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The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal Hardcover – August 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
It is amusing to see the sole negative reviewer on these pages (as of this writing) suggest that Bryant has gullibly relied only on the apparent victims of the scandal, when in fact the author has taken pains to bolster accusations voiced in his book with the testimony of law-enforcement, governmental, mental health, legal and social-service officials, as well as journalists and others whose professions and/or personal relationships brought them into the orbit of this lurid story.
Anything but the ramblings of a susceptible naïf, Bryant's book appears as a model of journalistic integrity and a triumph of the investigative craft. Relying on official court and law enforcement documents and an extensive array of interviews with those involved in a variety of aspects of the scandal, it conveys a massive amount of carefully corroborated and meticulously researched data while maintaining all the tension and drama of the very best true-crime narratives. Bryant's own natural skepticism allows him to ultimately ground what appear to be Franklin's most far-fetched elements--Satanism, mind control, and the trafficking of children among our nation's elite for the purpose of sex--in an historical context that casts these admittedly outlandish phenomena in an intelligible and empirical light. Bryant's treatment of these subjects is deft, and his light touch and firm command of the overall material combine to a disarming effect that is sure to challenge all but the most recalcitrant of doubters.
While it provides well over a hundred pages of documentation in support of its disturbing thesis that there appears to be validity to the wrenching accusations of gravely scurrilous behavior on the part of an elite element in our society, among the other merits of Bryant's book is that it dispels certain myths that have accrued about Franklin over the years, even as it deepens our understanding of little-appreciated aspects of the story, such as Alicia Owen's protracted legal nightmare. The author's treatment of the scandal is highly comprehensive, but also circumspect; aficionados will want to consult DeCamp's THE FRANKLIN COVER-UP to fill in the names of certain apparent perpetrators, a few of whose identities Bryant--unable to finally track down every source he pursued over the several years he has worked on this story--only alludes to. (As the skeptical reader will no doubt appreciate, Bryant does not overstep his bounds, though given the vast amount of information he has collected, he hardly needs to.) There are certain other details found in DeCamp's book, pertaining for example to the exact nature of the extreme abuse apparently suffered by certain victims, which Bryant does not reiterate; given the acute nature of these violations, Bryant's overall eschewal of the sensational, and his palpable concern and respect for the victims' dignity, this elision appears understandable, especially as these horrific accounts have found a life of their own on the Web. This said, the author's description of the abuse conveys its iniquity, and there is much in this book that will be new to readers of DeCamp, who as an attorney close to the case lacks Bryant's journalistic precision, clarity, sense of narrative structure, and critical distance. This is not said to detract from DeCamp's compelling book, but to point out that Bryant brings a great deal that is new to this important story.
In all, this is an enraging book, and toward its conclusion the reader reels in disgust at its main point: the subsequent abuse suffered by victims when they were subjected to the federal and state legal systems during the cover-up phase of the scandal. What this suggests about the state of our public institutions is one of the most disturbing aspects of this book. Still, aside from a cast of shameless villains there are heroes and heroines who emerge in the story, whose efforts in the face of obdurate corruption, selfishness and cruelty are--though it might seem a trite word in this context--inspiring. That these examples of human fortitude and decency finally have the chronicler in Mr. Bryant that they deserve is enough to reaffirm the faith in our species that this book otherwise shakes to its core.
Bryant's account of the Franklin scandal joins David Ray Griffin's extensive analyses of 9/11 and James Bamford's exposures of military-industrial and intelligence agency malfeasance as one of the most important historical documents of our time. In its own way, given the extremities of the depravity it confronts THE FRANKLIN SCANDAL is, if possible, even bolder than those valiant efforts. It is most highly recommended to anyone willing to face vicious realities that too many others remain too complacent, timorous or arrogant to acknowledge. It is must-reading for those seeking to comprehend the madness of our cultural moment, and who yearn for an example of a meaningful and courageous response to it.
It's not just that you'll want to stay home from work to keep reading The Franklin Scandal -- although you will want that,as Bryant's book is the mother of all compelling page-turners. Rather, it's that this book will move you, and horrify you, and shock and anger and frighten YOU, PERSONALLY, so that you will actually want to do something about the corruption that he exposes so skillfully. By simply taking the time to read this excellent, fascinating book you will have already done something that matters: You'll have actually learned something important -- something that'll stay with you for the rest of your life. Presumably you'll want to mention this engrossing and informative (and shocking) book to the folks around you, which is one of the important ways that social change happens.
I came to this story already knowing better than most that groups of adults can, and sometimes do, work in concert to perpetrate horrible crimes against children and other vulnerable members of society, and that seemingly "normal, repectable" people can absolutely be involved in this ----sometimes with a full knowledge of what they're participating in, but often because they are being duped and manipulated into doing evil "for the sake of national security" or "the greater good of the community". I also knew, of course, that corruption exists in police forces, and in politics, etc. Yet I persisted in believing that the bad guys could only get so far, because after all, there was the FBI to deal with, and the courts. And if they should fail there was always the free press, I thought. But Nick Bryant shows very clearly that these pleasing ideas are incredibly mistaken --- at least when we're talking about the secrets of the rich and powerful.
This is investigative reporting at its finest. Bryant is extremely meticulous, thorough, and very, very fair. He provides enough quotes and context to enable real understanding, but he doesn't waste space or bludgeon points that have already been made. He offers his own thoughts at times, but always acknowledges his own biases ---more honestly and more humbly than any other writer I know. He also writes very beautifully, and with great humanity.
There are a number of excellent reviews here of The Franklin Scandal, and I really cannot improve on them. I will just say that learning from Bryant about Gary Caradori and Alisha Owen was a blessing, and for that alone I would have paid the full price of the hardcover. Heroes really do make life a lot easier to bear for the rest of us. And although Bryant would not suggest this himself it is certainly true that he is the third great hero in this story . The reality is that he still suffers greatly for having dared to write The Franklin Scandal, to the point where a fellow writer and friend put out a piece describing the hardship that has befallen Bryant as a result of his willingness to speak out on behalf of the victims of Franklin --- and by extension on my behalf and on yours,as well. I understand funding is needed for a documentary in the making, and I'll be supporting that effort. I hope you'll do the same.
There have been other books written about the scandal that came out in Omaha in the 1980s, and they have ranged from bad to incredibly bad. They should never, ever be mentioned in the same breath with Bryant's work. I recommend that you skip the other books on Omaha altogether. Read The Franklin Scandal, by Nick Bryant. And if you think you would rather skip it because it sounds like a bummer? Read it anyway, because that's the right thing to do. The good news is that you won't want to put the book down.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
didn't realize the scandal was going on in the eighties.Read more