, let them confront the truths as revealed in `Family of Secrets." History will not abide any further distortions of the Bush record and when researchers seek to understand what happened to our country under the Bush family regime, let's hope they find their way to the epic work of Russ Baker. `Family of Secrets' is much more than a non-fiction narrative of political history; Baker has created an historical document that is an act of patriotism for a nation in need of self-examination and the truth."

James C. Moore - Author: "Bush's Brain," "Bush's War for Reelection," and "The Architect."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A courageous book, December 26, 2008
Russ Baker is one of America's finest investigative journalists. In Family of Secrets, Baker tackles the complex story surrounding the rise of the Bush family in American politics. The result is nothing less than a complete and disturbing re-evaluation of American history during the last half-century.

Family of Secrets is a must read for anyone who cares about modern American history or politics. The sections on the Watergate and the assassination of President Kennedy are especially startling and intriguing. This is the work of a bona fide independent journalist, and it puts to shame so much of what passes as journalism these days.

No doubt, the Bush family will strive to discredit this book. But it will be hard to do, because Family of Secrets is so richly documented, with more than 1,000 footnotes.

Family of Secrets is a compelling read, and remarkably so given the complicated story it tells. The plot has so many fascinating twists and turns that some sections read like "The Count of Monte Cristo." Baker also has lively senses of irony and humor that add a touch of levity to the book.

Inevitably, Family of Secrets asks many more questions than it can possibly answer. Many of them are quite troubling. Readers will be left wondering what really has happened to our democracy, and our country, during the last fifty years, and what we ought to do about it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

98 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars treasure trove of conspiracies, December 18, 2008
Larry Beinhart (woodstock, ny United States) - See all my reviews
Russ Baker has done a marvelous job of tracking the connections. The connections - CIA - big money - oil money - with the Bushes sitting on one big fat strand of the web. He leaves little doubt that Bush the Elder was CIA all the way, from the fifties on. He goes far to unraveling the mystery of Little Bush's business failures, and how he could move from failure to failure and continue to profit.
If you have doubts about the Kennedy Assassination or the "real story" of Watergate, Baker has tracked down all the facts and the anomalies and lays them out for you.
For anyone seriously interested in alternative narratives to the official version of recent American history, this book is a must.

The Librarian: A Novel
Wag the Dog: A Novel
Salvation Boulevard: A Novel
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Dashboard to the Engine-- of Power., December 25, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We are living in a time when there is so very little exploration of worlds between nominal power-- the three branches, lobbyists-- and structural power as in corporations and intelligence causalities. The words conspiracy theory are everywhere because there is no mediated "between" world that connects the dashboard and the engine of real power.

In other words journalists are worse than ever, and we are living in a time of propaganda that is arguabley worse than that experienced during the Soviet Union. Unmediated trash is a more efficient brainwash than a party line ever was.

This book is so great because it is about just that "between" world-- between the H.W. Bush the pol, and the sub rosa Bush that was the divng board onto the Bay of Pigs, between the Senate Candidate, and an organizer of The Faceless behind the crime of the century. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It along with
James W. Douglass JFK and the Unspeakable are far and away the two most important publications of 2008.JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. Case Closed>CIA just dont look for a review on the cover of Newsweek. Its up to us to let citizens know, if we want citizens to still exist.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nail in the Coffin!, December 19, 2008
Where to begin to assess the bludgeoning effect of the Bush years on our society? There's the deregulatory maelstorm that set the stage for the current economic downturn; the environmental rollbacks that have opened precious protected lands for oil and gas exploration; the chipping away of our privacy rights and - oh, let's not forget - the state sponsoring of torture. But as a woman, who grew up standing on the shoulders of feminist giants who paved the way for so many rights I thought were here to stay, it has been particularly distressing to witness the erosion under Bush/Cheney of Roe vs Wade.

That is why it was so shocking to read the story of Robin Lowman in Baker's book, a book that deconstructs the complex political machinations that led to the Bush family reign and painstakingly traces the web of oil and CIA alliances generations back.

Ultimate hypocrisy is revealed in this account of the apparently secreted abortion performed upon this woman who was dating George W. It is not the most important part of this book, just one of many stunning revelations Baker unearths. In this "family of secrets" and dark behind-the-scenes maneuvers and entanglements, this is the one episode that most sickened and disturbed me. That the man who would work so doggedly to reverse our rights would have himself sanctioned and approved of and participated in a woman having an abortion (and in this strange and spooky scenario)-- well, it just hammers the nail in the coffin of his reputation for me as I imagine it will so many of my sisters.

If you even wondered, as I have, how we came to have a president like George W. Bush -- here is the back story. Read it and weep.
Baker's book provides the connective tissue to understand this family's associations and strategies, and I would hope, to help us prevent the rise to political power of another one of their clan again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding journalism - A MUST READ, February 3, 2009
Russ Baker's writing is corageous and on point. As one of many of the sources for this thoroughly documented and exhastively researched book, I can attest to the accuracy and veracity of the material relating to covert Saudi funding of the Bush family's political and business ventures. If anything, Baker is guilty of UNDERSTATING the malfeasance of the Bushes and their tag-team lawyer proxies.

When I became a threat to expose these illegal and traitorous secret "business" dealings orchestrated through the BinLaden Family and my former business partner James R. Bath, I was completely wiped out including the loss of my income, savings, business interests, home, medical insurance, personal property, and military retirement. The Houston courts and the "justice system" were literally turned on end in an attempt to compel an innocent person to commit a felony crime! Bush political operatives squashed law enforcement agency investigations of the matter by invoking "national security" as a rationale.

My squadron mates and I risked our lives flying off our nation's aircraft carriers during time of war in defense of the Constituion and the rights bestowed on "we the people" by it. The Bush family displayed its utter disregard and contempt for both the Constitution and my right to due process under law by orchestrating the frivilous litigation campaign that wiped out me and my family. Dubya followed up by bankrupting the middle class and most of the Nation. His tenure as President is characterized by the largest single transfer of wealth in the history of our Country; the beneficiaries of which are his patrons - the Saudis, Wall Street and its revolving door intelligence operatives, oil industry insiders, and the Mob [working for decades now in concert with U.S. intelligence operatives]. Don't believe it - all you have to do is follow the money. Kudos to Russ Baker for his tenacity, literary integrity and dogged determination. The Country needs to read, digest and act upon the information provided in Family of Secrets if our Country is to survives as a Constitutional Republic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying, February 7, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was a child during the Viet Nam War. I grew up thinking it was completely normal for 18 years olds to fight in wars across the ocean, for police to gun down college students, and for Presidents and other "leaders" to get assassinated. It was all I knew. When I was in high school, I read Taylor Caldwell's 'Captains and The Kings', and afterwards, always assumed there was a power behind the Presidency that we did not know about. But until recently, I was one of those naive people who thought that important decision were made in meetings by consensus rather than on the golf course. The first time I was sure that there were unseen forces at play in our Government was when Reagan, immediately after taking office, was able to get the hostages freed, after Jimmy Carter had failed in his multiple attempts.(Back then it was nicknamed "Arms for Hostages" but I never see that title anymore.)

All that said, I didn't really care very much. I didn't think there was much I could do about it. I had other fish to fry. I was the typical American. But I agree with what Russ Baker says in the last chapter of his astonishing and scholarly book (my interpretation thereof) - "W" is so clearly incompetent, so obviously a liar, such a total train wreck, that I started paying attention, and getting more involved politically. Thank-you, Dubya.

Russ Baker has done what could be his life's work in this book. He is telling us a very uncomfortable truth. Things are not as they seem. Via smokescreens and mirrors, lots of money, and murder when necessary, the very rich really do run the world. And the Bushes seem to be part of the grand plan.

Incidentally, this is neither a book on the Left or Right. JFK, for example, is implicated in the book as having stolen his election to President from Nixon by rigging votes. This book is about the power behind the throne, and just how powerful it really is.

I've been watching this site for days. I know the Bush Empire is watching this and other sites closely. They have unlimited means for counter-attack. They might discredit the book. They may interfere with efforts to advertise it. They might load the site with negative reviews. The possibilities are limitless.

But we live in the age of the internet, text messaging, and Facebook. We can get the word out. We do not have to allow this book to sink into obscurity. This is the Truth with a Capital T, and one of the most important books you will ever read. My advice is this - take all the reviews with a grain of salt. Just read the book. If you have a Master's Degree in Critical Thinking, then tell us your thoughts. I think you, like me, will find the truths here to be self evident, if leaving more questions than answers. Such as ...what do we do now?

12/19/2009 Why is the Washington Post review so prominently featured? And who wrote it?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss, January 12, 2009
Darrell Koerner (Boulder, Colorado United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Essential reading in order to understand that the Bush Family has been basically used as a CIA front for the shadow government that over the past 60 years has slowly strangled the American Democratic Republic. From the creation of the National Security State in 1947, to the assassination of JFK in 1963, to the coups and overthrow of democratically elected leaders in foreign nations, this shadow government has destroyed the core of our Federal Government. Russ Baker makes clear that the Bushes have been deeply involved in these deceptions and manipulations every step of the way. Prescott Bush paved the way with his business dealings with the Nazis and George HW Bush has been CIA since day one and was directly involved behind the scenes from JFK to Nixon to Iran-Contra. When the Supreme Court stole the 2000 presidential election for "the decider", the wheels were put in motion for the 9/11 New Pearl Harbor, the illegal invasion of Iraq, and the creation of the Global Terror State. 60 years of lies and defamation of the Constitution have brought us to the threshold of Fascism and the New World Order. The creation of the bumbling self-effacing Bushes from Yale and the self-made Bush oil family from Texas was the greatest con ever played on the American People.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

‹ Previous | 1 228 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.