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Everything Is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-ups Paperback – June 23, 1998

3.9 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robert Anton Wilson is the grand pooh-bah of late-20th-century conspiracy theory, but regular Wilson fans may find Everything Is Under Control inchoate in comparison to such masterworks as the Illuminatus! trilogy. The format may be encyclopedic, but the information isn't; to note one glaring omission, the only entries on Ronald Reagan refer readers to three other entries in which Reagan is briefly mentioned--none of which has anything to do with Iran-Contra. (Actually, there is a listing for Iran-Contra, but again, it merely points to some of the pieces of the puzzle.)

The book's primary value, then, apart from the snippets of conspiracy "proof" it does provide, is in Wilson's playful yet insightful articulation of the psychology and linguistics of conspiratorial thinking. "Because we can say 'the Jews' or 'the New World Order' or 'the Patriarchy,'" he writes, "we can believe, or almost believe, that these grammatical abstractions have the same kind of reality as basketballs, barking dogs, and baked beans." There are also some fun private jokes, including a lot of data on the Discordians. It's not the best Wilson book--that, perhaps, is Masks of the Illuminati--but it's an adequate introduction to his imaginative philosophy. --Ron Hogan

From Library Journal

To call Wilson (b. 1932) merely a prolific sf writer is both to underrate his output?at least 2000 articles and 20 books by 1996?and to limit what he does in generic terms. Most famous for two trilogies that are indeed identified mostly as science fiction?Illuminatus! (1984) and Schroedinger's Cat (1988)?Wilson revels in alternate consciousness, 1960s-flavored mysticism, the Internet, and making connections among phenomena that often appear to be disconnected. All those concerns make this book both fascinating and useful but perplexing. Wilson has always had great fun mining contemporary conspiracy cultures (his best-known works are based on millennium-old notions that all of human history is shaped by secret societies), but the problem with this encyclopedia of plots and plot-discoverers is his thorough authorial embrace of irony and humor. Just when a reader is convinced that Wilson's aim is to deflate a particular canard, he seems to affirm another's legitimacy. In the final analysis, this exhaustive work provides both fun and information; each entry closes with a source citation, often and appropriately a website. While not exactly balanced, this work is a good addition to libraries with strong science fiction or popular culture collections. Academic libraries with browsing or "lighter entertainment" sections should also consider.?Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Upper Darby, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1st edition (June 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062734172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062734174
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on July 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ordinarily, I would not touch anything sub-titled "Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-ups" with a ten foot pole. However, I noticed that it was written by Robert Anton Wilson- I had already read all three of his _Cosmic Trigger_ books plus his excellent _Coincidance_. I had Wilson to thank for explaining the work of James Joyce to me so that I could finally comprehend him, so I knew that this book ,too, must be written with intelligence and perception. I was not dissappointed.
If you are jaded and believe that there is nothing new under the sun that you have not already heard of, then get this book. It has been the starting point for so much of my personal research and developement over the last few years that I don't know where to start. It was this book that introduced me to Noam Chomsky's work. And there is just so much more: the Illuminati, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of America Conspiracy, the Bilderbergers, the Great Satanic Conspiracy, the gnostic thought of Phillip K. Dick, the corruption index, the Council on Foreign Relations, Daimonic Reality, the Merovingian Kings, Fletcher Prouty, the "Great Pirates" of Bucky Fuller, LAWCAP, etc., etc., etc.
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`Everything is Under Control' is an A to Z listing of hundreds of conspiracy theories and cover-ups that pervade the minds of paranoids. The main issue I had with the book is how quickly the author cruises through topics. Some items are touched on so lightly that I'm not even sure what Mr. Wilson is talking about. It's disappointing not because the subject matter is boring but because it's so interesting that the short descriptions left me wanting more.

Although the author is clearly a skeptic concerning many of the classic conspiracy theories not all conspiracies are equal and his lack of commentary may leave some readers confused. The Church of the Sub-Genius is fairly self evident as parody while others like the Discordian Society may be less so and the author doesn't discern between parody and sincere conspiracy theories. The other problem is that he doesn't differentiate between the absurd and the likely, for instance when Noam Chomsky claims that the media is owned by a handful of billionaires it's not really a conspiracy theory since it's pretty much true. On the other hand the Illuminati's relationship with extra-terrestrials is clearly the product of some overactive imaginations. When Mr. Wilson talks about a seemingly legit conspiracy like the P2 in Italy (which I had never heard of) it's hard for me to know whether or not to take it seriously. I think the book would have been improved if the author had gone into more detail on less subjects. Do people really care about Howard Hughes's legal difficulties with TWA or whether John Hull ran guns through Costa Rica or that psychologists spent a million dollars to avoid government regulations?

In some ways the author is like a magician who doesn't want to reveal his tricks.
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Format: Paperback
If you look in the "pop culture" section of your local Big Record Store, or if you look in the occult section of your local bookstore, you'll probably find Robert Anton Wilson's latest book: "Everything is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-ups." This oversized paperback is apparently RAW's attempt to cash in on the "hipness" of conspiracy theories; not that there's anything wrong with him trying to make a buck off of Pink gullibility, of course. My Queen of the [CENSORED] Universe picked this one up for me as a gift, and I've been flipping through it for the past couple of days.
The book is an oversized paperback printed in large type, obviously meant to appeal to the same crowd that Ivan Stang's famous "High Weirdness By Mail" aimed for. It presents itself as an encyclopedia of many of the most famous, infamous, and wide-reaching conspiracy theories, their authors, and the publications that spawned them. It delves into the histories of the past, and provides glimpses at major events in the development of conspiracies, up to and including the advent of the Internet.
Wilson's "Illuminatus!" Trilogy is often promoted as a must-read for faithful SubGenii, but I've found his writing hard to get into. He's rarely boring, but his scholarly, dry style can make those books a tough read, especially when he piles on his plots upon sub-plots galore. "Everything Is Under Control" has a simplistic, A-to-Z presentation that suggests the book is presenting itself as A Beginner's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson as well as a basic introduction to conspiracy theories.
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Format: Paperback
Unplug the phones and find a safe corner, away from The Big Screen. Prepare to be enthralled and sucked into the Paranoid world of Conspiracy Theory.
All the "Secret Societies," supposed CIA / FBI "cover-ups," assassinations, occult groups, mind control scenarios, banking, NWO, UFO-related, "regression therapy" theories, delusions and confusions you can handle.
This book is an Amazing collection of all the most popular Conspiracies, urban myths, paranoid delusions, Cult Weirdness and valid info, imaginable. It's up to YOU to decipher the Truth from the fiction.... R.A.W. just lays the info on the table--You sort it out.
Anyone interested in "Secret Societies," Anthropology, Psychology or simply seeks an entertaining read, should add this encyclopedic tome to their collection.
You will laugh, you will cry, you will hide under the bed & build a bomb shelter in your spare time. (and don't forget to unplug the phone.... "they" are listening).
This is absolutely the best resource for entertaining (and sometimes scary) "Conspiracy Theories." It is an Anthropologist's delight !!!
Two thumbs-up to R.A.W.
* Note: OTO, Thelema, Sub-Genius & Discordian members will treasure this book, forever.... & F&AM members will enjoy it, if they have a sense of humor <g>
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