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UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe Kindle Edition

92 customer reviews

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Length: 240 pages

"As If!: The Oral History of Clueless"
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Editorial Reviews Review

Are you the least bit curious about the JFK mystery, UFOs, and the conspiracy theories that swirl around them like dust devils? If so, don't miss out on Richard Belzer's immensely entertaining, impishly irreverent audio monologue on his twin enthusiasms. (Elvis doesn't really figure in Belzer's spiel. He just put him in there because whenever he cast doubt on the Warren Commission or government denials of UFOs, people would say, "Yeah, and you probably believe Elvis is still alive," which isn't true.) Belzer played the conspiracy-obsessed Detective Munch on TV's Homicide and other shows so convincingly because he is obsessed. He's working on a TV adaptation of the ideas in The Big Book of Conspiracies.

Belzer's snarky, film noir voice is a national treasure, and his jaunty, paranoid rap is punctuated with 200 sound effects: musical cues, rifle shots, and a little noise that signals one of Belzer's delightful "factoids." A factoid is an item of interest, such as Belzer's allegation that the bullets recovered from the cop allegedly shot by Oswald don't match Oswald's gun. He also cites the actual U.S. law that forbade sex with aliens. No joke! Belzer started out as a snarling standup comic, and few can match his way with a monologue. His delivery doesn't merely drip with sarcasm, it's positively drenching. He may or may not convince you that Gerald Posner's Oswald-did-it book Case Closed is bull, but he will definitely make you laugh. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes)--Tim Appelo

From Publishers Weekly

Television actor Belzer (he played Detective John Munch on Homicide) began his career as a comedian, working in the same dark political vein as Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory. He brings this skeptic's tone to his discussion of the questions raised by popular American conspiracy theories: Who really killed President Kennedy?, Do UFOs exist? and the ilk. Reading, he comes across as a friendly guy with a healthy anti-authority streak. He poses himself as a people's advocate, at one with all the loonies who believe the U.S. government is involved in cover-up upon cover-up. Much of the program is devoted to attacking the facts of the Kennedy assassination. He makes light of all the loose ends and contradictions (to the occasional sound effect of a whizzing bullet). Later, he discusses whether the Apollo space program was a sham, then delves into the even more far-fetched topic of sex with aliens (he calls it "intergalactic buggery"). Here, he finally sheds his high-handed tone and allows himself to become downright giddy in his conjectures. Based on the 1999 Ballantine hardcover. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 448 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; New edition edition (September 4, 2009)
  • Publication Date: September 9, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002NXORD8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,701 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "stoically" on June 5, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much from this book when I bought it. I thought it would just provide a pleasant diversion during a long drive. (And, yes, I'm talking about the audiobook version. Reading while driving is just plain wrong, kids.) I didn't think a comedian/actor would have a proper understanding of the topics presented. Of course, I also never used to question such supposedly august institutions as the U.S. Department of Justice or The New York Times. It was a silly prejudice; Belzer is very knowledgeable. The references peppered throughout convinced me of this. The Belz provides an overview of various conspiracies that has surprising depth. In addition, the writing is very concise and powerful. I didn't find a dull moment in the entire book. And, even though the book would stand well on the organization of information and the excellent writing, the humor really helps put it above the standard conspiracy primer. It's not too over-the-top and not too desperately cynical. (The conspiracy rap at the end is a true masterpiece.) Get it and let the information work its way, unsettlingly, into your storehouse of popular delusions. Or scoff and go back to sleep like the rest of the sheep...but don't forget to keep laughing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
When I first saw this title I thought that Richard Belzer had written a funny book filled with witty musings about little green men and movies in which Kevin Costner has a bad haircut." Belzer has made a turn toward the dramatic with his portrayal of detective John Munch in "Homicide" and "Law & Order SVU", a role he has had since 1993. However, this is still the same guy that was in the 1988 classic "The Wrong Guys". I was in no way prepared for what I was about to read.

Within the first few pages I was reading details about claims of heinous atrocities and government conspiracies. This was not the lighthearted work that I expected. From the very beginning, Belzer makes his goal clear. He urges the reader to "seek out suppressed evidence ... interpret independently everything you hear, read, and even what you see ... question authority."

Even if you are not a conspiracy theory enthusiast, it is hard not to get caught up in the unexpected depth of Belzer's research and his insights on the JFK assassination and alien visitors. I wasn't exactly "transformed from a cheerful trusting soul with unflagging faith in the powers that be into a suspicious, angry skeptic and cynic that can't sit through a 30-second news teaser," as Belzer promised, but reading the book has made me think and look at the situations in question in a new light.

For those who are not big on conspiracy, the information is presented in a way that would make even Lee Harvey Oswald chuckle. The book is both informative and entertaining, with sections with names such as "The Fluke of Earl" and "Just a Simple Nightclub Owner with a Dream". This book had me laughing one moment and somewhat scared the next. If you are not familiar with Belzer's comedy routine or acting, you might not appreciate this book as much as if you were. It makes it easier to tell when Belzer is joking around and when he is serious.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I love this book! It's a wonderful way to make your senses just a little more paranoied. Through this book, Belzer remains funny. Which is what I like about Richard. This book is involved, and some may find it weird or inappropriate, if you can't deal with something that might take away some light form your happy-go-lucky world, don't read it. If you're going to read it, and you find it offensive, it's your own fault, you should know better than to read something that looks like you might be a little shaken by. If you're going to read it, read it because you have some interest in what Belzer is saying, or Belzer himself. I read it becasue I am a fan of his, and wanted to see what he was getting paid to ramble about, and I am very glad I did. It's an informative and really funny book, so if you're not the most content person with the government, this book would probably be a good one for you.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By One Fancy Angel on September 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Can a mere mortal be a hilarious stand-up comedian, a marvelous actor in drama, AND a magnificent writer? In Richard Belzer's case, the answer is yes...AND he is married to a beautiful wife...AND he lives in France.
Can a book be, at the very same time, a serious discourse on conspiracies AND be hysterically funny? This book of Richard Belzer's can.
What a talent! I hope you don't think I'm being facetious. Believe me, I'm not. At the same time Belzer got me really thinking about his conspiracy thinking (and I am a conspiracy theory novice, so this is all new to me), he also had me literally laughing out loud. I call this remarkable.
99.9% of the books I purchase, I buy at Amazon. But I found this one in the "HUMOR" section of our local independent bookseller. I'd been reading such heavy-duty literature and non-fiction for so long, I thought I could use some humor...and I was NOT disappointed in that regard in Belzer's book.
But what blew me away (I seem to be, in this review, totally talking in the hippie vernacular, so please, bear with me) is that along with laughing out loud, I found myself immersed in a beautifully and accessibly written treatise on conspiracies. I learned so much! I went running, upon being done to the book, to my computer to look things he'd recommended up.
What a book! WHAT A CONCEPT! This guy is brilliant! I recommend it for humor, I recommend it for an introduction to conspiracy theory, and I recommend it for some truly excellent writing.
Get this book, please! You'll thank me for it.
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