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One of the Most Important Books You Will Ever Read
on June 24, 2008
"As a teenager I heard John Kennedy's summons to citizenship. And as a student at Georgetown, I heard the call clarified by a professor I had named Carroll Quigley, who said America was the greatest country in the history of the world because our people have always believed in two great ideas: first, that tomorrow can be better than today, and second, that each of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so."
When Bill Clinton spoke these stirring words to millions of Americans during his 1992 acceptance address before the Democratic National Convention upon receiving his party's nomination for President of the United States, the vast multitude of his television audience paused for a micro-second to reflect: Who is Carroll Quigley and why did he have such a dramatic effect on this young man before us who may become our country's leader?
Carroll Quigley was a legendary professor of history at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, and a former instructor at Princeton and Harvard.
He was a lecturer at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Brookings Institution, the U. S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, the Foreign Service Institute of the State Department, and the Naval College.
Quigley was a closely connected elite "insider" to the American Establishment, with impeccable credentials and trappings of respectability.
But Carroll Quigley's most notable achievement was the authorship of one of the most important books of the 20th Century: Tragedy and Hope - A History of the World in Our Time.
No one can truly be cognizant of the intricate evolution of networks of power and influence which have played a crucial role in determining who and what we are as a civilization without being familiar with the contents of this 1,348-page tome.
It is the "Ur-text" of Establishment Studies, earning Quigley the epithet of "the professor who knew too much" in a Washington Post article published shortly after his 1977 death.
In Tragedy and Hope, as well as the posthumous The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, Quigley traces this network, in both its overt and covert manifestations, back to British racial imperialist and financial magnate Cecil Rhodes and his secret wills, outlining the clandestine master plan through seven decades of intrigue, spanning two world wars, to the assassination of John Kennedy.
Through an elaborate structure of banks, foundations, trusts, public-policy research groups, and publishing concerns (in addition to the prestigious scholarship program at Oxford), the initiates of what are described as the Round Table groups (and its offshoots such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations) came to dominate the political and financial affairs of the world.
For the ambitious young man from Hope, Arkansas, his mentor's visionary observations would provide the blueprint of how the world really worked as he made his ascendancy via Oxford through the elite corridors of power to the Oval Office.
Published in 1966, Tragedy and Hope lay virtually unnoticed by academic reviewers and the mainstream media establishment.
Then Dr. W. Cleon Skousen, the noted conservative author of the 1961 national best-seller, The Naked Communist, discovered Quigley, and the serious implications of what Quigley had revealed.
In 1970, Skousen published The Naked Capitalist: A Review and Commentary on Dr. Carroll Quigley's Book Tragedy and Hope.
This was soon followed by None Dare Call It Conspiracy. This slim volume by Gary Allen (and Larry Abraham) provided the massive paradigm shift of grassroots, populist conservatives from mere anti-Communism to a much larger anti-elitist world-view.
Millions of copies of these books came into print, and the conservative movement changed forever.
Copies of Tragedy and Hope began disappearing from library shelves.
A pirate edition was printed.
Quigley came to believe that his publisher Macmillan had suppressed his book.
Dr. Gary North, the esteemed economic commentator and historian has an interesting discussion of these curious facts in the chapter, "Maverick 'Insider' Historians," in his book, Conspiracy: A Biblical View, available on-line.
Quigley himself discusses these issues concerning his book in a five part YouTube interview: [...]
However some persons believe Carroll Quigley was simply amplifying earlier research in conservative authors Emanuel Josephson's Rockefeller 'Internationalist': The Man Who Misrules The World, and Dan Smoot's The Invisible Government, or that of the radical sociologist C. Wright Mill's The Power Elite, which had outlined these same elite networks of power.
I disagree with that narrow assessment. Although there is much to disagree with in interpretation in Quigley's book, the originality and titanic scope of the work cannot be doubted or disparaged.
In a book much praised by economist and historian Murray Rothbard, author Carl Oglesby's The Yankee and Cowboy War: Conspiracies From Dallas To Watergate, has a fascinating discussion of Quigley within a wider framework of American power politics and subterranean intrigue.
And in a volume hailed by Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, before he morphed from Trotskyist man of letters to Neocon mouthpiece, had some insightful musings along the line of Quigley in his Blood, Class, and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies.
Tragedy and Hope is indeed one of the most important books you will ever read.