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The Flight Of The Barbarous Relic Paperback – March 31, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


George Smith's style is to present one corner or smidgen of his story at a time, rather like a painter who sketches a small part of his canvas in rough, then visits it later to fill in some more . . . --Jim Davies,

From the Back Cover

"Everything possible is done to prevent the fraud of the monetary system from being exposed to the masses who suffer from it." - Rep. Ron Paul, TX, before the U.S. House of Representatives, Feb. 15, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438202547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438202549
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,905,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Ford Smith was born in Buffalo, NY in 1943 and has worked with computers for much of his adult life. As a computer programmer from the late '60s to the mid-'80s, he wrote Fortran programs for transonic wind tunnel tests, authored a program simulator in mainframe assembler for the prototype phase of the Safeguard ABM Project, and developed a popular shareware library for the IBM PC called "Boosters for Turbo Pascal Programmers." Snippets of his Boosters 8088 assembler code were published in Dr. Dobb's Journal and other trade publications.

Smith began experimenting with scriptwriting in the mid-'70s, mostly for the amusement of colleagues, then undertook it seriously when he began his writing career fulltime in 1999. In addition to movie scripts and a short story based on a turtle he rescued from his pool's skimmer, he has written articles on economics, history, and politics for libertarian websites such as and His formal education, which went as far as graduate work in psychology at the University of Buffalo, is largely irrelevant to anything that matters.

In pursuit of less-frigid experiences, Smith left Buffalo in 1979, having accepted a position in computer security with Atlanta-based Southern Company. Within three years he got divorced, remarried, and had twin baby girls. In the afterword of his novel, "The Flight of the Barbarous Relic," he tells the following story:

"When I moved from Buffalo to Atlanta in 1979 and began work for an electric utility, I knew someday I would leave and attempt a writing career. A few weeks into my job I came across a newspaper headline that consisted of the song title, "Gonna Fly Now!" I have long since forgotten the accompanying story, if I even bothered to read it. I cut the headline out and taped it to the inside top of my office trash basket as a reminder. People sometimes lose sight of their goals. I didn't want that to happen to me.

"As the years passed, I took the waste basket with me whenever I switched departments or moved to a different building. A thing of beauty it isn't. It's a black clunker, not the least stylish, but it was the most important part of my office baggage.

"On a July morning in 1999, as I was leaving downtown headquarters for the last time and about to begin my new career, I had the basket in my arms as I was passing the guard's station in the lobby. It was filled with personal items - pictures of my kids, mostly - as if I were moving to a new office within the company. But the guard knew I was on my way out for keeps and asked me if I was stealing company property. I said, yes, I was. We both laughed, and I continued on out the door.

"As I type these words now the trash basket sits on the floor of my home office, the Rocky theme song title untouched after 29 years.

"Yes, the writer is a thief. But maybe he can be forgiven."

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on July 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Forget what party you may be supporting. Forget a lot of things you have been told about how our economy works. Read this book and you will begin to understand things that we have been kept in the dark and lied to for decades by both parties.

First of all this is a pretty good story. Secondly, in delivering the story, the author is trying to shake us awake as to what is happening to us and the result is far from pleasant.

In fact, the protagonists in the story have a sense of futility as to awakening enough of us to what has been done to our economy that seems difficult to oversome.

I was asked to review this novel by the author. I did and I am not sure I was not happier living in ignorance. However, it is better to understand one's life and situation and if you agree with that premise, then please, pick up this book and be prepared to be very, very worried about our econoomy and our future.

The "barbarous relic" referred to in the title is the gold standard which at one time in our history tied the value of our currency to that precious metal. If that sounds arcane or old fashioned, I challenge you to read this book and ever feel sanguine again about your economic status in this country, especially if you feel really, really comfortable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jean F. Risley on July 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Flight of the Barbarous Relic is a completely unexpected book. George Smith makes a fascinating and suspenseful story out of a question some of us have asked ourselves: "Who stole the value of the money in our wallets?" Inflation is a faceless evil, but the author has managed to put faces and motives on the folks behind the phenomenon.

I have been puzzled by the news on the financial networks. One newscast recently said that the price of food had risen in the last month by the highest amount in years, and then went on to say that since there was no increase in the cost of living, some change in interest rates was expected. No change in the cost of living? I used to think you needed to buy food to live, but it turns out that food and energy, two of our biggest living expenses aren't included in the cost because they change too much. You can understand why this whole area can be very confusing.

As the pastor of a small church, I have seen the effects that our economic situation is having on "ordinary" people. One lady who works in a bank dreads going in to work in the morning, because the first thing she has to do is call an increasing number of her customers who have written checks--for rent, for utilities, for food, etc.--and ask them if they can provide funds for the checks so the bank won't bounce them. I have seen families cut back on everything they can think of to make payments on mortgage they should never have been offered in the first place. I have seen food pantry workers trying to fill needs for food for folks who have spent their food budget at the gas pumps in order to be able to get to work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary L. Van Houten on July 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I don't usually read novels very often, because I think that I should be learning something when I read. _The Flight of the Barbarous Relic_, however, is the best of both worlds; it is an entertaining way to learn the truth of how the Federal Reserve operates without having to read a dry text! I really enjoyed this book; I recommend it to everyone. It's a great way to educate people on the Fed. You can recommend it to your book club or hand it to everyone who is wondering why our gas prices are so high.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth R. Rosenberger on June 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
George Ford Smith does an excellent job of distilling the essence of an Austrian School analysis of status quo economics into 277 pages of page-turning suspense. If you're like me, and you read a lot of fiction and history, but can't make it through even the most accessible book on economics (even though you know it's an important subject) without your eyes glazing over, then this book is for you.

Smith provides a trenchant survey of the history of money and banking in America, and then gets to the heart of what ails us at the outset of the Third Milennium. As the plot unfolds in his nifty little thriller, his characters manage to find opportunities to expound on how it all went wrong with the Business of America, when we got off track, who was responsible, and how we can get back to the garden, as it were. Do I need to mention that the prescription is as good as gold?

As if that weren't enough, Smith excoriates our two-party farce, and why they are wedded to this sad state of affairs called the Federal Reserve System. And the ends the powers-that-be will go to in order to retain their power. A chilling subplot envisions how the Internet could end up being emasculated and bowdlerized to the point where it would be as original and informative as the CBS Evening News.

And you would be well-advised to look into the books on the short reading list at the end of Barbarous Relic. If those tomes are a little too daunting, look up some of the more accessible essays by the same authors (Rothbard, Mises, etc). To read these giants is to immediately recognise that you are in the company of common sense. And these are the ideas George Ford Smith is trafficking in Flight of the Barbarous Relic.

But none of this is meant to dissuade anyone who is looking for a cracking good tale to occupy a few happy hours. Barbarous Relic is filled with a plethora of interesting characters, good and bad, and once I started it, I couldn't put it down.
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