The Shell Game Mass Market Paperback – Sep 8 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Even die-hard conspiracy theorists will be dubious about the sinister government-led plots that form the shaky foundation of this political thriller. Alten, best-known for his gory novels featuring giant prehistoric sharks (Meg; The Trench), goes well beyond the already far-fetched idea that the Bush administration let the devastating 9/11 attacks happen to further the neoconservative agenda of reshaping the Middle East. In 2012, with centrist conservative David McKuin in the White House, the federal government plots to detonate a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city and blame Iran as a cover to take out that country's radical leadership. Standing in the plotters' way is Ace Futrell, an energy expert whose murdered wife was possibly targeted by U.S. intelligence. An awkward mix of actual and fictional political figures (Hillary Clinton is still in the Senate in 2012, having lost the 2008 election to McKuin) doesn't make this paranoid and superficial book more plausible. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
My book is 600 pages of non-fiction with a thousand footnotes. It is in the Harvard Business School Library.
Steve's book is a gripping, fire-breathing, page-turning novel that the great Robert Ludlum would envy. Both books convey exactly the same message: that the world is running out of oil fast; that human civilization hangs in the balance; and that the US government used this crisis as a rationale for perpetrating the attacks of 9-11 and (very likely) attacks yet to come.
Why? The American people would never allow their sons and daughters to be used and sacrificed as bloody oil conquistadors unless we could call ourselves victims.-- We are victims, but not that kind.
Steve's absolute genius is in his ability to make the unpalatable irresistible. It lies also in his ability to separate research "ice cream" from research "bs". "Children", hucksters and some with more sinister motives have hijacked the so-called 9-11 "truth movement." That clear thinking is what makes "The Shell Game" slice through consciousness and reach the soul like a hot scalpel through butter. Steve takes us into a terrifying future as though he were reading a military GPS locator.
"The Shell Game" is a novel and a ticking time bomb for the psyche. It is the red pill from "The Matrix". Steve has brilliantly created a masterpiece that is going to rock the planet while entertaining and teaching millions at the same time. I applaud both his genius and also what I see as his divine inspiration.
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
-- Michael C. Ruppert
Aside from that, it's extremely well written. I especially liked how the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were tied to the events that occured in that part of the book. What I found even more disturbing than the content of the book was the quotes from REAL PEOPLE!
The book is laced with quotes from sources which question the official story of 9/11, and the action casts light on "the next 9/11, a nuclear 9/11," how to stop it, and and how to stop World War IV. There are villains and heroes, lovers, lies, children, insights into the mindset of the Neo-Cons who have been trying to dominate the planet for these past decades.
There are surprises, too. It is one of those very hard to put down sort of books, as you want to know - what will happen next, will the protagonist succeeed in the impossible task, who will live, who will die, and what will be humanity's fate.
The political becomes personal, and the personal political, and the stakes grow higher and higher. Whether a person lives or dies, their intentions and actions have tremendous consequences in The Shell Game, and I think in the current world that we live in. One person, waking up spiritually, politically, intellectually to the profound reality of the moment, and taking action can make a tremendous difference.
What I love about The Shell Game is the evolution of the main characters who are transformed by their own very personal understanding of political events, events which they themselves participated in. Not all the "evil villains" become "good guys" and there are those who steadfastedly continue to lie to themselves and others. The book delves into the extraordinary complexities of human understanding, the modern political system, and the mega-mainstream communications system which shapes human understanding, and can be used to seize and manipulate political power.
For those who have struggled against the machine, the book holds some precious nuggets of truth, hope, and insight. For those seeking to stop the next 9/11 and World War IV, the book is a great opening for a dialogue on the painful truths and realities that most journalists and politicians do not dare to speak about. For those who dismiss the news and focus on their personal realities, and feel insulated from the struggles of the majority of people, this book will challenge their perception of reality, and perhaps inspire them to stop being a spectator and recognize their own power and responsibility to shape the future.
I highly recommend it as a first choice on what to read, and hope that readers follow up on the source books, and give the author a hand in preventing "the next 9/11."
The Shell Game offers the action-packed pace, suspense and relentless intelligence of the best Clancy and le Carre novels, and backgrounds the entire tour de force with a devastatingly detailed probable cause argument for indictment and impeachment of the current administration. Rarely has a work of "fiction" exposed so much hidden history that could/should trigger a cleansing political upheaval in national consciousness today.
The plot is built around an artfully crafted false flag operation set several years in the future that is designed to complete America's transition from a democratic republic to an authoritarian police state. Besides providing some dazzling insights into terror engineering and the politics of fear, the story compiles a damning dossier on most of the crimes and criminals that have served this cause thus far. Finally it illuminates not just the political and societal risks of our accelerating corporate coup d'état, but also the global environmental catastrophes it is precipitating as well.
If you ever wanted an exciting painless way to learn a lot of new, sobering and well-researched facts about 9/11, Peak Oil, resource wars, and the boundless cynicism of our coin-operated politicians, this is the book you've been waiting for. Or if you are really post-literate, I suppose you could just wait a little longer and see what George Clooney or Sean Penn does with it on the big screen.
It's good that a (semi) major popular writer has written a (semi) major popular novel presenting the basic idea that the USA mil.gov can, does, and will pepetrate mass-murder false terror schemes for fun and profit.
It's always absolutely astonishing to me when the average American's first reaction to the idea of 9/11 as an inside job is to gasp "No way the USA gov would murder 3,000 of their own people!" Huh? First of all, where does anybody get off asserting that we are the mil.gov's people? As though they own us? Second, of course nobody is charging that the entire USA mil.gov signed some executive order or legislative proclamation to murder those 3,000. Obviously it was a relatively small and secretive group. The average GS-10 mathematician working for the Bureau of Labor Statistics is innocent and pure as driven snow, ok? And then finally, there's some kind of shocked ascriptive morality behind that reaction, like sure they'd invade and destroy South Vietnam and Iraq, train and equip SAVAK and Pinochet and Guatamalen Death Squads - they'd decimate all kinds of places stocked with non-Caucasian cattle, but surely would hesitate to snuff a few thousand New Yorkers. Those people need to review the classic scene from The Godfather: "Kate, now who's being naive?" (Michael Corleone)
Anyway, you can infer from the paragraph above that yes, Shell Game takes on USA mil.gov false flag terror. But it goes at the project very half-heartedly. Alten's view on 9-11 is pretty tepid - he seems to think that yeah, the 19 Al Qaeda guys did it, but there were warnings that may have been deliberately suppressed or ignored. So one thing I disliked about Shell Game, is that Alten gives very short shrift to the deeper analyses of 9-11 as an inside job. He pretty much just tsks-tsks over missed warnings or faulty intelligence, lack of due diligence, and leaves it at that. Hello champ, it's a whole lot worse than that. Read David Ray Griffin. Listen to Richard Gage. (Neither is listed in his Suggested Reading).
But 9-11 is ancient history right? So over! So 2001! We Americans have always been a forward-looking people, and what we have to look forward to is escalation from boxcutters on planes to nukes in an American city. Alten is not some wild-eyed radical with that prediction - Dick Cheney and others have stated exactly the same many times. And look at the perfect linearly ascending line of escalation of False Flag Firepower and scale of target:
OKC Federal building ==>
World Trade Center complex ==>
American city nuke.
It makes perfect sense, and probably it will happen.
When it comes to Alten's made-up future (2012) nuking-a-city plot, he does lay it out as a full Neo-Con inside job, with Arab patsies run by rogue FBI moles (in the actual 9-11, the patsies were run by the CIA and honest low-level FBI agents almost accidentally ruined everything by nearly exposing the op prematurely, but fortunately a higher up FBI supervisor managed to clamp down before everything was totally ruined.) So all that part of Shell Game is plausible.
The book is really complex with lots of subplots. The overall motivational narrative basically follows Mike Ruppert's line, that the Neo-Con's recognize the imminence of Peak Oil and hope to use their endless Imperial spitstorm to lockdown the world's remaining oil fields under USA stewardship forever. I don't really know if I buy such a forward-thinking motivation. I think they just want to lock down the USA forever. Recognition of Peak Oil and taking any pro-action on that basis is just too much of a stretch for these guys. Their only interest is political power in the here and now.
Long story short, Los Angeles gets completely obliterated by a suitcase nuke planted by rogue/NeoCon FBI people, coordinated through the Department of Homeland Security and approved by the President. But then one heroic guy exposes the backstory of the crime and due to the resulting firestorm of media investigation and public outcry, the most extreme NeoCon's are chased out of office, and the nation limps onward with a renewed dedication to weaning ourselves off foreign oil.
The idea that some kind of "media exposure" could effectively address a false flag op is ridiculous. In fact, the media is part of the op in the first place. Not that the media is consciously in on the game of course (they are far too stupid to be trusted with any explicit operational role or insider knowledge - honestly they are truly stupid people) but they tacitly understand their place as mil.gov cheerleaders (taking care to nip at The Hand now and then - mustn't be too obvious) and happy to roll over at the merest nod, wink, or nudge from their more clued-in mil.gov handlers. So the end of the book is a ridiculous fairy tale.
But it's clear that:
(a) the Neo-Con's got almost everything desired from 9-11;
(b) that still isn't good enough.
They need more lockdown, the military draft, draconian internet controls, national DNA database; all kinds of cool agendas remain unfulfilled. Now I'm not saying they absolutely must fry one or more USA cities to get the above basket of goodies. Incremental post-9/11-ism will do the job, in due course of time. But isn't it really more fun for them to nudge it along with a Big Fiery Bang? Fortune favors the bold! So I think both Dick Cheney and Alten are correct, an American city probably will be nuked.
In the book, the actual nukes (yeah, real mushroom stuff, not dirty bombs) are clandestinely engineered by a lone rogue Chinese scientist living in the USA. Another unrealistic touch, to me. Probably the bombs will actually come from a USA military unit that agrees with the NeoCon agenda.
I just wish this book was (a) more plausibly and clearly plotted and (b) better written. The characters are thin to the point of ghostliness. The book is also filled with trivial yet distracting typos: "vehicle with new front break pads"; "a training regiment that would challenge me"; "fallout could effect both Pakistan and India", "hoards of people" - lots like that. Guy must've been in a rush to put the book out.
Alten is prescient in some peripheral ways. For example, the President through most of the book's action is "President McKuin" a Republican, former war hero who beat out Hillary Clinton in 2008 - you get the picture, and this was apparently written in early 2007 or well before I for one would have given a plugged nickel for John McCain's chances in the Republican primaries.
The book is the author's mild warning of what might happen if we don't get off foreign oil and go green pretty soon. It is not an indictment of anybody for 9-11, nor does it offer any kind of practical roadmap to forestalling the final lockdown.
The writing quality is B- at best, and it's only mildly entertaining. But I do thank novelist Alten for at least broaching the subject of state-sponsored terror, because probably only through fiction can most Americans begin to approach reality.