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    Foucault's Pendulum
    by Umberto Eco
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 November, 1989)
    list price: $33.00 -- our price: $20.79
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    Reviews (317)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Auido Version: Great book, great reader, but abridged . . .
    I really enjoyed this book. Not only is Eco a master of language and story-telling, he is a master of suspense as well. I spent the entire time I listened to this book on the edge of my proverbial seat.
    Tim Curry, the actor from Clue, does an amazing job reading the book. Bot only does he handle the different languages, but he conveys the mood and tempo of the book while remaining intelligible.
    In the end, however, I spent much of the book wondering what I was missing. I dislike abridged works for that feeling. In this version's favor, the story line maintained its cohesiveness, as far as I could tell, unlike most of the other abridgemens I have read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent story read by excellent reader
    Tim Curry is fabuluous reading Foucault's Pendulum, and his voice is beautiful and the nuances are perfect.

    The story is an incredible one: in short, what if you created a fantastic out-of-thin-air conspiracy theory - and GOT IT RIGHT?Not only that, but EVERYTHING you know is suspect, and the world is under secret domination.....

    That is the basis for this story, and it is a fantastic one.Umberto Eco has weaved in little bits and pieces of everything, including mysticism, word processors, the Druids, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Masons, and so much, much more.

    The story is fantastic to listen to, and if the book is as big and ponderous as some say, perhaps you would enjoy listening to Tim Curry's (abridged) reading of it instead.I recommend it.

    This book reminds me of the book "The Illuminati" by Larry Burkett, and of the 1997 movie "Conspiracy Theory" with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts.I've read the former, but have not seen the latter - but the story themes parellel Umberto's Foucault's Pendulum in many ways.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Skip The Da Vinci Code, please.
    Dan Brown should be bludgeoned about the head and neck area for writing The Da Vinci Code without acknowledging that he essentially stole and dumbed down the plot of Eco's earlier, brainier mystery. FC is a world-spanning thriller packed with all of the elements that made Brown's book alluring (secret societies, cryptic religious symbolism, grand conspiracies, etc.). The twisting, turning thread of the plot is enough reason to keep reading, but what makes the book shine are all of Eco's philosophical, historical, and mythological/religious asides, crammed with detail. The kind of book where you sense the author checking and rechecking every line to make sure it's ... just the way he wants it.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0151327653
    Sales Rank: 25730
    Subjects:  1. Eco, Umberto - Prose & Criticism    2. Fiction    3. Fiction - General    4. General    5. Idolatry    6. Occultism    7. Religions    8. Voodooism    9. Fiction / General   


    UFOs, JFK, and Elvis : Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (02 May, 2000)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
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    Editorial Review

    Best known as Detective John Munch on the hit TV series Homicide, Richard Belzer is also an accomplished standup comedian with a knack for political commentary in the tradition of Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory. In UFOs, JFK, and Elvis, he applies his analytic powers to two of the most controversial topics of the late 20th century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the alleged U.S. government cover-up of the existence of alien life. (The reference in the title is the book's only substantial Elvis sighting.)

    Belzer sensibly avoids pretending to have the answers, opting instead to focus on the questions themselves. Why does the Zapruder film fail to synchronize with other footage of the Kennedy shooting? What's the real background on Lee Harvey Oswald--and who really posed for that famous backyard photo? Did NASA regularly suppress UFO sightings by Apollo and Gemini astronauts? And how about that giant face on the surface of Mars? While Belzer's sarcastic, antiauthoritarian tone may not convince you that aliens walk among us, it's rather difficult by book's end to fully dismiss his belief that "history is just a collection of accepted lies" told to keep the masses in line. --Ron Hogan ... Read more

    Reviews (53)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised
    I picked this book up not knowing what to expect.I was slightly familiar with Belzer's stand-up, but hadn't read anything he had written. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

    I have always been slightly interested in conspiracy theories, but with my interest came a bit of embarrassment. Belzer's humor effectively dissolved my embarrassment.If I started feeling a little ridiculous when I found myself seriously considering an off the wall idea, Belzer's wit would put me at ease.The humor made it easy to tell yourself, "I'm not crazy, Belzer is."

    I can't say that Belzer was able to convince me of anything, but he certainly managed to pique my curiosity.Should I decide to learn more about the theories Belzer presents, I can simply turn to the helpful bibliography of conspiracy books and resources that Belzer recommends.

    The bottom line - this book is a great blend of conspiracy and humor and I think it could be enjoyed by someone looking for either.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating
    Not only is this book hilarious, it's informative, and educational as well.I didn't even know what FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was until I read this book, and that's just ONE of the things I learned. It's a good template for any aspiring conspiracy researcher. A thorough bibliography is included which lists all of the Belze's sources respectively.

    I won't claim that I believed everything I read in this book, but I will say this: Anyone out there who is stupid enough to accept the "Single Bullet Theory" deserves to get shot in the head himself. That is all!

    3-0 out of 5 stars You DO have to be crazy....
    We all know that something fishy happened in Dealy Plaza on 11/22/63, and that our government cannot be trusted, but to suggest that people have been copulating with aliens is absurd. I find it interesting the Mr. Belzer failed to point out that UFO sightings have been plummeting since the end of the Cold War, and that these aliens people claim to encounter look suspisciously like the Hollywood aliens depicted in the movies during the fifties. Extra-terrestrials have become the new mythology, and belong in the same realm as werewolves and leprechauns, and are largely a symptom of a mass-hysteria and overactive imaginations. Just because people have seen objects in the air they can't indentify, it doesn't mean they are from other galaxies. Carl Sagan pointed out that the odds of intelligent life outside our solar system is highly likely, but the odds of those two civilizations ever crossing paths is tantamount to two chipmunks in North America finding each other. And, what all UFO pundits have failed to produce over the years is any tangible physical evidence of extra-terrestrial life; it's a lot of grainy, doctored photos and bogus testimonials. As far as the alleged lunar landing hoax, there were good reasons for our government to fake it for purposes of propaganda, but it was well within the realm of possibilty. My old eigth-grade math teacher told us that we had the mathematics to get to the moon in the late 1800's. Belzer resents the fact that such people who believe this nonsense are unfairly marginalized, but how else should rational people deal with paranoid delusions? That being said, the book was entertaining and I read it in one evening, but it was nothing more than a National Enquirer article on steroids. What cracks me up is how Belzer can promote this book with a straight face. I'm sure he's laughing because he got my money. And another thing, he never did tell us where Elvis was hiding! Three Stars! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0345429184
    Subjects:  1. 20th century    2. American wit and humor    3. Conspiracies    4. Conspiracy & Scandal Investigations    5. Controversial Knowledge    6. Form - Essays    7. General    8. History    9. Humor    10. Politics - Current Events    11. United States    12. Humor / Essays   


    Masters of Atlantis
    by Charles Portis
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 2000)
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kooky Cults Without the Kool-Aid
    The predilection of humans to involve themselves in cults is a perplexing topic that requires years of study and stacks of dictionary-sized psychology books in order to understand.


    ...you can just read Masters of Atlantis then move on to your degree. Charles Portis continues to hold me in awe with his deadpan comic genius. His silly plots read humorously on the surface, and move at a good clip, but suddenly one realizes that there is so very, very much more going on.

    Where do cults come from and why do (presumably) rational people involve themselves in the nutty things? Portis' take on the topic spells it out in plain humor: an accidental encounter, an impressionable young man, the hangers on, the manipulators, and, gasp, the true believer who spawns a whole philosophy derived from the antics of a con man. Strangely enough, he begins to discern subtle truths about the nature of the universe. When the government gets involved things get sillier yet, but don't just write this off as fiction, we've all seen Congressional hearings; Charles Poris has got their number.

    Line your Charles Portis books up next to your Kurt Vonnegut-they make great companions.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dialouge and deadpan that leave your head spinning...
    I know the term 'best ever' is thrown out there too often and is in most cases downright cliche.But with this book, funniest book ever is an understatement.If you're a fan of deadpan, dry humor with witty dialouge and eccentric characters this book is for you.The first 50 pages are a bit slow in setting up the rest of the story, but from then on I was hanging on every sentence, not wanting it to end.

    The character of Austin Popper is one of the most eccentric, off the wall, and laugh out loud characters ever written.

    Let me put in the analogy of a movie.If you liked 'Royal Tennenbaums', this book is right up your alley.It has that kind of dry, acidic wit and tongue in cheek humor.If you're more of an 'American Pie' kind of person, you may be left scratching your head and wondering what the hell just happened.

    5-0 out of 5 stars sadly, the real cult is us portis fans
    this book is one of my favorites ever.i just love how portis's accounting is so detached and even-handed, while what and whom he writes about are so absurd and pathetic.

    because portis doesn't try to write funny, the reader can absorb the outrageousness situations and dialogs in pure form.and those situations and dialogs are a riot.

    small caveat:
    while a lot of events happen, these characters never really grow or learn from the disasters they leave in their wake.there's no redemption or closure.although it spans decades, this book truly goes nowhere.if you can't handle that, you won't like masters of atlantis. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1585670219
    Sales Rank: 88292
    Subjects:  1. Atlantis    2. Fantasy fiction    3. Fiction    4. Fiction - General    5. General    6. Humorous stories    7. Portis, Charles - Prose & Criticism    8. Secret societies   


    The Crying of Lot 49
    by Thomas Pynchon
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 April, 1999)
    list price: $11.95 -- our price: $9.56
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    Reviews (153)

    1-0 out of 5 stars everything that is wrong with postmodernism
    This book makes me think of Warhol's famous painting of soup cans. While it may be cute and clever to be sharing a private joke with your readers by naming characters things like Fallopian or Kotecks, and you may be intelligent and a technically capable writer, this does not mean the story, plot, or characters are involving or worth reading about. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against modernity or abstract art or literature. I do however feel that a writer has to do more than just be clever to write a great book. While I actively seek out a wide variety of world literature with a very offbeat slant, the deciding factor always comes down to whether the plot and characters are moving and involving. This is what makes literature the closest thing I have to the sacred in life. I feel like I have been befrauded when someone like Pynchon dresses up some otherwise poorly drawn soup-can characters in funny names and thinks that that is a substitute for good writing. It makes me understand how Christians must feel seeing a cross in a box of urine passed off as art.

    The Emporor is NOT wearing new clothes, he is just a naked deluded fool walking through town.

    4-0 out of 5 stars a good read
    I like this book a little better than I liked V.The story is pretty straightforward and easy to read, although there are complexities in its interpretation (of course, since it's a Pynchon book).I myself wouldn't call the book "hilarious", but there is a "Hilarius" in it, as well as bits of humor throughout, and lots of nice puns.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A short great introduction to Pynchon
    This is the first work of Pychon I read and it was many years ago but it is still unforgetable. The author whose picture (if we only had a picture) should be next to the word "paranoia" in the dictionary in this book documents the sixties as well introduces us to his unusual perspective. Like in many of Pychon's works fact and fiction are blurred. The heroine of the story, Oedipa Maas as executrix of the estate of her late millionaire paramour, goes on journey akin for the quest of the grail. She is searching for the truth but the truth becomes more an more obscure as her journey goes on. Populated by such unforgetable characters as Stanley Kotex and LSD therapist Dr. Hilarius the book is filled with clever puns and word play. Arcane references a peppered through out the book from both science , liturature and history some of which probably originate from Pychon's college years when he double majored at Cornell in English and Engineering. But what makes Oedipa's journey poigniant is that although Oedipa finds herself entangled in various affairs she still maintains the innocence of a child. On her journey she happens upon conspiracy on top of conspiracy such as the W.A.S.T.E. system, an illegal and underground postal system whose symbol is the horn of Tristero. Why does the Tristero horn keep cropping up? From my take it is a symbol of revolution and anarchy (since ony the federal government is authorized to deliver the mail): it is a symbol of the time the book is set in. Like Oedipa the reader finds themselves suddenly being sucked into a paranoic hyper-real state. Her journey is not only a search for truth but a search for America. It is not only a time capsule of the sixties, a time where both the sexual revulution and the height of the cold war co-existed, reading it now one finds it prophetic. In a style some might call deconstructionist the crescendo of the book, at least from my perspective comes somewhere in the middle of the story. I think though like any great work of art much of the meaning comes from a synergy between author and the reader as I believe no one interpretation of the work is definitive. Much like artist works in paint Pychon paints with words. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060931671
    Sales Rank: 4825
    Subjects:  1. Classics    2. Fiction    3. Literary    4. Literature - Classics / Criticism    5. Fiction / Literary    6. Reading Group Guide   


    The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control
    by John D. Marks, John Marks
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 August, 1991)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $11.16
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    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic !
    John Marks has done a wonderful job of piecing together the available information on the clandestine operations done by the CIA in their attempt to accomplish mind control.He begins in the early stages of their program in the 1940's and carries it through until the last of the mind control programs allegedly was shut down in 1973.In this book the author covers topics such as brain washing, hypnosis, LSD experiments, and the very tragic death of Dr. Frank Olson (as a result of an experiment gone bad). I highly recommend this book if you are interested in what occurred during the CIA's secret attempt at creating "Manchurian Candidate's"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truth Outpaces Fiction Every Time
    I read this book when I was in high school playing hookey in the public libraries of Manhattan, NY. My public high school was That bad! At the time I knew nothing about the Korean War or the extremely brilliant Manchurian Candidate movie starring Frank Sinatra but I knew I was interested in governmental mind control plots and the CIA. I think this book was the first to show me that all fiction, no matter how FANTAStic is but a shadow of reality.

    That concept really explodes when as the previous reviewer points out, we consider, that the book's author focuses on the CIA's involvement with MK Ultra neglecting that of the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, etc. etc. Its the etc.s that really count!! Most of us have such a vague understanding of what the CIA actually does much less that there are scores of such publically and privately funded "Intelligence" organizations. Readers of this book would probably also enjoy the book The Control of Candy Jones.

    I think I learned about the Candy Jones book from this book and its certainly as weird, if not weirder, than any Philip K. Dick sci fi movie/book (Bladerunner "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"). Scary, chilling, true, tip of the iceberg and relegated to fiction. Stealth is important and we probably can't do without military, no less the Intelligence component of military. It would be great, however, to see people become literate on the subject of secret government mind manipulation and how it determines government and society.

    5-0 out of 5 stars controlling people
    This is a very well written; book that detailing a lot of information about secret test conducted on controlling people.This book should go on the same shelf as "Body of knowledge", Puzzle Palace", and "Influence: Science and Practice ".In addition, if you are thinking about taking LSD, hallucinations, or smoking dope, read this book before you do. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0393307948
    Sales Rank: 128309
    Subjects:  1. Behavior modification    2. Central Intelligence Agency    3. Espionage    4. General    5. Government - U.S. Government    6. History - General History    7. History: American    8. U.S. Government - Intelligence Agencies    9. United States    10. United States.    11. Espionage & secret services    12. USA   


    Body of Secrets : Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (24 April, 2001)
    list price: $29.95
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    Editorial Review

    Everybody knows about the CIA--the cloak-and-dagger branch of the U.S. government. Many fewer are familiar with the National Security Agency, even though it has been more important to American espionage in recent years than its better-known counterpart. The NSA is responsible for much of the intelligence gathering done via technology such as satellites and the Internet. Its home office in Maryland "contains what is probably the largest body of secrets ever created."

    Little was known about the agency's confidential culture until veteran journalist James Bamford blew the lid off in 1982 with his bestseller The Puzzle Palace. Still, much remained in the shadows. In Body of Secrets, Bamford throws much more light on his subject--and he reveals loads of shocking information. The story of the U-2 crisis in 1960 is well known, including President Eisenhower's decision to tell a fib to the public in order to protect a national-security secret. Bamford takes the story a disturbing step forward, showing how Eisenhower "went so far as to order his Cabinet officers to hide his involvement in the scandal even while under oath. At least one Cabinet member directly lied to the committee, a fact known to Eisenhower." Even more worrisome is another revelation, from the Kennedy years: "The Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government. In the name of anticommunism, they proposed launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba."

    Body of Secrets is an incredible piece of journalism, and it paints a deeply troubling portrait of an agency about which the public knows next to nothing. Fans of The Sword and the Shield will want to read it, as will anybody who is intrigued by conspiracies and real-life spy stories. --John J. Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (133)

    1-0 out of 5 stars He is politically biased and shows it.
    I worked in this area in a peripheral way for many years. Bamvord didn't go into details because he did not know any. I was disappointed in most of the book. His little political asides smacked of Democrat talking points. He could have covered the downsizing of intelligence gathering during the Clinton administration, but didn't. I enjoyed reading about Crypto City and the references to Seymour Cray and the super computers. All of the two hundred references cited here saved the book from being a total loss.There could be a great book on this subject but this wasn't it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A British Perspective
    In brief, I thought this book a bit taxing to read due to the analysis of possible every facet of the NSA that the author was able to investigate, but it contains numerous interesting nuggets of information. For example, the bit about J Edgar Hoover indirectly ordering the NSA to spy on Richard Nixon as he had ordered the NSA to spy on all quakers and Nixon was a quaker. Also interesting to see how the NSA and CIA interact with each other, sometimes in cooperation, but there's also the quote from an ex-NSA boss saying that the CIA is good for stealing a memo from a prime minister's desk and not much else! Also, the stuff about the Kennedy administration and of his its relationship to the military. Apparently, the Pentagon was most fond of President General Eisenhower, who was a military man, obviously, and there was a suspicion of whether a civilian could run the country properly. Following the Bay of Pigs mishap and Kennedy's social reforms, the Pentagon got quite upset, as sources in this book reveal that according to military minds of that time social legislation=socialism=Communism. The stuff about the Britain's GCHQ was new to me: When Mauritius was granted independence from Britain, the condition was that the island of Diego Garcia had to be given to Britain. The inhabitants were then kicked out with no provision made for them and then the island was then handed to the USA to be used as an NSA spy base, and none of this was debated in the British parliament! The book also points some NSA failures, e.g. not realising that India carried out a nuclear test in 1998 and overall is a thoroughly exhaustive study of this organisation. Now, how about a book about decisions made over the years from inside the Pentagon?

    4-0 out of 5 stars In God We Trust, In All Others We Monitor
    ~Body of Secrets : Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency~ is an intriguing look into national security apparatus of the NSA. This less-than-known history of political intrigue and power play intel-games in the 20th century is enthralling. The chapters on the U-2 spy missions against the Soviets and the Cuban Missile Crisis are really interesting.Another chapter captures the tragedy of the intelligence ship, the U.S.S. Liberty, which in the heat of the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, was attacked by Israel and a debacle ensued thereafter. The circumstances surrounding the attack have never been fully probed, but the implication is foul play. A fascinating chapter documents the NSA cat-and-mouse games in a trawler off the coast of North Korea in the midst of the Cold War. Another chapter called Heart gives walkthrough of the Crypto City in Maryland-the elaborate intelligence complex, which remains the core of the NSA machine-and Bamford delves as deep in detail as the NSA will publicly allow.The author discusses the UKUSA agreement that brings America's WWII ally and Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada into our nation's cooperative intelligence sphere.(The NSA operates a huge SIGINT installation in the UK and much to the chagrin of the continental European Union states.) Bamford captures the successes of the NSA with clarity and admiration, but shows its bureaucratic bungling on occasion and its conflicts with other agencies for power and funding.

    The NSA of the 21st century is faced with new challenges. The focal point of its SIGINT and espionage operations during the Cold War was the Soviet Union.The Soviet Union's byzantine intelligence structure with its fixed bureaucracy advanced in technology at a snail's pace even with technological espionage and leaks.Every so often some turncoat politician or a bureaucrat in the U.S. State Department acquiesced in loosening technology transfer controls on exports, and Soviet technology would get a shot in the arm. Otherwise, the NSA didn't have to move very fast.But times have changed, and the communications revolution that has reached critical mass. So with the advent of fiber-optic connections, broadband and wireless technologies, the NSA is in a frenzied race to upgrade its technologies.NSA remains an albatross bureaucracy and concessions have been made that all 38,000 employees couldn't even receive an e-mail from the Director because there were so many separate e-mail systems.Yet with a focused target, the NSA has the most advanced electronic surveillance practices and capabilities in the world. A post 9/11 follow-up chapter was added analyzing the oversight that lead up to that terrifying day and the subsequent shake-up thereafter. At times Bamford really captivates the reader and overall this book makes for a fascinating weekend read.

    After 9/11, with the advent of Homeland Security, the concern for civil liberties abuse is obvious, as private citizens could become targets of surveillance. Also revelations have been made about the Clinton Administration utilizing the NSA for corporate espionage to help American interests against Airbus.More innovations like the Patriot Act provide the impetus for the NSA being more closely integrated with CIA, FBI, DIA, DEA, and other intelligence or law enforcement agencies. The Patriot Act leaves the NSA's previous prohibition against operating domestically in limbo, and it sets the stage for their counterintelligence and counter-terrorism activities within the U.S.

    "Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" -Juvenal ... Read more

    Isbn: 0385499078
    Subjects:  1. Cryptography    2. Electronic intelligence    3. History    4. History - Military / War    5. Intelligence Operations    6. Intelligence service    7. Military - Intelligence/Espionage    8. Military Science    9. National Security Agency    10. Political Freedom & Security - Intelligence    11. Political Science    12. Politics/International Relations    13. United States    14. Current Events / Government   

    Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion
    by Gary Webb
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 May, 1999)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
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    Editorial Review

    In July 1995, San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One--the blockbuster story every journalist secretly dreams about--without even looking for it. A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency. For several years during the 1980s, Webb discovered, Contra elements shuttled thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States, with the profits going toward the funding of Contra rebels attempting a counterrevolution in their Nicaraguan homeland. Even more chilling, Webb quickly realized, was that the massive drug-dealing operation had the implicit approval--and occasional outright support--of the CIA, the very organization entrusted to prevent illegal drugs from being brought into the United States.

    Within the pages of Dark Alliance, Webb produces a massive amount of evidence that suggests that such a scenario did take place, and more disturbing evidence that the powers that be that allowed such an alliance are still determined to ruthlessly guard their secrets. Webb's research is impeccable--names, dates, places, and dollar amounts gather and mount with every page, eventually building a towering wall of evidence in support of his theories. After the original series of articles ran in the Mercury-News in late 1996, both Webb and his paper were so severely criticized by political commentators, government officials, and other members of the press that his own newspaper decided it best not to stand behind the series, in effect apologizing for the assertions and disavowing his work. Webb quit the paper in disgust in November 1997. His book serves as both a complex memoir of the time of the Contras and an indictment of the current state of America's press; Dark Alliance is as necessary and valuable as it is horrifying and grim. --Tjames Madison ... Read more

    Reviews (39)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dark Alliance is a great read!
    This is not your average light weekend reading. This book is meat and potatoes and should be approached seriously and methodically. Webb not only back every bit of this book with meticulous sourcing and research, the book itself is laid out in a logical and unfolding manner. If even half of the evidence were given the book would still be very strong case for how 'alternative' methods of funding the Contras were at best ignored by the CIA. This is even more infuriating because of the fact that few families, that I know, have been spared the scourge of crack.

    It is most odd that Webb committed suicide by shooting himself in the head twice in late 2004. I am still trying to figure out how one does that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellence in journalism
    This well-researched book by the late American journalist Gary Webb stands out as among the best of what American journalism has had to offer in the last couple decades. It is a tragedy indeed that Mssr Webb literally had to sacrifice his life in uncovering this shocking story. May Seven Stories Press continue to publish this book for years to come -- and may this book continue to inspire young, up-and-coming journalists around the world to the highest standards of their craft for generations to come.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gary Webb killed 12-10-04

    The series, "Dark Alliances: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion," was controversial almost from the start.

    Even as newspapers nationwide carried versions of Mr. Webb's reporting and congressional leaders called for investigations, the CIA director at the time visited Los Angeles for an unprecedented town hall meeting with area residents at which he denied the allegations and was met with loud jeers.

    Three of the nation's leading newspapers, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, followed up with reports questioning Mr. Webb's conclusions, and eventually his own newspaper turned on him.

    In a letter to readers published in the Mercury News in May 1997, then-Executive Editor Jerry Ceppos told readers there had been problems with the series and that "we fell short at every step of our process - in the writing, editing and production of our work."

    Within a month of that note's publication, Mr. Webb told the Washington Post that he had been pulled off the story, and his editors had told him they would not publish his follow-ups.

    He also said he was fighting a transfer from the Sacramento bureau to a posting in Cupertino.

    By then, however, his fate at the Mercury News was sealed, and he left the paper that year, eventually taking a job with the Assembly.

    Mr. Webb later published a 548-page book based on his series, and in a 1998 interview with The Bee he said he still was befuddled over how he became notorious while the allegations in his stories were dismissed.

    "That is an amazing phenomenon," he said. "I'm still not exactly sure how that happened."
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 1888363932
    Subjects:  1. Criminology    2. Government - U.S. Government    3. Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement    4. Politics - Current Events    5. Social Science    6. Sociology    7. Sociology - General   


    The Secret Parts of Fortune : Three Decades of Intense Investigations and Edgy Enthusiasms
    by Ron Rosenbaum
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (19 June, 2001)
    list price: $18.00 -- our price: $12.24
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    Editorial Review

    One part intellectual and one part journalist, Ron Rosenbaum offers a thick book full of his writing from Esquire, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Observer (where he is currently a columnist). Perhaps not every selection will interest every reader--the diversity of topics is incredible--but there is probably something, or many things, for everyone in The Secret Parts of Fortune.

    An outstanding entry is an excerpt from his celebrated book Explaining Hitler. Other highlights include a hilarious interview with Robin Leach (entitled "The Frantic Screaming Voice of the Rich and Famous"), an explanation of why Murray Kempton "is the best prose writer in America," and a short history of computer hackers. One of Rosenbaum's finest pieces focuses on the cancer-cure underground: "False hope springs eternal," he writes, describing how phony cancer "cures seem to spring up and sweep the nation like religious revivals, a new one at least every decade." Yet he's sympathetic--or at least mildly understanding--of the motivations behind the fake healers: the movement isn't "composed mainly of cash-hungry charlatans and snake-oil salesmen eager to make an easy killing off the sufferings and hopes of cancer victims. In fact, among the healers, the prophets, and the alchemists, you find less greed than evangelical fervor--the rapturous conviction of religious visionaries."

    Rosenbaum is rougher with Bill Gates; he lights into the billionaire's fabled high-tech home, which he says "exhibits the distinctive feature of the totalitarian mind: the inability to distinguish between private and public spheres. It suggests this isn't just the way he wants to run his house, it's the way he wants to run the world: total surveillance, enforced entertainment, everyone isolated in programmable pods." Yet another standout is Rosenbaum's article on Kim Philby, the British intelligence officer who spied against his native land on behalf of the Soviets. Or did he? Rosenbaum considers the fascinating "possibility that Philby had been not a Soviet double agent but a British triple agent." And there's so much more. This rich book is full of provocative and gripping prose, and highly recommended. --John J. Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Must Read
    A blast! A quirky and original series of reports on subjects both profound and bizarre. But with a literate eye and a graceful tone that is engaging and riviting. These are terrific essays and together, they comprise a dazzling read.
    As good as it gets.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ron Makes Me Want to Live to 1,000 Years Old!
    That's how long it would take for me to fully explore every subject Ron Rosenbaum so expertly and adroitly takes on in this hefty volume.Rosenbaum is blessed with a wonderful gift...his writing makes even the most prosaic subject suddenly fascinating.Not that he often tackles prosaic subjects...Hitler, underground cancer cures, his cat Stumpy (okay, maybe that qualifies), Bill Gates' "compound," the Dead Sea Scrolls, Kim Philby, on and on...Ron hits them all and he does an amazing job of bringing them to glittering life. I keep a dictionary at hand whenever I open this book...I don't want to miss a single nuance of this remarkable journalist's craft.I don't often give a 5-star rating...in fact, this may be the first.Ron Rosenbaum deserves it.Bless you, Ron, for turning me onto a lifetime of further discovery and knowledge.Now where do I find that Fountain of Youth???

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very Dense
    I had never read Ron Rosenbaum before I purchased this book and while I don't love everything I've read so far, I do have a great deal of respect for Rosenbaum as a journalist. To put it simply: he's brilliant. It's so refreshing to read his work. He's one of the best journalists I've ever read and am so glad that amazon brought him to my attention.

    My problem with the book was that many of his essays just didn't grab me. The synopsis described several topics which I was sure would interest me but when I actually read them I found the writing style a bit dense and bogged down. I don't ever expect to like everything I read in collections. I particularly liked "The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal," as well as "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Hoax." This is the kind of compilation which I would not recommend attempting to read in one sitting. Smaller portions worked best for me. This is a wonderful collection of Rosenbaum's work, and while I haven't read them all yet, so far, so good. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060934468
    Subjects:  1. Essays    2. History - General History    3. Literary Collections    4. Literary Criticism    5. United States - 20th Century   


    The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence
    by Victor Marchetti, John D. Marks
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (12 June, 1974)
    list price: $16.95
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    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unmasking the CIA?
    If you believe that the authors were actually permitted to reveal the secrets contained in this book, it is monumental.

    But knowing "The Company", it is more likely that this work is some sort of 'controlled' leak, softening the blow for the revelations of the inevitable congressional investigations that followed in the aftermath of the Watergate fiasco, the death of J. Edgar Hoover, and the continuing insinuations implicating the CIA of complicity in everything from the murder of JFK, to secret, malevolent control over the war in SE Asia.

    Irrespective of ones' take on the voracity of the means of disclosure (whether legitimate whistle-blowing, or CIA damage control) this heavily-censored/redacted book ostensibly blew the lid off at CIA, with at least superficial examination of the structure, operations, methods, and mind-set of the U.S. intelligence apparatus. In the main, time has tended to validate this contents of this expose'.

    Out of print and hard to find, this book nonetheless remains must-reading for anyone interested in intelligence, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the defense of the Free World up to the early 1970s. Buy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No Better View of the Clandestine Mentality Exists
    This is one of perhaps ten books from prior to 1985 that I decided to include because of their continuing value.I believe that both history and historians will credit these two individuals with having made a differenceby articulating so ably both the clandestine mentality and the problemsextant in the lack of oversight regarding proprietary organizations,propaganda and disinformation, and intrusive not-so-clandestine operations.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "REVIELING"
    Professionals at work. This reviels it all. Don't read encyclopedias read crediable books by credible authors in the know. It teaches you the truth. Highly recommendeed by me and everybody else. Thanks for reading my review. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0394482395
    Sales Rank: 539750
    Subjects:  1. Central Intelligence Agency    2. Espionage    3. Nonfiction - True Crime / Espionage    4. U.S    5. U.S.    6. United States    7. United States.   

    The Big Book of Conspiracies (Factoid Books)
    by Doug Moench
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1995)
    list price: $14.95
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    Editorial Review

    In the past, I would roll my rapidly glazing eyes whenever I heard some formerly sensible person carrying the cudgels of conspiracy theories: you know the rants: the Trilateral Commission, CIA, FBI, Masons, and Secret Societies are all out to run the world and silence truth seekers with intimidation, death--or plankton up the nostrils--and it seems the body formerly inhabited by a friend is ready to board a ship to the moon.But then I came across this book, and I was stunned at the volume of detail and even facts that have been amassed by the obsessive believers in these seemingly wacko conspiracy theories.The most disturbing fact is that people investigating conspiracy theories seem to have the highest death rate of any profession -- other thanshark dentists.

    The editors adopt a sensible attitude: they do not claim that any interpretations in the book are necessarily true, but rather that these are truly things that conspiracy theorists have proposed.Note that this is a comic book of 39 tellings of almost as many conspiracy theories, but the comic-book medium in fact works very well. Recommended, unless some gruff voice calls me late at night and tells me to change my mind.... (Pssst: from the same people who brought you another Amazon.com Books favorite, The Big Book of Weirdos). --Jonathan Kochmer ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Big Book of GARBAGE.
    Full of Lies, Misstatements and Exagerations, all labeled TRUE.
    Save your money- if you want this sort of thing just search the web for free. Start with David Ickie, and if he doesn't put you off, you're hooked. God help your soul.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BEST READ!
    What a fun book to read! For all conspiracy theory nuts..don't miss this one! Jam packed with theories and done in great comic book format, just simply the best!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Predicted 9/11!!!
    ..or at least predicted that something similar to it would happen. Why? Because what better way for the government to control its people than to have them come running to said government in order to protect them from "hidden menaces" whether they be communists or islamic terrorists? Also, what better way to keep the military-indutstrial complex running than a need to battle these "threats to national security"?

    This is a brilliant book, especially in the way it changes its tone; it's dead serious when talking about RFK, JFK, MLK, Malcom X, and Odessa; takes a more humorous tone when discussing NASA, Hemp, and the Masons, and is downright silly when getting into the theory that aliens are our forerunners.

    But the serious stuff will definitely make you think and maybe even keep you up nights a la Jim Garrison in "JFK".It's that good. The books it references on conspiracies are highly recommended further reading.

    I can't believe that this book is out of print -- or that copies now cost upwards of $50! Could it be...a conspiracy? ... Read more

    Isbn: 1563891867
    Subjects:  1. Comic books, strips, etc    2. Conspiracies    3. Controversial Knowledge    4. General    5. Graphic Literature    6. New Age / Parapsychology    7. Sports    8. Sports & Recreation   

    The Illuminatus! Trilogy : The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan
    by Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 December, 1983)
    list price: $18.95 -- our price: $12.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (225)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I have seen the Fnords!
    This book truly plays with your head......big time!
    Don't be surprised if your brain hops out of your skull, does a dance on the table in front of you and hops back into your skull again, this is perfectly normal!
    After reading this work of 'Alleged Fiction' i'm still a bit confused, but love this book anyways.
    This book convinced me that being weird is OK.....I happened to realise now that I'm a Discordian at heart
    Hail Eris!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well written
    Other reviews address the content, significance, imagination etc.

    No one else has mentioned this yet, but I am most impressed with just the in-depth quality of the writing craft itself, once you get past some strange quirks, like the sudden jumps among different first- and third-person perspectives.

    Parts of it might read as if they are just "stream of consciousness", but they were certainly not all just streamed outthat way onto the page, without significant work ... when you step back, and look at the assembling/disassembling/re-assembling of so many intricate parts, into a twisted non-Euclidean curved pyramidal whole, the craft and work involved is quite impressive.

    Also having "been there" a few times, many years ago, I can say that their vivid verbal portrayals, of some extremely emotional psychedelic hallucinogenic schizoid states, are right on.

    (ignoring the actual content of the specific trip, I mean, just focusing on the verbal portrayal of the emotional state, it reads like something out of my own long-ago experiences, except that they are much better writers than I could hope to be, they actually managed to get it written down in words, in a reasonably effective way!)

    Plus, so many of the characters etc. are familiar from my youth, it is a huge nostalgia trip for me too, a nice ride through familiar old stomping grounds of my youth. That is, back around then, circa 1972, I was a 12-year old pre-pubescent H.P.Lovecraft freak, Abbie Hoffman freak, science fiction freak, etc., had a crazy mother totally into Atlantis and all that fernando POO, and at the same time also had friends in the neighborhood, who were into Aleister Crowley, Anton LaVey Satanism, etc. Consequently I knew a lot more about the Satanic Bible, for instance, than I ever did about any of the Christian/Jewish mis-translations.

    So, it's like, the story of my tribe, it's like I could have been a very minor character, in the book. And there are a lot of us wandering around, still dazed & confused out here somewhere at least in the back of our minds .... so I see, this book is for US.

    This is a book I SHOULD have read, back then when it was new. But that's OK, I lived it instead... and the book is still a great read, even today, over 30 years later.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mind is the traitor.Slay mind.
    First, let it be said that the Illuminatus! Trilogy is not an easy book for anyone to read unless they are familiar with the philosophy of Robert Anton Wilson.Anyone who wants to read this book should first read at the very least Prometheus Rising and Cosmic Trigger I beforehand.A familiarity with the concepts of Aleister Crowley, Georges Gurdjieff, Tim Leary, etc., would also be advisable.That said, here's the review.

    The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a combination of philosophy, science, occultism, and obscure ideas that is unlike anything I have read before.It's also a wonderful combination of fact and fiction, so the wise reader will enter with a skeptical but open mind.I say skeptical because they should not BELIEVE any of the novel, but they should be open to ideas because the novel will appall them otherwise.I guess you could actually say that being skeptical but open is the whole point of RAW's philosophy.

    The review from Rolling Stone on the page of reviews on the first page describes the novel as a "shaggy dog joke," and you won't really understand how true that is until you read the book.The basic storyline is the storyline that has been repeated throughout mythology and history: "good versus evil."Of course, being a RAW novel, sides get flipped and everybody seems to be a secret agent working for twenty four different conspiracies.It can basically be described as very funny and blasphemous in the best possible sense.Your basic view of "reality" will probably not survive this book.

    And, as a word to the wise (or the foolish), don't buy the paperback version of Illuminatus! that is available these days.Get a hardback copy; an 800 page paperback gets destroyed fairly easily, as I've come to find out. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0440539811
    Sales Rank: 12343
    Subjects:  1. Fantasy - General    2. Fiction    3. Fiction - Fantasy    4. Science Fiction - General    5. Science fiction, American    6. Fiction / Science Fiction / General   


    The Seventy Greatest Conspiracies of All Time: History's Biggest Mysteries, Coverups, and Cabals
    by Jonathan Vankin, John Whalen
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 October, 1998)
    list price: $19.95
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    Editorial Review

    The book may claim to chronicle the "greatest conspiracies of all time," but there's a decidedly 20th-century bent to Vankin and Whalen's compilation--not that there's anything wrong with that. Many of their selections are familiar territory--the Kennedy and King assassinations, government suppression of UFO data, questions about Marilyn Monroe's suicide--but this edition has been updated to include information on more recent events like the death of Princess Diana and the Oklahoma City bombing. (Although not without some disheartenment: "Back in the good ol' days when conspiracy theorists were still considered crackpots," they lament, "it actually took some kind of evidence to get this kind of frenzy under way.... Now anytime some poor sap dies every frat boy with an Internet account races to be the first in his quad to post the conspiracy of the moment.") The individual essays are written in savvy, journalistic prose, and the authors freely admit that they don't have the answers to any of these mysteries. But that's part of the entertainment value of such historical paranoia--you're always free to imagine some new twist. ... Read more

    Reviews (28)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Several years later, and I STILL re-read it!
    Especially in the post-9\11 world of intrigue, The 70 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time is by far one of the best tomes ever committed to print.It has nearly EVERTHING: the first Gulf War(where the name Enron mysteriously appears), MK-ULTRA, Roswell, the Men in Black(the "real" ones), fluoridation, and of course the assassinations of the Kennedys.With humor and self-awareness, Johnathan Vankin and John Whalen take you on a bizarre yet all-too-real trip through the foggy underbelly(can an underbelly be foggy?) of conspiracy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars You know...I am stunned by the interest,, good and bad
    Despite the rather weak title (it put me off a little - and there ware only 60 then) I read this book from cover to cover, and while I know most of the speculation involving these "deep political processes" (I much prefer Peter Dale Scott's distinction between the two), I was stunned by the level of knowledge and real research and committment here. Forget the history teacher that gave 1 star for lack of research - that is laughable. To even make 60 cases for intregue (now 70) and make them well and coherently says a whole lot. My hat is off to the authors for the Pan Am 103 expose. If it ever does come out properly, that could outrage a whole new section of a 'silent but skepticle public'. Notice Qadaffi, now America's new lap dog. INFORMATION is power, and guys like binLaden, Hussein, and Qadaffi have a whole bunch of it. Drugs; the covering and "doubling" of the runners; the huge illegal profits which can be funneled around the Legislative Laws of the Land. These are at the heart of the tragedy of Pan Am 103. My point is that we need to get middle-minded, middle-class, good, bright, loyal Americans to start to take some of this stuff seriously. May I humbly suggest losing the word "conspiracy" - I know that it sells books, but it is the rope which is being used to hang and invalidate the concept of "deep political process". The authors make real valid points with what most people know is fishy, 'cause they've heard about it: MK/ULTRA, the October Suprise - which I think went further than anyone has dreamed. My view is that Carter was sabatauged WHEN the hostages were "TAKEN" - oh...just another American 'asleep at the wheel" intelligence failure? C'mon, we did the same thing with the same cast to Iran and through Iran not but 20 some years earlier. Carter gets screwed by his CIA (bumblers, huh?) much like Dulles ****ed Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs, much like BOTH Dulleses did to Eisenhower every time he tried to make a detente move. The pattern is there and it is well documented - forget that the hostages came home the day the Gipper was sworn in...think about how IMPOTANT Carter was made out to be. Look at the results - No-one gets hurt, the Contras get their arms, we get our "hostages" (and our drugs, and cash) and Carter loses by the biggest landslide since Goldwater disappeared. OK, I'm off topic again. Sorry. This book is So well researched, that I am suprised it is still in print, Seriously. Gore Vidal's Essays from 1992-2000 have been discontinued at public libraries. This is getting very Orwellian. I guarantee you'll find something her that makes you pause. I can only guess what the new 10 are...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sleep well my child, for everything's fine out there...
    Ah here's another book destined to disgust the orthodox thinkers of this world who insist everything is clear-cut out there. If you belong to that caste you need not bother with the book or this review. The rest do read on.
    Basically, this book is the musical industry's equivalent of a "best of". While seasoned conspiracy theorists will tell you that there's definately more than 70 conspiracies that need listing this is not the aim of this book.
    What it aims at is to serve you with a summary of the top conspiracy material circulating planet earth and poke you on to do the rest of your reading yourself (or should i say the rest of your thinking?).
    What you get is a short summary for each of the 70 conspiracy theories listed here. They seem to be well researched too for anyone with a deeper reference to all these theories.
    True, most of the stuff being "investigated" here belong to the really glorified conspiracy theories, and, it's very probable you've heard or read them somewhere before: aliens, area 51, mind control programs, JFK, machurian candidates, secret weapons to name but a few.
    The writting is very entertaining especially since the authors don't omit to add their own touches of sarcastic scepticism to some of the most extreme theories they involve.
    More addvanced students of conspiracy lore (if you want to call it that) will probably not be satisfied here as this book is nothing more than a very dense presemtation of the "facts".
    But, if you are just starting to get into this kinda stuff this book is a cool start as it will smoothly and effectively introduce you to the trenchcoated world within your world.
    And if some of the theories presented here seem a bit "too far out" for your tastes just remember that "nothing is really as it seems" whether you believe in conspiracy theories or not.
    Reality is not monodimensional anyway, and neither is the level of reality that we humans can interfere with.
    Or are we humans to start with? But no, i better not get into that one.. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0806520337
    Subjects:  1. Conspiracies    2. Crime And Criminals    3. History    4. History - General History    5. History: World    6. Miscellanea    7. Modern - 20th Century    8. Reference   

    Mindhunter : Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
    by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 August, 1996)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    Mindhunter enters the minds of some of the country's most notorious serial killers to tell the real-life story of the Investigative Support Unit (ISU) -- the FBI's special force that has assisted state and local police in cracking some of the country's most celebrated serial murder and rape cases. The unit specializes in understanding the chemistry and mechanical workings of the brain's of these serial criminals, and did its homework by interviewing such murderers as Charles Manson and David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam). John Douglas, who worked for the FBI for 25 years, is an authority on the unit, and his book combines the best of nonfiction with that of a murder mystery. ... Read more

    Reviews (154)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Crime fighters best resource
    First in a three part series describing the creation of the Investigative Support Unit (ISU) of the FBI which profiled cases involving serial killers and rapists.Immaculate detail given for each case as well as `psychological fingerprints' that allow law enforcement to catch most of the suspects.Cases covered include the Green Rivers killer, Susan Smith and the Atlanta Child Murder case.Well written and easily to understand, a real page turner.Not for the faint of heart or anyone offended by graphic descriptions or language.

    5-0 out of 5 stars How to spot dragons before they hatch
    I bought Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, for research purposes.I'm writing a book about playing the "good guys" who hunt typical movie slashers, and this book seemed like a good introduction into how the ESCU works to catch the bad guys.What I got was something else entirely.

    John Douglas is a very scary man.He's someone who has seen far too many horrific crimes, such that they affect him personally-when his kids scrape their knees, Douglas recounts tales of children torn in half by a murderer.When his wife cuts her finger with a kitchen knife, he points out how the spatter pattern would tell a story about what happened.Ultimately, this sort of exposure leads to a divorce and Douglas is upfront about the damage his profession did to his job.

    The book starts out with Douglas in the hospital, the victim of being overworked and without enough manpower to help him.Near death, he recounts the creation of the ESCU and his struggles in making the profiling of serial killers (he invented the term) a legitimate profession.But it does not go into much detail as to how the ESCU works.In fact, it's more about Douglas and about the murderers themselves.

    And what a ghastly rogues gallery it is!We have serial killers who invent vigilante groups to cover their tracks, we have killers who like to fly prostitutes out to woodlands and then hunt them down like deer, killers who believe God is telling them to kill people, and killers who strangle, rape, drown, and stab.

    I read "Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies" at the same time and found an odd juxtaposition between the two books.Legacy of Blood states that the comfort of slasher flicks is that the bad guy is easily recognized by his disgusting appearance and his sudden attacks, when in reality serial killers often look like normal people and torture their victims for hours.

    Not true, according to Mindhunter.Indeed, many of the killers are degenerate slimeballs, incapable of social contact and forced to use blitz-style attacks against the weak and helpless because of their inadequacies.Many have severe stutters, bad acne, or some other disfigurement.Nearly all have been abused in some fashion by their parents.

    By now, the serial killer traits are well known: bed wetting, fire starting, and torturing small animals.But Douglas makes it clear that in every case, it's the child's upbringing that so horribly warps them to a life of murder.There are no strong role models to stop these children from turning into monsters; indeed, when children fall into the cracks, serial killers are what sometimes crawl out of them.

    Unfortunately, exactly how Douglas comes to his conclusions is a lot like magic.Despite all of his attempts to legitimize what he does, his efforts amount to "and then magic happens!" Then Douglas comes up with a startling accurate profile.He never lets us know when he's wrong. That's a minor quibble with a book that I couldn't put down.

    Mindhunter is as much a cautionary tale as it is a woeful biography of Douglas' life.Only one of the victims actually manages to turn the tables on their assailant.And in just about every other case, the killers were on murder sprees that lasted years with dozens of victims.As Douglas puts it, "sometimes the dragon wins."

    As an author, this book gave me a host of ideas on how the good guys and the bad guys work. As a citizen of the United States, it gave me a new appreciation for the FBI.As a husband, it gave me a healthy regard for the mentally disturbed. A must read for anyone who wants to understand how to spot the dragons before they hatch.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Don't bother reading this book
    I believe this is my second John Douglas book and although I enjoyed the first one, this one was rather boring.I still haven't finished reading it.Douglas put too much of his own personal life in this book and as always he likes to praise himself , things I don't care for.He jumps around too much in this book and it sometimes get's confusing. If you like John Douglas don't buy this book. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0671528904
    Subjects:  1. Criminal investigation    2. Criminology    3. Murder - General    4. Nonfiction - True Crime / Espionage    5. Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement    6. Psychology    7. Serial murder investigation    8. Serial murderers    9. Social Science    10. Sociology    11. United States    12. Biography & Autobiography / General   


    Journey Into Darkness (Lisa Drew Books (Paperback))
    by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1997)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    Some authors are worth reading because of their area of expertise, even when their objectivity may be questionable. This is true of John Douglas, who follows up his Mindhunter with another assortment of his observations and opinions from his ex-job as the FBI's top expert on constructing behavioral profiles of criminals. This book contains several passages of interest: a detailed discussion of the modus operandi versus the "signature" of a murder, and how each relates to motive; thoughts on how the press and the public can be used to flush out a killer; a taxonomy of pedophiles, with a chapter on how to protect children from them; a detailed analysis of the savage sex-murder of a female Marine; a profile of the Nicole Simpson/Ron Goldman killer; and a report on how the courts are handling behavioral testimony. Always biased, often egotistical, but uniquely experienced--that's Douglas. ... Read more

    Reviews (60)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Art of Detecting Serial Killers
    This book explains his career as a criminal profiler for the FBI. John Douglas solved unusual kinds of crimes done by those who kill or rape or torture because they enjoy it. Profiling requires "creative-type thinkers", not accounting or engineering types. They must work well both alone and in groups. They need good judgment based on instinct, which can't be defined in an objective nature. Douglas says serial killers are mostly made, not born. Most come from broken or dysfunctional homes, and are victims of some type of abuse. Real-life killers were used as models for "The Silence of the Lambs", "Red Dragon", and "Psycho". The modus operandi is what the offender does, the signature is why he does it (that doesn't change). Virtually all multiple killers are male. Chapter 2 gives an example of solving murders where there was only a vague eyewitness description.

    Chapter 3 shows many examples where profiling was used to describe the habits of killers. Chapter 4 tells of more cases, some of which will never be dramatized for TV as they are too horrible. Chapter 5 deals with pedophiles. One warning sign would be a man whose house has games and amusements that appeal to children. Chapter 6 tells of the possible dangers to young children. One example is the murder of Megan Kanka. It doesn't tell you that her murderer was released from prison against all advice because a new governor wanted to cut costs. Fast footwork by propagandists made it appear to be the fault of the parents since "they didn't know". I wonder if this law affected the crime rate? Chapter 7 tells of the Collins family; its too long. Chapter 8 tells of the murder of Suzanne Collins, a sad tragedy. Chapter 9 tells of the after-effects on Suzanne's parents, and their support group. Chapter 10 is about the savage murder of a wife and her two girls. It established the use of criminal profiling at trials. Chapter 11 tells about the crimes of a rapist-murderer near Arlington Va. [Was this the inspiration for Patricia Cornwell's "Post Mortem"?] When they noted a 3-year gap in the crimes, they looked for someone who had been in prison for burglary; they found a likely suspect. This suspect was convicted, the first person in the world to be executed on the basis of DNA evidence.

    Chapter 12 is about the unsolved murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. John Douglas was not called in by the police and the prosecutors, but has formed a strong opinion of the case. [Ever notice how many people's opinions are set by the first news and can never consider the facts in the case?] Note that his discussion of the attack omits the fact that two different knives were used (autopsy report). Douglas talked of the "widespread conspiracy" argument, but didn't read Steven Singular's "Legacy of Deception" which tells how a journalist in Denver got news about the LAPD! The timeline says O. J. Simpson is innocent. The limo driver arrived at 10:22 and saw no one enter or leave until the 11pm trip to the airport. Any evidence like a glove or blood drops had to be planted the next day. Ron Goldman was 5'9" and 175 lbs. His unexpected visit to Nicole's place put him in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nicole had been involved with another man who was 5'9", 175 lbs, but a few years older. In the dark the killers attacked the wrong man, then the witness who came out of the house. If her boyfriend then went into hiding, then that would confirm this theory.

    Chapter 13 gives the authors views on crime and punishment. Rehabilitation which makes a good guy out of a bad guy is best. But some offenders can never be rehabilitated and must be isolated from society. Capital punishment prevents the worst from recommitting their crimes. But the problem is to be sure those convicted are truly guilty. Criminals are manufactured from a poor home life. [But isn't this the result of poverty in many cases?] The problem is apparently without a practical solution.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sequel to Mindhunter
    John Douglas continues showing the inside of the criminal mind in Journey. High Profile cases like O.J. Simpson are included.Other cases are also included that are not as well known such as Suzanne Collins, a Marine killed by a civilian on post.As with the first installment, not for the faint of heart or anyone offended by graphic descriptions or language.Well written and easily to understand, a real page turner.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A real Journey into Darkness
    I have been an avid true crime reader for several years although this is the first book that I have read by John E. Douglas. This book makes you see the darkness that a lot of people seem to have inside and what they are prepared to do to realise their fantasies whatever the cost. I was not able to put down this book even though it filled me with anxiety and sadness because the title is true - he really does take you on a journey into Darkness, although John Douglases telling of these brutal cases is masterly. He explains even the most complicated of theories in a way that is understandable to all. After reading this book I have already ordered his other books and can't wait for them to be delivered. Gripping stuff!!! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0671003941
    Subjects:  1. Criminal investigation    2. Forensic Science    3. Murder - General    4. Nonfiction - True Crime / Espionage    5. Psychology    6. Serial murder investigation    7. Serial murderers    8. Sociology    9. United States    10. True Crime / General   


    The New York Trilogy: City of Glass, Ghosts, the Locked Room (Contemporary American Fiction Series)
    by Paul Auster
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 December, 1994)
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (77)

    5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF A KIND!
    The novels that make up Paul Auster's New York Trilogy are notable for their brevity, inclusion of relatively extraneous material, and chronicling the main character's disintegration. In each of the three, the detector (a mystery writer enrolled as a detective, a detective watching a writer, and a writer trying to find his childhood friend who has made him his literary executor) becomes obsessed, his previous life cracking up.

    In the last (The Locked Room) he recovers. In the middle one (Ghosts) he perhaps kills his quarry. In the first (City of Glass) he is cared for after his dissolution (suggesting that in all three, the detector is engaged by his quarry, though in the first one it remains unclear whether the wife is an agent for her father-in-law who is tailed by Quinn).

    Auster's detective's remorseless quest for answers destroys their lives: All the questioning makes them implode.

    Auster's detectives (and, surely, Auster himself) are very concerned with inscription: the notebook of the first, both the reports of surveillance and what Black is writing in the second, the texts Fanshawe left behind and the biography of him that never gets written in the third. Auster seems to be a postmodernist who believes in the lives of authors -- unraveling Don Quixote, recalling incidents in the life of Walt Whitman, disquisitions on Hawthorne and an unliterary reader's reading of Walden; the characters of The Locked Room have names from Hawthorne and enact a variant of the Hawthorne story related in Ghosts. (He also manages to tell the story of "Out of the past" and work in a Brooklyn Dodger game from Jackie Robinson's first season and to use many names of former New York Mets players for his characters.)

    Is it metafiction? (Metamystery?) Or a very literature-obsessed writer playing with the mystery genre? Probably some of both. Epistemological mysteries. The most explicit statement of ultimate unknowability is: "We exist for ourselves, perhaps, and at times, even have a glimmer of who we are, but in the end we can never be sure, and as our lives go on, we become more and more opaque to ourselves, more and more aware of our incoherence." (p. 368).

    Ghosts irritated me and I almost didn't read the last and best of the three novels as a result. Its aftertaste is better than its taste while chewing (reading) it. The Locked Room seems less coolly stylized, with less abstract characters.

    Fanshawe has many experiences from Auster's life (as revealed in his recent account of making money to write). The super boy idealized by all, he is eventually indicted for lacking heart. Inhuman is not how even the coolest Auster prose strikes me. I don't think that he lacks compassion, but I have to think that he is concerned about lacking feeling. Not just in cannibalizing life in writing but in being incapable of love. Admittedly, this is reading a lot into the book. A fear of cracking up from observing too closely would be a more obvious moral of all three.

    Anyway, as you can see I became totally absorbed in this book. Buy a copy of New York Trilogy -- you'll be happy. Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Auster, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition," a funny, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a Columbia degree gone postmodern
    Auster's work can be divided into two periods: his novels and meditations before "Timbuktu" and his novels after "Timbuktu". Personally, i think that Auster's later works don't live up to the ambitions and brilliance exhibited in his earlier novels.
    "The New York Trilogy" is Auster's first published novel. Its content reflects a literary mind that is to be reckoned with. Auster weaves together various genres (particularly, elements of the detective novel) with complex narrative techniques and postmodern formulas.
    The three novellas becomes a literary search for a lost object, a person, the self. We constantly encounter the cracks and voids consistent with our culture. mostly, we end up with nothing substantial, but we can't let go of the feeling that we have gained something.
    Although Auster draws from American and non-American classics the "New York Trilogy" remains a postmodern work. there are echoes of Cervantes, Hawthorne, the 'Bible', Freudian doubleness, Oedipus, etc...
    This book contains so much. It is as if Auster put in the entire repertoire of a Columbia education in literature into this novel. It will not go away for a long time afetr you have finished it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible Meta-fiction!!!!!
    Taken cumulatively, Paul Auster's "New York Trilogy" is one of the most amazing books I've read in a long time. No matter how much of a seasoned reader you are, these three novellas make you look at the very act of reading in a completely new light.

    Perhaps the most incredible feat accomplished here is how the thematic material echoes throughout each page and between novellas. Everything from detective conventions to names to literary authors to images weave and flow throughout these works changing and gaining in import each time like a Bachian theme and variations.

    Even when things don't seem to go as smoothly, the results are thought-provoking. For instance, I was a bit put off by the end of "City of Glass." However, this feeling of dissatisfaction in light of such a metafictional text made me question myself - why was I dissatisfied? I discovered that I expect some sort of minimal optimism at the conclusion of texts - even if it's a tragedy, at least it should in its negation show something life-affirming. This is eventually accomplished even for the end of "Glass" once one views it in context of the whole trilogy, but even if it hadn't been, forcing me to confront my own expectations has been invaluable!

    These are works in which every word has been carefully judged yet nothing seems ponderous or overstated. The language is simple, direct and incredibly clear and concise. One comes across a book like this rarely - do yourself a favor and devour it!
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140131558
    Sales Rank: 10120
    Subjects:  1. City and town life    2. Fiction    3. Fiction - General    4. New York    5. New York (N.Y.)    6. New York (State)    7. Short Stories (single author)    8. Short stories    9. Social life and customs   


    The Exile
    by William Kotzwinkle, William Kotzwinkler
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 April, 1998)
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $12.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Odd. Magnificent, but Odd.
    William Kotzwinkle is and always has been an astonishingly talented writer. From the early days of "Swimmer in the Secret Sea" through to this book, Kotzwinkle has gone from genre to genre and strength to strength, apparently without anyone much ever really noticing.

    This is a pity. Kotzwinkle deserves to be noticed, and feted, and buried in large denomination bills, for one very simple reason. Kotzwinkle is one of the best and most consistent literary talents that the world has at present, and this book, "THE EXILE" is no exception.

    The story is simple enough. (And I will not spoil it here) A major Hollywood film star starts hallucinating. He hates it, and tries to keep it a secret from the people around him. The hallucinations get worse, and more detailed, and soon the fabric of reality itself starts to fray, even by Hollywood standards.

    The interesting thing with this book though is the way that a really rather conventional story is treated by the writer. There is practically no blood or violence and no histrionics or "drama." Just the inescapable feeling that the main character is trapped like a bug on flypaper. If Stephen King had written this book, (and he could have) it would have scared the beejeezus out of the average reader, who would then have felt that they had "got good value for money" before promptly forgetting that they had read it. Kotzwinkle's unique voice makes "The Exile" something far greater, and far more rare. "The Exile" is one of those books that will live on in your mind, and continue to deliver that same dreamlike fear years after you have read it.

    This book is a good starter to Kotzwinkle's ouvre, and a perfect example of why some books are classics and the vast majority a waste of paper. It isn't the subject matter.

    It's the story teller.

    Simply magnificent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Novel Yet
    This is definetly his best book yet. Dr. Rat is his funniest, but this is his best. The ending is awsome, and an unexpected twist. Definetly five stars!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Surprise
    I really like this author. I cannot exactly determine why, but he touches me. Until lately, I have not known about this book and have not read it (it was first published in 1987). It consists of a combination of humor, romance and horror - a groove thing. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1569247285
    Sales Rank: 633918
    Subjects:  1. Action & Adventure    2. Fiction    3. Fiction - General    4. General    5. Popular American Fiction   


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