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Baseless Reviews

Baseless by Nicholson Baker

Baseless: My Search for Secretsin the Ruins of the Freedomof Informati

Nicholson Baker

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Prentice Hall Press
Publisher: Prentice Hall Press
Publication date: 21 Jul 2020
ISBN: 9780735215757

A major new work, a hybrid of history, journalism, and memoir, about the modern Freedom of Information Act - FOIA - and the horrifying, decades-old government misdeeds that it is unable to demystify, from one of America's most celebrated writers

3 stars out of 5
15 Jan 2021

"An indelible portrait of the CIA’s institutional derangement"

There’s an exotic cast to Baseless. It’s replete with grim “cryptonyms”, such as GIBBETT (a “sarin nerve gas plant” under construction in Alabama) and CARCASS (an operation to train ex-Nazi collaborators to foment insurrection in the Soviet Union), and sinister-sounding anagram-like names: Detlev Bronk, Oram Woolpert, Alenda Crymble, Hubertus Strughold. (Bland or effeminate names are vivified with macho sobriquets – Hugh “Iron Pants” Johnson, Claire “Leatherface” Chennault.)

With the lethal gadgetry and hare-brained schemes (a time-release “bomb gondola” that “opened like a clamshell” to spill a payload of crop-spoiling “spores”; an idea to unleash bats synched into “napalm vests” on Tokyo during the second World War), it all suggests James Bond hokum.