From Publishers Weekly
The Seagraves, bestselling authors (Lords of the Rim, etc.), contend that Japan systematically looted the entire continent of Asia during WWII, seizing billions in precious metals, gems and artworks. Further, according to the authors, from war's end to the present, the looted treasure, used by President Truman to create a secret slush fund to fight communism, has had a malignant effect on American and Asian politics. The Seagraves assert that the Japanese imperial family, along with Ferdinand Marcos, every American president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, and numerous sinister figures on the American hard right have been tainted and in many cases utterly corrupted by the loot. Postwar efforts to recover and exploit the treasure, according to the Seagraves, involved murders, dishonest deals and cover-ups. Readers who want to examine the full range of sources for this controversial account are referred in the book to the authors' Web site, where two CDs containing "more than 900 megabytes" of supporting documentation are available. But a paradox affecting conspiracy histories such as this one is the authors' frequent insistence that the malefactors have suppressed relevant evidence. Conceptual difficulties of this sort make it impossible for the lay reader to judge this book's credibility, even while one is swept up in the high-intensity story the Seagraves tell. FYI: The authors claim that in consequence of their revealing the existence of the slush fund and its resulting "global network of corruption," they have received "veiled death threats."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Announcing they might be murdered for writing this book, the Seagraves proceed to tell an involved story about Japanese plunder from World War II that, never returned to its rightful owners, underwrites political slush funds and other financial legerdemain conducted by American and Japanese power brokers. According to the cognoscenti, some of the boodle is called the M-Fund, after the initial of a Douglas MacArthur crony who set it up; the gold behind it, in turn, was secreted in the Philippines under the supervision of the imperial Japanese family. The Seagraves, reputable authors of East Asian histories, advance considerable sourcing for their claims, some of which, however, rely precariously on the word of single individuals, while others are anonymous. It is, therefore, a challenge for the reader to decide what's true here, such as the authors' explosive assertion that Richard Nixon exchanged a political promise (returning Okinawa to Japan) for money from the M-Fund. In any event, the Seagraves' tale of treasure hunting, war crimes, and skulduggery will prompt some head scratching. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved