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Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put it in the White House & What Their Influence Means for America

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The long-hidden story of a family we thought we knew—and of a power-making apparatus that we have barely begun to comprehend. After eight disastrous years, George W. Bush leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Russ Baker asks the question that lingers even as this benighted administration winds down: Who really wanted this man at the hel The long-hidden story of a family we thought we knew—and of a power-making apparatus that we have barely begun to comprehend. After eight disastrous years, George W. Bush leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Russ Baker asks the question that lingers even as this benighted administration winds down: Who really wanted this man at the helm of the country, and why did his backers promote him despite his obvious liabilities and limitations? This book goes deep behind the scenes to deliver an arresting new look at George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, their family, and the network of figures in intelligence, the military, finance, and oil who enabled the family's rise to power. Baker's exhaustive investigation reveals a remarkable clan whose hermetic secrecy and code of absolute loyalty have concealed a far-reaching role in recent history that transcends the Bush presidencies. Baker offers new insights into lingering mysteries—from the death of John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon's downfall in Watergate. Here, too, are insider accounts of the backroom strategizing, and outright deception, that resulted in George W. Bush's electoral success. Throughout, Baker helps us understand why we have not known these things before. Family of Secrets combines compelling narrative with eye-opening revelations. It offers the untold history of the machinations that have shaped American politics over much of the last century.


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The long-hidden story of a family we thought we knew—and of a power-making apparatus that we have barely begun to comprehend. After eight disastrous years, George W. Bush leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Russ Baker asks the question that lingers even as this benighted administration winds down: Who really wanted this man at the hel The long-hidden story of a family we thought we knew—and of a power-making apparatus that we have barely begun to comprehend. After eight disastrous years, George W. Bush leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Russ Baker asks the question that lingers even as this benighted administration winds down: Who really wanted this man at the helm of the country, and why did his backers promote him despite his obvious liabilities and limitations? This book goes deep behind the scenes to deliver an arresting new look at George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, their family, and the network of figures in intelligence, the military, finance, and oil who enabled the family's rise to power. Baker's exhaustive investigation reveals a remarkable clan whose hermetic secrecy and code of absolute loyalty have concealed a far-reaching role in recent history that transcends the Bush presidencies. Baker offers new insights into lingering mysteries—from the death of John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon's downfall in Watergate. Here, too, are insider accounts of the backroom strategizing, and outright deception, that resulted in George W. Bush's electoral success. Throughout, Baker helps us understand why we have not known these things before. Family of Secrets combines compelling narrative with eye-opening revelations. It offers the untold history of the machinations that have shaped American politics over much of the last century.

30 review for Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put it in the White House & What Their Influence Means for America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Hogue

    In November 2000, I was a college senior, had just finished a bot of homemade chilli and were enjoying the company of my best friends as we watched the election returns come in. Like others of our countrymen, we celebrated when the projections pitched toward Gore as the victor. Then we settled in for the long nightmare that continued throughout the recount and the Supreme Court selection. My heart began to beat differently in December of 2000, instead of "I LOVE AMERICA!" it began to be "Oh No A In November 2000, I was a college senior, had just finished a bot of homemade chilli and were enjoying the company of my best friends as we watched the election returns come in. Like others of our countrymen, we celebrated when the projections pitched toward Gore as the victor. Then we settled in for the long nightmare that continued throughout the recount and the Supreme Court selection. My heart began to beat differently in December of 2000, instead of "I LOVE AMERICA!" it began to be "Oh No America!" and it has beat that way ever since. I thought I was being paranoid, just being partisian, just being a sore loser for a long time. Then it dawned on me. I was being a patriot, a freedom loving American who at that time only SENSED the dark days ahead but wasn't prepared for it. In 2003, I debated, argued, fought tooth and nail for people to see that Iraq had no 9/11 connections, no WMDs, only a Bush man (Saddam) in office. I wrote a letter to the local paper, received death threats, hate mail and I believe I was followed by some spooks believe it or not. This book vindicates me for all my heartaches. For everyone that received the Dan Rather treatment, got Dixie Chicked, Freedom Fried, Bill Mahered or otherwise in those years, this book is your vindication, too. You weren't being partisian, paranoid or pessimistic. You were right. I was right and this book takes you step by step through the years about why, as Jesse Jackson said that the 2000 convention, that we need to STAY OUT THE BUSHES. GREAT read, quick and to the point. I thought about diagramming it for friends but figured out that was not possible. I have vowed to never discuss politics with ANYONE again that hasn't read this book. It's entirely a waste of time. The thing is - not only did the Bushes play the Democrats and the American people but this book details the fact that they play the Republican party, too. They should be ran out of this country!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tiki

    Read this and weep for all the disinformation we bought into over the years. You will never look at these megalomaniacs in the same way again-nor defining events like the Kennedy Assassination, Watergate or the Iraq invasion/occupation. Think of a goal of a gov't to further right wing ideology and reward loyal supporters/cronies at the expense of taxpayers and you get an idea how the reign of Cheney/Bush did everything in its immense power to curtail basic rights - sort of like a Russian Politbu Read this and weep for all the disinformation we bought into over the years. You will never look at these megalomaniacs in the same way again-nor defining events like the Kennedy Assassination, Watergate or the Iraq invasion/occupation. Think of a goal of a gov't to further right wing ideology and reward loyal supporters/cronies at the expense of taxpayers and you get an idea how the reign of Cheney/Bush did everything in its immense power to curtail basic rights - sort of like a Russian Politburo... but how they got there and carried it off is enough for anyone to lose faith in his/her fellow human beings. That this was even allowed to be published is a miracle in itself. For more information, the author has a website: www.familyofsecrets.com. Be informed: check it out - the truth IS out there for all to gain a new understanding of how power really works in America.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    No matter what your political views might be, you will find this book a fascinating read. It is well-researched and links together a lot of data to weave an amazing story of the many forces that played a role in bringing both Bush 41 and Bush 43 to power. There are also some amazing stories about how George Bush, Sr. played a surprising role in some significant historical events long before he became President.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gerald

    You don't want to know this, but you should.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    A veritable five hundred pages of astounding and profound investigative journalism. 'Family of Secrets' contains an avalanche of facts, with astute and incisive probes into the miasmic political dynasty of the house of Bush. At the recent JFL Lancer conference in Dallas, that covered days of very many interesting speakers, Russ Baker's presentation that featured just some of his findings in this book, stood out as one of the highlights. Any publication with a sub-title that purports to reveal reve A veritable five hundred pages of astounding and profound investigative journalism. 'Family of Secrets' contains an avalanche of facts, with astute and incisive probes into the miasmic political dynasty of the house of Bush. At the recent JFL Lancer conference in Dallas, that covered days of very many interesting speakers, Russ Baker's presentation that featured just some of his findings in this book, stood out as one of the highlights. Any publication with a sub-title that purports to reveal revelations of America's invisible government, and the hidden history of the last fifty years, may sound too far out to some. Perhaps bordering on the 'X files' or the 'new world order' genre. However, I strongly recommend Baker's work. There are startling disclosures within that touch upon the Kennedy assassination as well as others that may cause the reader to re-think Watergate. Certainly the bulk of the text reveals a very disturbing view of the hidden tentacles of the intelligence apparatus and the cynical political careers of Herbert Walker Bush and George W. Bush. After reading this book it is easy to realise how fragile and tenuous are the holds on democracy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book dives into the Bush family history. Talks about the connections that Prescott Bush had with the Northeast Establishment back when that was the Morgan's and the Rockefellers. Moves into Poppy (G.H.W.) Bush and his connections to the CIA, Northeasterners, and Texans(oil). Very informational about G-Bush Sr., including the facts that Poppy was in Dallas the day JFK was shot and had a history with the CIA, Poppy had an office IN THE WHITE HOUSE as GOP Chairman (unheard of in the past) duri This book dives into the Bush family history. Talks about the connections that Prescott Bush had with the Northeast Establishment back when that was the Morgan's and the Rockefellers. Moves into Poppy (G.H.W.) Bush and his connections to the CIA, Northeasterners, and Texans(oil). Very informational about G-Bush Sr., including the facts that Poppy was in Dallas the day JFK was shot and had a history with the CIA, Poppy had an office IN THE WHITE HOUSE as GOP Chairman (unheard of in the past) during WATERGATE, and he has a big Saudi connection that goes back to the 1970's. Finally, the author repeats himself (too much) about G.W. and his National Guard service, or lack there of. His number one point in the book is that G.W. was an unlikely candidate for both Governor and President and that it was only his family connections that got him anywhere. I recommend the book, and perhaps someday there will be a diagram that pieces together the people and their connections that are mentioned in this book. The book reminds you that all politics is local.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Weavre

    Due out in Jan. 2009. BuzzFlash review: “Shocking in its disclosures, elegantly crafted, and faultlessly measured in its judgments, Family of Secrets is nothing less than a first historic portrait in full of the Bush dynasty and the era it shaped. From revelation to revelation, insight to insight—from the Kennedy assassination to Watergate to the oil and financial intrigues that lie behind today's headlines—this is a sweeping drama of money and power, unseen forces, and the emblematic triumph of a Due out in Jan. 2009. BuzzFlash review: “Shocking in its disclosures, elegantly crafted, and faultlessly measured in its judgments, Family of Secrets is nothing less than a first historic portrait in full of the Bush dynasty and the era it shaped. From revelation to revelation, insight to insight—from the Kennedy assassination to Watergate to the oil and financial intrigues that lie behind today's headlines—this is a sweeping drama of money and power, unseen forces, and the emblematic triumph of a lineage that sowed national tragedy. Russ Baker's Family of Secrets is sure to take its place as one of the most startling and influential works of American history and journalism.” —Roger Morris, former senior staff member, National Security Council, and author of Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician and Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America “In an era dominated by corporate journalism and an ideological right-wing media, Russ Baker’s work stands out for its fierce independence, fact-based reporting, and concern for what matters most to our democracy. A lot of us look to Russ to tell us what we didn’t know.” —Bill Moyers, author and host, Bill Moyers’ Journal (PBS) The dark underside of the Bush family dynasty. An online reviewer: French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre said that "words are loaded pistols." In the hands of Russ Baker, they are hydrogen bombs. On each and every page of his masterpiece, "Family of Secrets," he exploses the myths and lies that powerful forces have perpetratred on the American consciousness. He digs beneath the surface in a form of journalistic archeology to reveal the hidden history of one of America's most powerful families, leaving no stone unturned. Moreover, he names all of his sources and documents the materials he relies on to unmask the hypocrisy behind the myth. From Prescott Bush's ties to Nazi Germany to Poppy Bush's secret role in the Watergate scandal that ousted Richard Nixon, which was, in fact, a "silent coup," to George W. Bush's deceit in launching the war in Iraq, Russ Baker unmasks the truth with a relentless brilliance unmatched by his peers. His publisher, Bloomsberry, is to be congratulated for its confidence in Russ Baker at a time when most publishers are hedging their bets and looking over their shoulders in acts of self-censorship. Baker's revelations about George W. Bush's private life is worth the price of the book alone. Here is Bush, forcing himself on a Danish beauty, stripping to the nude, while getting another girl friend he knocks up an abortion, and then later, as president, opposing abortion and cutting funding for organizations that provide information about birth control. How he managed to get the Danish beauty to go on record, as he does with other key players in Watergate and the Kennedy assassination, is nothing short of astonishing. He traces the true history of Poppy Bush's career, from his early ties to the CIA he pretended never existed while declaring himself "out of the loop," to his strange phone call from Dallas to the FBI on the day of Kennedy's assassination, pointing a finger at a suspect who was in fact totally innocent, to his manipulation of Watergate to get rid of Nixon, is a secret story forced out of the shadows by the powerful documentation by Baker in this tour de force that keeps you turning the pages in asonishment. What he discloses is America's War of the Roses, as powerful families fight to the death for ultimate power. The history of Lee Harvey Osward in the world of wealth, power and intelligence that was Dallas, Texas at the time, is amazing. The anodyne courses in political science and history at American colleges and universities need very much to inject Family of Secrets into the curriculum so that young Americans can be more able to understand what America is truly about as a new president strives to change and reform it. It puts the dots together in a way that makes any further naivety amongst Americans impossible. What he tells us simply cannot be ignored. One can fully expect the Establishment media to go after this book in typical fashion, as they make their usual attempt to cover up what can no longer be denied. Family of Secrets takes to what Cyril Connolly so aptly descibed as the "blood crossroads of literature and politics." After Family of Secrets, neither will ever be the same. About the Author: Award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker has written for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Esquire, and served as Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor. Baker’s appearances include NPR, Fox News, and Air America. In 2005, he founded the Real News Project, a nonprofit investigative news organization. His exclusive reporting on George W. Bush’s military record received a 2005 Deadline Club award. Some of the book's revelations: Why George H.W. Bush can’t remember where he was on November 22, 1963 Why oilman George H.W. Bush shows up in early CIA documents A new, more troubling explanation of the Watergate scandal The real story behind George W. Bush’s missing military service The inside scoop on the Bushes and Saudi influence in America The strange saga of Harvard University and its endowment The untold real story behind George W. Bush’s religious awakening Never before told anecdotes from George W. Bush’s wild past How the CIA monitors the White House and its occupants Why Barack Obama and his supporters should read this book

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sonic

    I cannot remember his exact words, but in the conclusion of this most excellent book Russ Baker states that the boundaries of acceptable thought are staked out and fiercely defended. This seems especially true in the case of History. An obvious example I would raise would be the perspective on Abe Lincoln. It was only very recently that an historian gave voice to evidence that Ol' Abe himself was initially something of a racist and only later with the help of Frederick Douglas came to see that s I cannot remember his exact words, but in the conclusion of this most excellent book Russ Baker states that the boundaries of acceptable thought are staked out and fiercely defended. This seems especially true in the case of History. An obvious example I would raise would be the perspective on Abe Lincoln. It was only very recently that an historian gave voice to evidence that Ol' Abe himself was initially something of a racist and only later with the help of Frederick Douglas came to see that slaves and former slaves from Africa were not unintelligent , but rather just uneducated. So the question must be asked, how could every other so-called historian up until now miss this fact evident in Lincoln's own letters and writing? Obviously the cherished myth was more precious to all than the actual and not-so-simple Truth. Recently I saw a book about Ronald Reagan titled "Tear Down This Myth", and I could not be in more agreement. When we look at the Bush dynasty we see many of the same players all throughout, and knowing who these people are and what their actions reveal their motives to be, we can really see (as Russ Baker states in the book's sub-title) "what their influence means for America." And it is very scary! Guess what OIL, Power, Ego and Defense Contracts have been behind many misunderstood events, that have been manipulated by money and "secret-intelligence" for a long long time, going back (perhaps and at least) as far as JFK's assassination. What's more, our views of these events have been manipulated. And yes the Bush Clan has been at the heart of much of it. This book is factual (one needs a second bookmark for footnotes) and very readable. I do not normally read this kind of book, and I doubted at first whether or not it would hold my interest but it most certainly did! It was nicely broken up into manageable sections within clearly outlined chapters, and Mr. Baker was careful not to take inferences too far, nor to misrepresent the facts. He even addressed his fear of being labeled a "conspiracy theorist" which in most people's minds conjures images of a paranoid nut-job, so successful is the drive to smear and discredit anyone willing to look deep enough. In my mind Russ Bakers voice is careful, intelligent, even-tempered and essential to a real understanding of the history that has long been manipulated and obfuscated by the power-hungry Bush Clan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I completed this extended read of three generations of Bushes. Most of what I read, I lived thru via the newspapers and magazines of the times. It all made perfect sense and what scared me so intently was that I grew up with people just like the Bushes. I didn't like those with selfish motivations and greedy patterns of behavior then and I don't like them now. The people that I knew, have all burned themselves with cocaine or other drug or have gone to jail for crimes involving large amounts of I completed this extended read of three generations of Bushes. Most of what I read, I lived thru via the newspapers and magazines of the times. It all made perfect sense and what scared me so intently was that I grew up with people just like the Bushes. I didn't like those with selfish motivations and greedy patterns of behavior then and I don't like them now. The people that I knew, have all burned themselves with cocaine or other drug or have gone to jail for crimes involving large amounts of money or deviant sexual behavior. I'm surprised that none of the Bushes haven't been caught with their pants down or their hands in the cookie jar. It also bothers me that these people, if allowed to thrive, will make us a third world country, while they enjoy the opulence that their misdeeds reward them with. I hope the misery that the poverty and pollution that their behavior brings will deliver a paranoia that will be never ending. A basically good read that amounts to a thought provoking, psychologically evaluating and judgment condemning work of detailed research. Don't wait for a movie, it will never be able to show the same stories with character driven plots. Buy the book and make it a research project of your own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Buck Jones

    Wow! This book is amazing. Amazingly long, yes. But I read it on my Kindle off and on over the course of a month, and learned so much about the two Bush presidencies, and the two men. More importantly, I learned about the men behind the Bushes. I am someone who has already been following politics for over twenty, even thirty years, and have myriad background histories on the two Bushes. From their early day in central Texas all the way to the White House - but this history by Russ Baker is simpl Wow! This book is amazing. Amazingly long, yes. But I read it on my Kindle off and on over the course of a month, and learned so much about the two Bush presidencies, and the two men. More importantly, I learned about the men behind the Bushes. I am someone who has already been following politics for over twenty, even thirty years, and have myriad background histories on the two Bushes. From their early day in central Texas all the way to the White House - but this history by Russ Baker is simply the most important book you can read about the them. Russ Baker does an enormous amount of research, via interviews and original scholarship on documents, to piece together the truth behind "Poppy" Bush and "W". Did you know that "Poppy" was in Dallas during JFK's assassination? Or that "Poppy" most likely was in the CIA since the agency's inception by Dulles in the late 1940's? Or that the ties that bind the Bushes to the Saudi royal family are perhaps just as strong as their ties to the secretive Skull & Bones secret society? The power that backs the family is stronger and more ominous than the individuals themselves, and is a real eye-opener. I can't recommend this book enough. You will be a changed person.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lonnie

    Well resereached and documented book about ourgovernment. Some of it will make you angry, shocked, and in some cases just plain disgusted. A lot of info about the Kennedy Assasination that i wasn't expecting to read about. The author does some detective work on his own as there are a lot of missing pieces to stories. Reads very fast, and hard to put down.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Drkazmd65

    I love (but rarely truly buy into) a good conspiracy theory. However, Mr. Baker puts a lot of information together, from a lot of sources and personal interviews. Some of this (OK, most of this) I had heard in one form or another from other books I have read by Kevin Phillips, Molly Ivins (RIP Molly), and scattered about when I used to listen to AirAmerica Radio more. The book begins by reviewing some of the history of the Bush family, beginning with GW's Grandpa Prescott Bush, and the Walker fa I love (but rarely truly buy into) a good conspiracy theory. However, Mr. Baker puts a lot of information together, from a lot of sources and personal interviews. Some of this (OK, most of this) I had heard in one form or another from other books I have read by Kevin Phillips, Molly Ivins (RIP Molly), and scattered about when I used to listen to AirAmerica Radio more. The book begins by reviewing some of the history of the Bush family, beginning with GW's Grandpa Prescott Bush, and the Walker family (his mother's bloodline). This family has been connected with big finance, with wartime goods production, and with the OSS/CIA since before there was Government sponsorship of these organization. Mr. Baker paints a convincing picture that this family has been connected, and right in the middle of covert operations since before WWII. After reviewing the 'secret' parts of George Sr.'s life, he dives into the short, well connected, and constantly bailed out aspects of GW's life. Mr. Baker grasps a bit at times (as getting a straight story from anybody connected to the Bush's is hard), but all in all he paints a very disturbing picture of the Bush family's rise to power on the backs of spying, corporate leverage, and manipulation of the system. It is a dense book, with lots of information and a very large number of endnotes backing Mr. Baker's work. Despite the size, the information is well divided into coherent chapters, and concise subsections. I would be preaching to the chior to say that those progressives that already didn't care for Bush read the book. But they should. Those not willing to see what (at least could be) the other side of our Political system's coin should probably avoid the book. But my guess is that they would anyway.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chuc Laventure

    Quite frightening for anyone who cares about his/her country and its concepts of freedom and liberty. The Bush Family should be feared for their covetousness, greed and avarice but most especially for their belief that we are all here to provide them with the opportunity to redistribute our income to their bank accounts and those of their friends while reshaping the tax to ensure that our tax dollars pay for the infrastructure that their many companies need to provide us with the goods and servi Quite frightening for anyone who cares about his/her country and its concepts of freedom and liberty. The Bush Family should be feared for their covetousness, greed and avarice but most especially for their belief that we are all here to provide them with the opportunity to redistribute our income to their bank accounts and those of their friends while reshaping the tax to ensure that our tax dollars pay for the infrastructure that their many companies need to provide us with the goods and service from which they make their profits. Neat circle of wealth redistribution isn't. Should you choose to read a book that is not a conspiracy theory but a simple recounting of the movements and outcomes of the Bush Family's actions, this would be the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Excellent book. If this book isn't true there have been some amazing coincidences in in the last 30 years. If it is true both of the Bush presidents should be in prison. Everyone should read this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Author has done extensive research into the Bush dynasty and the results are scary. Think you know how political leaders think and act, think again. Yes, it really is all about money and power for father and son (and grandfather).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    And he doesn't even get into Prescott Bush, the American Liberty League, or Brown Brothers Harriman.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    reaqd the first 3 chapters and im loving this book. will make you wanna go strangle people however

  18. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Very well written and researched book. Should be read by everyone! Never liked the Bush family. For the few to have much power over the many is a complete and utter travesty.

  19. 5 out of 5

    C. Scott

    "Where were you when you heard President Kennedy was assassinated?" For the generation of Americans that were alive and aware at the time this question has become a cliche. Everybody remembers what they were doing when they heard about the biggest news story of the decade. Everybody, that is, except former president George H.W. Bush. When a Japanese film crew innocently asked Bush that question in the late 1980s he improbably answered that he couldn't remember. It turns out that Bush was in Dall "Where were you when you heard President Kennedy was assassinated?" For the generation of Americans that were alive and aware at the time this question has become a cliche. Everybody remembers what they were doing when they heard about the biggest news story of the decade. Everybody, that is, except former president George H.W. Bush. When a Japanese film crew innocently asked Bush that question in the late 1980s he improbably answered that he couldn't remember. It turns out that Bush was in Dallas on the day in question. Even more interesting, it seems that Bush was more than likely a company man working for the CIA since the 1950s. Further still, Bush had direct connections with many names easily recognized by anyone familiar with the Kennedy assassination - including George de Mohrenschild and Allen Dulles. Revelations like these abound in Russ Baker's excellent Family of Secrets. It is an absolute crime that a book as thoroughly researched and chock full of citations as this one can glide by under the radar without causing a sensation. Baker is an investigative reporter who has worked for mainstream institutions like the New York Times. He is not a kook or conspiracy nut. What he does in this book is expose the reality of how power is wielded in American society by taking a penetrating look at the Bush family and the many, many skeletons that countless authorized and unauthorized biographies have glided past or missed. There is a fascinating dive into father Bush's Kennedy assassination connections - including an FBI memo that mentions Bush by name as "George Bush of the CIA." These chapters illuminate how intelligence agencies operate. There is compelling evidence pointing to CIA connections throughout Bush's "roughneck" years as an oil man. There are three chapters exploring the possibility that Watergate was a political assassination orchestrated by American intelligence to take down Nixon with the help of George H.W. Bush. Bush the younger also gets plenty of attention. One interesting tidbit: it was common knowledge that any airman who went AWOL during their National Guard duty would be unceremoniously drafted or shipped to Vietnam. This is interesting because of the mystery surrounding George W. Bush's last two years of service. Where was Bush? Why did he stop flying? Why did he face no repercussions for apparently flaking out? It is obvious there was special treatment for this scion of the Bush family which Baker clearly illustrates. There is plenty to chew on in this book - things that I have not encountered any place else. I really appreciate the author's fearlessness is pursuing subject matter that can have one branded a "conspiracy nut." It is the same fearlessness you will find on his news website whowhatwhy.org - a place that is worth exploring in its own right. Baker briefly discusses this tendency to self-censor about certain topics in his conclusion saying: "The boundaries of permissible thought are staked out and enforced. We accept the conventional narratives because they are repeated and approved, while conflicting ones are scorned. Isn't this how authoritarian regimes work? They get inside your mind so that overt repression becomes less necessary." Read this book with an open mind and you will be surprised and amazed by what lies beneath the surface of the conventional narratives.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karndog

    Started out strong, and was a good continuation after reading "Devil's Chessboard". The second half of the book spent way to much time on W.'s National Guard service. It was pretty interesting reading this during our current presidential environment, as some of the "crimes" outlined seem to pretty mild compared to what we are seeing now. Just like in real life, George H. (which is the first half of the book) was much more interesting than George W.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Mind blowing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Court

    Hey, at least the immigrant detention centers at the border got shut down under Obama, and all of the people responsible for the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crisis are still in jail, right?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matt Sparkman

    Send these guys to the hague!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Put on your tinfoil hat and take a ride...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Milky Foxe

    "The boundaries of permissible thought are staked out and enforced. We accept the conventional narratives because they are repeated and approved, while conflicting ones are scorned. Isn't this how authoritarian regimes work? They get inside your mind so that overt repression becomes less necessary." A monumental work. Russ Baker parses the fog of disinformation and confusion cultivated by the Bushes over generations with this impeccably researched, investigated and referenced book. There are no ou "The boundaries of permissible thought are staked out and enforced. We accept the conventional narratives because they are repeated and approved, while conflicting ones are scorned. Isn't this how authoritarian regimes work? They get inside your mind so that overt repression becomes less necessary." A monumental work. Russ Baker parses the fog of disinformation and confusion cultivated by the Bushes over generations with this impeccably researched, investigated and referenced book. There are no outlandish leaps of logic or stabs in the dark. Baker lays out verifiable facts and direct quotes from those involved, the reader is usually asked to draw their own conclusions. When he does make a definite assertion it is so well backed up by citation and reference that he is only stating what common sense would lead one to believe is the truth. The scorn suffered by those asking the questions that Baker refers to in the conclusion is still palpable today. The very fact that journalists and researchers found themselves unemployed for posing the kind of questions the Bushes and their handlers would dismiss as "unfair" or irrelevant" also adds to Baker's achievement here. A knee-jerk dismissal of the more salacious claims Baker makes in the book as conspiracy theory would be foolish and ultimately plays back into the hands of those attempting to control the narrative. A fantastic piece of investigative journalism that will hopefully grow in prominence as the years go by.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Charles Garard

    When I read Russ Baker's book FAMILY OF SECRETS and Roger Stone and Saint John Hunt's book JEB! AND THE BUSH CRIME FAMILY immediately following it (before I decided to tackle this review), I remembered how as a kid growing up with 1950s movies I naively believed that the good guys (at least one of them) defeated evil and the bad guys, even organized crime, were defeated. Sometimes the good guy died also, but it was always a noble sacrifice for the honest government and the innocent, honest peopl When I read Russ Baker's book FAMILY OF SECRETS and Roger Stone and Saint John Hunt's book JEB! AND THE BUSH CRIME FAMILY immediately following it (before I decided to tackle this review), I remembered how as a kid growing up with 1950s movies I naively believed that the good guys (at least one of them) defeated evil and the bad guys, even organized crime, were defeated. Sometimes the good guy died also, but it was always a noble sacrifice for the honest government and the innocent, honest people. Little did I realize then that, in real life, the reverse was true. On a weekly comedy show, a shadowy figure in combat fatigues was shown knifing another shadowy figure in a dark hallway. The spoken and written caption said: "The CIA. You don't know. You don't want to know." Truth in fiction, even comedy fiction. Readers who might really be masochistic enough to WANT to know may have some questions answered in Baker's book. FAMILY OF SECRETS is an infuriating read, not because of Baker's writing, which is researched like a scholarly treatise and carefully detailed, but because of the subject matter that is tirelessly and (apparently) objectively revealed. This must have have a grueling labor of love (or hate, if you are a fan of the Bush dynasty). The number of characters rival that of Leo Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE while the digressions rival those of a William Faulkner novel. The biographies of such persons as John Dean, who turned against President Nixon during the Watergate testimonies, are usually quite extensive, often taking us away from the focus on the Bushes and their numerous connections, cronies, and sycophants. Baker interviewed countless persons across the country, dug through all sorts of files and records of business and campaign dealings, neighbors, ex-girlfriends (evidently W. had to have several indiscretions covered up -- surprise, surprise), and the whole nine yards. He uncovered questionable operations and shady activities that were "beyond accountability" because of a certain belief that wealth has its privileges and that rules that apply to the rest of us don't apply to the elite. Anyone who complained or blew the whistle were dealt with in various degrees of severity. Even journalists doing their jobs as reporters (and not all newspapers revealed all the truth because of intimidation) by asking questions (e.g., asking W. about his real experience with the National Guard) were heatedly asked who they thought they were or were branded as stupid. The subtitle for this work is "What their influence means for America." Wow. Appropriate. Read this detailed work if you dare, but don't expect to feel comfortable when you get to the end.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    This should be an eye-opener for anyone who has believed that anyone in the Bush political dynasty has anything other than their own personal gain at heart. Of course, I never believed that, but there was some information in this book that I had never heard before, such as George H.W. Bush's possible involvement in the Watergate scandal. Baker's information and documentation are solid, and he doesn't resort to partisan pandering, or conspiracy promoting, but presents an even-handed view of 60+ y This should be an eye-opener for anyone who has believed that anyone in the Bush political dynasty has anything other than their own personal gain at heart. Of course, I never believed that, but there was some information in this book that I had never heard before, such as George H.W. Bush's possible involvement in the Watergate scandal. Baker's information and documentation are solid, and he doesn't resort to partisan pandering, or conspiracy promoting, but presents an even-handed view of 60+ years of political maneuvering by the Bushes. The author should also be commended for not jumping directly to conclusions, but presents relevant information (such as George H.W. Bush's odd JFK/Dallas story) and lets the reader make up their own mind about the validity of the Bushes' public personae. The long-time ties to the CIA are frightening, and suggest to me (especially after reading other books on the topic of the American intelligence community/apparatus)that the organization has gained an extremely dangerous and unwarranted hold over both foreign and domestic policies in the U.S. The extensive listing of intricate connections of people and companies could be a little off-putting and confusing to anyone without a little background information on corporate politics and intelligence agencies, but the revelations in the book are worth the effort. To anyone new to the subject matter: take your time reading it, check the extensive notes for each chapter, and seek clarification for any confusing new concepts you come across and the knowledge gained from reading will aid your worldview in a positive, beneficial manner.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Russ Baker has written a superbly researched, meticulous, comprehensive book that exposes the reach of the tentacles of the Bush family. Be forewarned, this is a very disturbing book that will oftentimes infuriate you, as you learn of the blatant manipulation of power that is the legacy of Prescott, George H.W. and George W. Bush. At approximately six hundred pages, with a very large cast of characters, this book is not for the casual reader. I took notes as I read this book, given the wealth of Russ Baker has written a superbly researched, meticulous, comprehensive book that exposes the reach of the tentacles of the Bush family. Be forewarned, this is a very disturbing book that will oftentimes infuriate you, as you learn of the blatant manipulation of power that is the legacy of Prescott, George H.W. and George W. Bush. At approximately six hundred pages, with a very large cast of characters, this book is not for the casual reader. I took notes as I read this book, given the wealth of information therein. There is so much information, in fact, that any attempt to summarize the content would be feeble. I can assure you that you will never look at the Bush family the same again, upon completing this book. Nevertheless, anyone interested in the future of our Republic should read this important book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vannessa Anderson

    Family of Secrets is an expose of the Bush family dynasty, American's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the last fifty years. Family of Secrets is a book that the Bush family hope you won't read. The author writes: “The reason the Bushes are relevant today, even with W.'s exit from the national stage, is that the family and its colleagues and associates represent an elite that has long succeeded in subverting our democratic institutions to their own ends. And they will continue to Family of Secrets is an expose of the Bush family dynasty, American's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the last fifty years. Family of Secrets is a book that the Bush family hope you won't read. The author writes: “The reason the Bushes are relevant today, even with W.'s exit from the national stage, is that the family and its colleagues and associates represent an elite that has long succeeded in subverting our democratic institutions to their own ends. And they will continue to do so unless their agenda and methods are laid bare to public scrutiny.” “The story of the Bushes' rise--and fall?--is a story we ignore at our peril.” After reading Family of Secrets, I have to agree.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael Gajda

    A well-written, well-researched masterpiece of investigative journalism/political and social history. If you want to know who controls and manipulates the workings of government (and how its done) along with its propaganda machine which includes a complacent and complicit mainstream media, the military industry and its intelligence networks which plot together to exploit not only the political and financial system but the world's fragile resources...then read this book. Those who are in charge a A well-written, well-researched masterpiece of investigative journalism/political and social history. If you want to know who controls and manipulates the workings of government (and how its done) along with its propaganda machine which includes a complacent and complicit mainstream media, the military industry and its intelligence networks which plot together to exploit not only the political and financial system but the world's fragile resources...then read this book. Those who are in charge are not the ones who appear to be. Knowledge is the first defense against tyranny. This book is full of knowledge. Then what we do with it is on us. It's no wonder that none of the mainstream media TV and Radio centers want nothing to do with it.

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