I’ve been asked frequently about history books worth reading. Well, there are many, but the two that will bring you up to date most quickly are Modern Times," by Paul Johnson, and Tragedy and Hope, by Carroll Quigley.
Both are so well-written, they read almost like novels. Quigley’s book, in particular, has an interesting history in itself. Quigley was a professor at Georgetown University. Bill Clinton, in his first inaugural address, referred to Quigley as a man who had tremendous influence on his life.
Quigley’s massive book, which is subtitled "A History of the World in Our Time," was first published in 1966 by the Macmillan Co. Even though Quigley was quite liberal and scornful of what he called the "radical right," the John Birch Society latched on to the book as a verification of its own belief in conspiracy theories.
The book went out of print, and the plates were destroyed. I tracked down Dr. Quigley’s widow, and she verified that this had been done without notification to her husband and that he was most upset by the action. He died soon after. Someone, however, got the book republished in Taiwan, and so it is still available.
The passage that intrigued the Birch Society is found on Page 950. After heaping scorn on the radical right, Quigley writes: "This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of the network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and secret records."
Quigley continues, "I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments … my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known."
He then goes into quite a bit of detail about this influential outfit, which originated in Oxford and was largely financed at first by Cecil Rhodes (remember, Clinton was a Rhodes scholar). He says that after the war of 1914, the group decided to form more public front groups.
"This front organization, called the Royal Institute of International Affairs, had as its nucleus in each area the existing submerged Round Table Group. In New York it was known as the Council on Foreign Relations and was a front for J.P. Morgan and Company in association with the very small American Round Table Group," Quigley writes.
Quigley goes on in quite a bit of detail, which you will find interesting. Whether this airing of the Establishment’s secret laundry caused the book to go out of print, I don’t know. I don’t know if there are still Round Table groups operating in the U.S. The Council on Foreign Relations, of course, continues to operate, as does the Royal Institute of International Affairs in England.
It is silly, however, to suppose that very rich and influential people simply dillydally away their time. Every city in America has its own little establishment — those people who know how to get things done. And so do countries.
A majority of Americans want controls on immigration, but they continue to be frustrated. A majority of Americans are opposed to so-called free trade (actually managed trade), which facilitates the removal of jobs to cheap-labor countries, but again they are frustrated.
The truth is that we ordinary people have virtually no influence on the government. The Establishment owns the government and most of the media. By and large, we get the policies and the view of the world the Establishment wishes us to get. At any rate, both of these books are well worth the time it takes to read them.
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969 to 1971, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2005 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.