Andrew's Reviews > The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin
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's review
Mar 24, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: history-current-events
Read in March, 2008

I like the readability of this book, considering it could have been a dreary and dull book. That being said, I did not like the fact that the author portrayed the creation of the Federal Reserve as a conspiracy theory that will one day ruin the world. The author was being a bit intellectually dishonest by adding his sentiments to historical facts--one could argue that this book should not really belong in the history section of a bookstore. Throughout the book the author gave the impression that that the entire system is a scam that is aimed at screwing the poor over and is aimed at creating a evil world government. I got the impression that this was the typical American skepticism of government which permeated a rather interesting subject. I am not an expert on the history of banking but I did not get the impression from the tone of this book that everything stated was entirely accurate or that culpability for some of the events in history could be directly linked to bankers and banking as the author suggested. All in all, if you want to know about the federal reserve system and don't know anything already, then this book should not be one of the first books to read on the subject as it may cause you to look at the concept of central banking and fiat money with prejudice. I recommend learning about the history of banking and money, before delving into a book that is primarily against fiat money, fractional reserves, central banks, the Bank of England, JP Morgan, et al.
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Dave what could you possibly like about fiat money? It is the cause of inflation. It will be our downfall.

Andrew I never said that I liked fiat money. Soft currency economics is a subject that should be understood before one reads a book like this. This book does not do the subject much, if any, justice and reads more like a conspiracy novel. If anything; I don't like this book--which you would get if you had understood my review.

Dave Andrew wrote: "I never said that I liked fiat money. Soft currency economics is a subject that should be understood before one reads a book like this. This book does not do the subject much, if any, justice and r..."

I completely understand your review. I wouldn't agree that it reads like a conspiracy "novel", nor would I agree that the author was being intellectually dishonest for adding his sentiments. If it is the case of adding sentiments, then he is only guilty of poor writing. Facts are facts. The "typical" American is not skeptical of the government. If the typical American were, then our government would have been overthrown long ago as Jefferson had professed.
What I have difficulty understanding is not the style of the book, nor the sentiment in the book, nor the blatant support of a conspiracy theory. Rather, my struggle is simply with the fact that private bankers own the Federal Reserve and have the power to directly control and manipulate the direction of our economy and currencies. There is clearly no reason other than solidifying power within the circle of bankers that we went off the gold standard and backed it with the simple promise that the dollar will make good on everything.

Andrew You seem to be misunderstanding what constitutes intellectual dishonesty. If this book were a history on cheese; who cares whether the author likes Camembert, or actually prefers English cheese over French? That would have nothing to do with the actual history of cheese; am I right? The same goes with any subject. It is the author's duty to remove himself from the text as much as possible when presenting history; not to colour the information with an emotive and suggestive narrative. Reread the first two paragraphs of the book and tell me this book doesn't read like a novel... So at least we agree that the author is guilty of bad writing.

Also, you have misinterpreted one of my statements. "the typical American skepticism of government" does not mean what you have taken it to mean. That phrase meant that there is a type of skepticism of government that I see as typically American. Perhaps I should have said "the typical, American skepticism..." my apologies if this was not as clear as I intended.

As for your last few statements; I understand and can sympathize. I think that the subject deserves to be studied objectively and thoroughly before one comes to definitive conclusions. This book is not the last station; nor should it be the end of the line. The issue is not so much the government control, but the companies and individuals who get to feed directly from the tap of this "inflation." Think of it like a faucet filling a bath in a bathhouse. Those hands closest to the water are able to cup the flow, profiting the most, while the rest of the bath fills more slowly. It trickles down and eventually affects the other baths in the bathhouse. The governments of the world issue the new currency and the companies and private interests closest to the source are able to use the new money where it is available and worth the most. If you watch Goldman Sachs closely, you will see how effectively these hands can cup the flow.

Dave all of your points are well taken, Andrew.
I reread the first page or so, and yes, it is horribly melodramatic.
I suppose the difference between us is that I believe that the initial creation of the Federal Reserve was not for altruistic purposes. History does repeat itself and one might suggest that civilizations that have failed/collapsed in the past have several common characteristics. One such common variable might be that power became increasingly centralized into the hands of the few and resulted in the concentration of material wealth. You either had more than plenty or you fell further and further into poverty.
The history of banking presented in this book outlines a recognizable pattern of manipulation. The main idea of power being concentrated into a circle of a few can only be interpreted as a conscious choice among the participants.
It is a shame that when certain individuals have the absolute ability to acquire anything that they desire, their only remaining entertainment/desire is to manipulate their environment further.

If you are a old time "Star Trek" fan, check out the episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion". That reflects were our distant future is headed.

You are right, there is no end of the line by drawing conclusions because once you think you know everything is when you are really only at the beginning. Wang There are few things to like about fiat money, but the gold-based currency system is hardly the panacea either. Remember, a "hard" currency creates a constant deflationary pressure - a completely different kind of monster. The author mentioned that price of food didn't gp up for a thousand years, suggesting that that is a good economic model. To me that's more than intellectual dishonesty, it's downright stupidity. Food price won't go down as long as there's no cars, iPods and electricity bills to share the pie. It WILL go down dramatically when the economy is rapidly expanding - then you have deflation. Hardly incentivise people to make things does it?

I'm not saying the Federal Reserve is the cure-for-all either. It has done an aweful job stablizing the economic system and it's decidedly undemocratic. That said, a key logic point amiss in this book is that history is never that black and white. Enumerating the failures of one system doesn't logically mean that his only known alternative is better.

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