American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune And The Politics Of Deceit In The House Of Bush, Kevin Phillips, Viking, 2004.

Kevin Phillips, former Nixon strategist turned insightful political and economic commentator, gives the nation a new and lasting monument to the Bush family dynasty. If you read one book this election year, none can be more important to the future course of our republic than American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune And The Politics Of Deceit In The House Of Bush.

Phillips peels away, through exhaustive research, the mythology of the Bush family. Recently, Jay Hoster, past president of the Columbus Historical Society, pointed out that President George W. Bush’s great-grandfather Samuel Prescott Bush, “served as president of Buckeye Steel Casting Co. from 1905 to 1927, but that’s merely one of his accomplishments.” Indeed.

Phillips provides new revelations regarding the accomplishments of the Bush family by drawing on several disparate historical sources. Phillips’ thesis is straightforward; the Bush family rose to power on the following practices: “arms deals, clandestine shipments, covert operations, rogue banks, and money laundering.” Equally important, Phillips persuasively argues that, “If the Rockefellers, Harrimans, Morgans, and Stillmans of National City Bank were at the center, the Walker and Bush families were part of their supporting cast,” in war profiteering from World War I to the present invasion of Iraq.

Far from the manufactured images of the two Bush presidents as self-made middle-class entrepreneurs, “three generations of Bushs and Walkers were wealthy enough to have significant Rockefeller ties.”

“Sam Bush’s Ohio firm, Buckeye Steel Casting, made money out of World War I armaments, even while Sam was in Washington regulating ordinance and forgings,” Phillips writes, and better yet, documents this accomplished conflict of interest in great detail. Phillips dissects the Bush family’s secretive business connections in the military industrial complex and how they morphed into even more dubious military intelligence and national security dealings.

Phillips cautiously points out what has been long suspected that former CIA Director George Bush the Elder possibly developed his “CIA connection” at Yale and that his oil “company Zapata Offshore could have become at least partially a CIA front sometime in the 1950s or early 60s.” Phillips dismisses the CIA’s attempt in the1980s to deny that the George Bush briefed after the Kennedy assassination by the FBI was a different George Bush of Houston, Texas as “distinctly unconvincing.”

Phillips details three generations of Bush family Skull and Bones secrecy and shenanigans involving Prescott, George the Elder and George the Younger. As Phillips notes “These societies have a considerable overlap with the OSS, and the CIA, for which they were good preparation. Bones-men, in particular, were conditioned to level with each other and to keep secrets from (or deceive) outsiders.”

This, of course, helps explain the fabled Bush family “posturing as candidates.” The Bush family’s ability to lie with enthusiasm was a trademark of both Skull and Bones and the CIA. It also helped Prescott Bush hide his ties to Nazi Germany during his election to the Senate in 1950.

Prescott Bush left Columbus soon after the Ohio State Journal published a prank letter from his on August 8, 1918 claiming he had been awarded “Three High Military Honors.” The Ohio State Journal erroneously reported that Army Captain Prescott Bush won the Distinguished Service Cross, the Victorian Cross, and the Legion of Honor after saving the lives of Generals Pershing, Foch and Haig as he knocked down a nearly fatal artillery shell with his bolo knife. So, if you wonder where the idea for the current President Bush to land on an aircraft carrier in a military flight suit came from, despite George W. having lost his flight status in the National Guard while defending Texas and Alabama from the North Vietnamese, look to granddaddy.

American Dynasty is not without its flaws. Phillips only mentions once the Bush family’s creepy and sinister ties to CIA asset, and self-professed Messiah, Rev. Moon. Much of this is well-documented in the public record.

That aside, it’s difficult to disagree with Phillips’ conclusion that the Bush family are modern Machiavellians. Bush the Elder’s favorite political advisor was the late Lee Atwater, a man who professed to re-reading Machiavelli yearly, while Bush the Younger prefers Karl Rove, another Machiavelli devotee.

During this election year, after reading Phillips book while watching the Bushs in action, we should always remember Machiavelli’s advice to the Prince: “A prince must take great care that nothing comes out of his mouth that is not full of the above-named five qualities, and, to see and hear him, he should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity and religion.” Ah, inoculate yourself to the lies. Read American Dynasty.

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