James's Reviews > The Beast Reawakens: Fascism's Resurgence from Hitler's Spymasters to Today's Neo-Nazi Groups & Right-wing Extremists

The Beast Reawakens by Martin A. Lee
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's review
Oct 06, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: crime-and-forensics, culture-and-politics, history, biography, character-studies, justice-system, psychology
Recommended for: No one
Read in October, 2008

Frustrating and disappointing. This book tells a fascinating and alarming story, and is dense with specifics - names, dates, events, and places. The problem is that with a book like this, if the reader finds that some of that factual content is false, it calls into doubt every piece of information that reader doesn't already know to be true from other sources. To someone who already knows everything the book has to say, there's nothing to be learned by reading it. To someone for whom the content is new, its value depends on the trustworthiness of the author.
Martin Lee is a journalist, which means among other things that he is used to rigorous standards for accuracy. So I was reading with the assumption that all this detail was legitimate, no small thing because many items were surprising and shocking. Then almost halfway through, while writing about a notorious Nazi commando, SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Lee related that in the 1960s Skorzeny was running a special-forces style training program in Spain, and quotes a "mercenary" named Anthony Herbert as saying most of Skorzeny's curriculum was outdated. In fact, Anthony Herbert was not a mercenary, he was an officer in the U.S. Army, a Ranger, whose job at that point was to seek possible improvements in the Ranger training program. Herbert, in his autobiography, Soldier, described the experience, and went to pains to make it clear that he did not like Skorzeny's ideology or admire him, but felt it was his {Herbert's) duty to investigate and see whether he could pick up any useful knowledge that might save American soldiers' lives. Actually, Herbert was a scrupulously conscientious person whose promising Army career ended in forced retirement over his refusal to help cover up American war crimes and high command malfeasance in Vietnam.

So at that point in this book, the author's credibility was gone, and I stopped reading. If there's any bigger waste of time than reading history written by a liar, I don't know what it is, and dishonesty is to truth in journalism as sewage is to pure water. If you have a gallon of sewage and you add a drop of water, you have a gallon of sewage. If you have a gallon of pure water and you add a drop of sewage, you have a gallon of sewage.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Fred (new)

Fred Landis The first I heard of Martin A Lee was when an article appeared in Mother Jones based on material he lifted,often verbatim,from 5 different published articles of mine.
Having stolen material it had taken me 10 years to research in order to fabricate a reputation as an expert on the CIA,he then went on to write a book,Acid Dreams,that rewrites the 1960s counterculture as something created by your super-hip CIA agent/LSD dealer.
An editor at Mother Jones told me Martin Lee had worked with the Lyndon Larouche people.

James I'm sorry, but not surprised, to hear it. It's too bad that his publisher didn't check his facts; the publishing industry has been duped by this kind of sociopath enough times to justify setting up a database they could check when someone shows up with some breathtaking new book or article presented as factual.

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