James Flory's MEMORY-HOLED BOOK REVIEWS

The Majority is Always Wrong.

Category: Biographies

THE ROTHSCHILDS by Frederic Morton

A lot of fluff here, a lot of celebrity worship, and a few tidbits of fascinating historical information. It is written like a much expanded version of People magazine.

I wanted more about these people–more of their dirt. Everybody knows the Rothschild’s have a lot of dirt in their history; everybody but the kind of folks who read People magazine and get their news from the mainstream disinformation media.

You get a couple grains of sand in this volume, like the momentous and infamous moment in history where Nathan Rothschild cornered the British stockmarket after the Battle of Waterloo via a brilliantly Machiavellian shenanigan for which, along with his many other crimes against humanity, his trembling spirit will someday be swept into the Lake of Fire by Our Lord. Not even the author(s?) of this book could whitewash this well-known stain upon the history of the Rothschild Crime Family, though of course, as this reader anticipated, even this sinful act of high thievery was recounted in a tone of barely concealed admiration.

This book is basically useless. It’s mainstream corporate propaganda. Consider yourself warned.

Rating: Don’t Bother
9/2008

Advertisements

A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY by Kurt Vonnegut

This little book of recent vintage (written not too long before Vonnegut died) is probably the closest Kurt Vonnegut ever came to publishing a memoir. It is a list of Vonnegut’s thoughts on several contemporary issues; issues dealing with politics, modern morality and such. It has long been this reader’s opinion that the late Vonnegut had a similar personality type to the late comedian George Carlin, and everything in this book–all the satirical quips and often profound insights, the occasional hilarity–would seem to confirm this observation.

Unfortunately, like Carlin and myriad other modern very liberal types, Vonnegut only halfway “gets it.” For the only thing sadder in this book than the contemporary America and Americans which are lampooned and insulted is the fact that, after 80-some odd years of life on this planet, the best solution Kurt Vonnegut could come up with for America’s woes is a massive dose of more socialism. Indeed, the famous/infamous socialist leader Eugene Debs is given paean after eulogistic paean in several sections here.

Ugh. How sad. Vonnegut, you were one of the best novelists of the 20th century, and you may have been the best short story writer of said century, but when it comes to the way things really are, you just didn’t get it, bro. Although you sure did come a lot closer than the average idiot.

Rating: Δ Δ
1/2009

GEORGE BUSH: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY by Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin

A must read. America is doomed. Oligarch puppets like the Bush dynasty are facilitating that process of doom. International financiers–the same ones who financed the Nazis–run this nation, and amoral devils, dressed up as “points of light” are taking us down the road to perdition and total collapse. Chaitkin and particularly Tarpley are perhaps cointelpro-backed profiteering mountebanks who are not to be trusted in certain other areas, but here their research is impeccably thorough and compelling. If only more Americans knew this stuff; if only more Americans would read instead of watch the idiot box.

It does need to be said, however, that there is a large admixture of disinformation mixed in here, and it stems from the authors’ LaRouchian ties: They write glowingly and often about the exploits of this mythical, legendary figure Lyndon LaRouche, as though LaRouche is the single stalwart, uber-virtuous person on earth who stands as the powerful arch-nemesis of the Bushes—frankly, Tarpley and Chaitkin write as though LaRouche should wear a red cape and have a big “S” on his chest. Folks, this is the part of the book you need to toss out: Have some discernment, please don’t be an idiot. If you can’t do that, then stay the heck away from this book, it will only confuse you otherwise.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ
12/2005

THE C.S. LEWIS HOAX by Kathryn Lindskoog

Christian philosopher C.S. Lewis had many interests but none of those interests had anything to do with temporal financial dealings, and one of many financially foolish things Lewis did in his lifetime was to leave the management of his literary estate to two friends who had neither the experience nor the time to manage it. After Lewis died, these two friends disburdened themselves of this obligation at the very first opportunity, and that opportunity came along very quickly, in the form of an American student named Walter Hooper, who had occasionally visited Lewis in the last summer of Lewis’s life.

If Lindskoog is right–and she makes a very strong case–then this Hooper fellow was, at best, an unscrupulous stalker of Lewis, who managed to infiltrate the world of the object of his obsession, taking advantage of the confusion of the time right after C.S. Lewis’s sudden death, and who has subsequently managed to re-write certain histories about himself and about Lewis, as well as smearing the reputation of Lewis’s beloved brother along with way.

Also, though Lindskoog nowhere wonders about this, it is this reader’s opinion that the possibility that Hooper was working as a spy for a certain “religious” order needs to be considered.

Pick up any C.S. Lewis book nowadays and there will without fail be in it an introduction written by this Walter Hooper fellow. And in it Hooper will never fail to aggrandize himself and lionize his relationship to Lewis. But if you look at the letters of Lewis’s brother in the days right after C.S. Lewis’s death, as Lindskoog shows, then you see that Lewis’s brother was in fact deeply alarmed by the sudden intrusion into, and the co-opting of, the Lewis estate by this young, barely recognizable American student, and Warren Lewis, in no small measure due to his own alcoholism, was frustrated by his inability to stop it from happening.

Hooper has profited immensely ever since then from his apparent usurpation in the 1960s of the C.S. Lewis estate, and he continues to wield all power over which academics get permission to quote Lewis and have access to Lewis’s archives–this despite the fact that it is now known that Hooper flat out lied about his relationship to Lewis, greatly embellishing it, fabricating events that never occured.
Lindskoog exposes all this in a very detective-like prose which makes for a very stimulating read. If there is any fault with this work it is that Lindskoog poses many more questions than she can factually answer.

However, there are occasions in this book when her constant question-raising is more than justified: Like when she asks whether or not the novel The Dark Tower was in fact written by C.S. Lewis. The Dark Tower was supposedly Lewis’s last and posthumous novel, which only Hooper was able to produce for the world. However, as Lewis afficiados already know, The Dark Tower is a very suspicious book because it contains doctrines which conflict with the belief system Lewis espoused in all his other works. The Dark Tower is also widely regarded as being of an inferior literary quality. So, Lindskoog adds a huge amount of justification to the suspicions of many that this Hooper fellow simply produced a counterfeit when he foisted this book on the world and called it Lewis’s. Disturbingly, this wasn’t the only time that Hooper “discovered” forgotten “Lewis writings” or “revisions.”

This is a real conundrum this book presents as it seems there is nothing that can be done about any of this now, even if Lindskoog is correct. But if that’s the case then Lindskoog has performed a great service by alerting Lewis fans of this Hooper fellow and what he seems to have pulled off. Let God deal with him. Ouch.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
4/2008

MELVILLE: HIS WORLD AND WORK by Andrew Delbanco

Had Herman Melville been around for the 20th century it wouldn’t have taken nearly as long as it did for his genius to be recognized. In the 1800s, he was clearly ahead of his time, his themes anticipating the 1900s–themes like megalomaniacal despotism (Moby Dick), the near-total loss of honor and truth in a world full of deception (Pierre), innocent sinlessness vs. total depravity (“Billy Budd”), the collision between human liberties and hierarchical societal order (“Billy Budd”), and the pointlessness of modern urban life (“Bartleby, the Scrivener”).

        Unfortunately, apparently Melville didn’t leave behind many extant writings, letters, or other documents with which to easily build a proper biography of the man. The man was nothing if not enigmatic in his life, and he remains so today. But this author, Delbanco, has written a commendable biography of the man nevertheless, scouring through what little documentation is available, at times making reasonable inferences to fill in gaps. He begins with Melville’s immediate antecedents, then briefly speaks of Melville’s upbringing, his fleeting sailing adventures as a young man, his early though mild literary success (with the delightful adventure novel Typee), his slow, inexorable declining literary success during his lifetime as his lofty literary aims overshot the heads of his American readers, the many tragedies in his life (note: the most moving, and quite reasonable, inference the author makes is when he infers that Melville consciously or subconsciously created the doomed, angelic, eponymous protagonist of “Billy Budd” to be an amalgam of his two lost sons), and finally the overwhelming posthumous Melville revival of the 20th century.

        Melville may never have declared his faith in Jesus Christ either publically or even privately, but according to this author Melville was in fact a spiritual questor who was greatly bothered by the onrushing tide of the godless religion of “scientific naturalism” that swept into vogue everywhere around him in the 1800s. Near the end of his life, Delbanco writes that Melville seemed deeply troubled by what he came to believe was the loss of credibility in the miracles and mysteries of the Scriptures according to the newly enshrined materialistic worldview.  This was a most interesting take on Melville.

        The bottom line: This author is a fine writer; this book is a real page-turner. If someone wants to know about the life of Herman Melville, this is an excellent place to start.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
6/2011