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Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' Paperback – Unabridged, July 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Parry, an award-winning investigative journalist, broke many of the stories now known as the Iran-contra affair, including the first story about Oliver North's secret network and the first story about Nicaraguan contra-cocaine trafficking. While working for The Associated Press, Newsweek and PBS Frontline, Parry covered the political intrigue of Washington and international hotspots from Iran to Haiti, from Israel to Nicaragua.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

There is a cynical old saying that the victors write the history. For those of us brought up on Westerns that made the Indians the aggressors and the U.S. cavalry the peacekeepers, we know there's something to that. But it is one of the ironies of the long Cold War that it is the American people -- the supposed victors -- who are seeing their own history sanitize d and miswritten. Even as the archives of ex-communist nations are opened, ev en as truth commissions wring the painful reality out of ex-rightist regimes, the American people are the ones most thoroughly kept in the dark about the unsavory secrets of the past half century. Without doubt, the conventional history is more comforting, less troubling, the American government making the right decisions or at least ones justified by the exigencies of a long struggle against a ruthless enemy. To encounter the secret history is disturbing, unnerving. It comes with a sense of vertigo, the uneasy discovery that what one assumed to be true might not be. The secret history is a challenge. It is the unpleasant reality that exists beneath the surface of our time. It also is a history in danger of being lost, possibly forever. With a national news media absorbed by tabloid journalism and disinterested in serious research, many U.S. operatives who prosecuted the Cold War are agin g and passing away without their experiences being recorded. Other times, the glut of trivial information obscures the pieces of valuable evidence that do enter the public domain. At least in the near term, our understanding of this recent era -- and our nation's role in it -- is way off the mark. It is as if the final price for winning the Cold War is our national confinement to a permanent childhood, where reassuring fantasies and endless diversions shield us from the hard truth of our own recent history...

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Media Consortium; 1 edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893517004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893517004
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Edit of 21 Dec 07 to add links.

This book is a real gem. It outlines a tale of both corruption and ideological mendacity within the White House, and of ignorance and unprofessionalism with the Directorate of Operations in the Central Intelligence Agency. As one who served on the Central American Task Force at the time, and as a clandestine case officer focused on these matters, I find it especially fascinating that I, from the inside, was truly unaware of the degree to which we were engaged in direct support to a band of contras characterized by drug-running, money-laundering, corruption, rape, torture, routine murders, and perhaps worse of all, total incompetence and ineffectiveness.

There are two aspects of this book that truly stand out for anyone who is committed, as I and most CIA employees are, to the concept that "the truth shall make you free."

First, as the title suggests, there is a "lost history" that is unavailable to the American people. The author is not alone in making this charge. The editors of the history of the Department of State have on several occasions complained, both publicly and privately, that an accurate history of the foreign relations of the United States of America cannot be written without more complete disclosure of our various covert operations. Indeed, Derek Leebaert's book The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World, Jim Bamford's book
...Read more ›
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129 of 137 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book convincingly explains how the wheels came off of American democracy in the decades following WWII. Many conservatives decry revisionist history. This book shows with power and eloquence that no American citizen can afford to accept conventional history as supplied by the US media. Robert Parry has lived and breathed Iran-Contra since he broke the story as an AP reporter in the mid-80s. Utilizing media reports, DEA reports, declassified CIA reports and named and unnamed inside sources he shows how the Reagan administration devastated Central America and facilitated large scale importation of drugs into the US to finance Contra operations against Nicaragua. This is the most fascinating and important book I have read this year. It is essential reading for anyone who values democracy and has the courage to face recent US history and work for change.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on October 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Robert Parry is a reporter with a wealth of experience who combines knowledge with investigative expertise and a bedrock courage to find the truth and faithfully report it. Here is the reporter who uncovered the illegal government operation of Oliver North in the National Security Council office, which violated federal law by providing weapons, manpower, and logistical advice to the Contras in Nicaragua. The government did its best to smear the Associated Press and later Newsweek reporter, painting him as unreliable and a man with his own agenda, but ultimately the truth won out.
Parry brilliantly documents what the Contras were really all about. The so-called Nicaraguan freedom fighters which President Ronald Reagan referred to as "the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers" were instead involved in a major drug networking operation, aided by the CIA. The result was that scores of youngsters in South Central Los Angeles became drug addicts as they moved their operations into America while battles waged among young gang members over turf control. When Senator John Kerry sought to expose what was happening he too was denounced as a troublemaker operating against America's best interests.
Parry tells about what political correctness really is, and it is far removed from what is depicted by right wingers seeking to pin the tag on liberal critics. To Parry this correctness takes the form of barking on cue in alliance with and as supplicants to the major commercial interests which hold sway not only over those in political power, but on the media itself. His efforts to exercise independence of judgment were accompanied by negative reactions from powers in the media as well as Washington operatives. All the same he prevailed, and hopefully he and others will continue telling their stories despite the fervent efforts to silence them.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Hughes on December 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is fabulous. I have read much of the literature surrounding the Iran-Contra operation and this is one of the best. Parry was a leader in exposing that operation, as well as so many others. Here he leads readers through the many attempts of the government to control the information we receive. Anyone who dismisses this as mere "conspiracy theory" obviously never read the book (and so many others that are backed up by the govt's own documents). Parry is no armchair reporter. He has personally spoken with countless sources involved in these operations. Do yourself a favor. Buy the book and make up your own mind.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Despite some flaws in the writing style, this book is a terrific read.

It provides an insight into the 'hidden truth' and 'lost history' that remains unknown.

Neither a conspiracy theory nor unproven, this book highlights the obscene lack of attention given by the press to the government admissions of culpability in the Iran-Contra affair.
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