I’ve just finished “Armed Madhouse” by Greg Palast, Plume Press 2006,2007. This is by far the most interesting and informative book I have ever read in my entire 56 years. The publisher gave me a free copy if I agreed to review it. I was worried when I agreed to review it that they might have wasted their money and postage, but after lying around for a week in my office, I cracked it open and couldn’t put it down except when information overload forced me to take a break.
Every single chapter left me numb. All of the things that I had taken for granted, things I thought I knew, were unceremoniously exploded before my very eyes, by the best explosive expert in the literary world. The one thing that kept running through my mind after reading the things he was writing (that were also backed up with facts and pictures), was why hasn’t this been reported on by the media? Why hasn’t the New York Times and the other papers jumped on this? Why haven’t the news shows done coverage of this? Although I knew before reading the book that the mainstream media was not giving us a clear picture, I never believed that they were hiding basic truths, and actively misleading American citizens. I never believed that the media was really either afraid to report the truth, or actively part of this culture of disinformation.
Just the first part of the book should have earned Palast a Pulitzer. He describes how Big Oil with the help of our government and the Saudi’s (who seem to be the world’s real superpower) keep the price of oil artificially high. Palast doesn’t just suppose, he backs up what he says with names and dates and documents. Venezuela is another issue he debunks. Hugo Chavez should give lessons on how to beat back imperialists and imperialism while uplifting the poorest of his countrymen. He shows how Chavez beat the United States at their own game. I came away with a much greater respect for Chavez than I had before reading the book.
Like I said, this wasn’t a book that for me, I could read in one night. As a journalist, I had to Google some of his claims and research some of the facts he gives. Everything he said that I checked out seemed to be authentic. The entire time I was reading I was astounded by how much information Palast managed to glean from people. He seems to have connections everywhere. Why, I asked myself, aren’t other journalists doing the same thing? Is this the only well-connected journalist with the courage to show us what is really going on in the world?
Palast exposes how Bush not only stole the 2000 election, but how he did it again in 2004! He not only tells us where he stole the votes, but who did it, and how. I kept thinking that he probably sleeps better at night now that the book is out and there are probably less people out to shut him up. Once you read this book, you will understand exactly what I’m saying.
Not only does he expose what’s been going on, in the last chapter he gives you ways in which you can change it. This is the difference between a muckraker and a patriot. I don’t ever recommend anything to anybody, but if I did, I would tell you to buy this book and read it without delay. It will be as if someone opened the shades and you were seeing what’s around you clearly for the first time in a long time. That’s what this book did for me, and you know, basically we are all pretty much the same. I’m indebted to Greg Palst, and after reading his book, I think you will be too.