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Writing a blog like The Oligarch Kings can lead one down strange rabbit holes in the internet, filled with weird assertions and peopled by bizarre middle-aged men who live on their own and wear tin foil hats.  Sometimes they write books which are even odder.

This is not one.

The CIA Makes Science Fiction Look Unexciting and published by AK Press scares one silly, and rightly so. The book is a pocket sized format, which here seems to mean a small, difficult to read booklet, written by Abner Smith edited by Joe Biel and printed in small print.  Persist though, it is extremely well written, calm, thoughtful and frightening book where Smith shows how far down the slippery slope America has slithered.

The book divides into a number of long essays on present and past events that have fed into the CIA’s present state of paranoia.

First off we see the influence the CIA had in the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; then follows a discussion regarding the AIDS virus which I am not so convinced by; next a well argued exposé of the killing of Filiberto Ojeda Rios, a Puerto Rican independence movement leader whom you probably have never heard of; but should have; then a searing review of the woeful Patriot Act; finishing up with a romp through the Iran-Contra affair.

9781934620533Taken together the book is scathing on the United States’ foreign and domestic policies since the fifties. Yes indeed the claims are radical, but Smith presents these so calmly and with such a light humour, (usually so missing in the left), that one is carried along.  Any lingering doubts are dealt with by the level of solid scholarship, and the wealth of supporting footnotes and further reading.  It is a great starter for the new reader short on facts to explain current events and the worldwide anti-American backlash.

$9.95 in USA, so at the same cost as a couple of heavyweight Sunday papers it’s not too bad a price.

I just wish the look of the book was better!

Copyright David Macadam 2013