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on 13 August 2007
If you wish to learn more about who really runs this troubled world, then read this book and reflect carefully upon its contents. If you have wondered, as I have, why the whole world - governments, corporations and individuals alike - is increasingly mired in debt, then read this book. If you think naively that banks are basically brokers who mediate between depositors and borrowers, then read this book. It will show you how you are fundamentally mistaken. If you think that you understand what money is and how it comes into being then you are probably wrong again and this book will tell you how and why. Its publication is timely as the debt-ridden world financial system now strains to cope with the US subprime debacle. If you have been lured into borrowing more than you can repay and you are about to lose your house, then read this book to understand more deeply your predicament. If your pension fund or your savings have been disastrously invested in risky and maybe now worthless securitized debt then this book will help you to see where your hard earned money has gone and who has benefited.

Although The Web of Debt is mainly about the US banking system and the US dollar, its message that the money supply is in the hands of a private banking cartel and is not in the hands of elected governments is applicable to many countries. It shows how money is created from nothing and then lent to governments at interest, for no good reason other than the historical usurping of this all important function by powerful and ambitious men for their own private gain. Absurdly, governments must then tax their citizens to pay interest to the private bankers, foregoing the obvious alternative of issuing debt-free money themselves. This fascinating book is highly readable, accessible to the layperson and, as a theme, explains the allegorical meaning of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum (the basis of the film The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland).

During the next very few years it seems likely that we will all be affected severely by the now looming and potentially catastrophic breakdown of our debt-based money system. All is not quite hopeless however, and Ellen Brown shows towards the end of the book how, given the political will, we could change to debt-free money issued and spent into the economy by governments directly for the benefit of their citizens. Of course, the elite few who currently control our global money system are not going to give up their immense power voluntarily or easily. Indeed Ellen Brown indicates that they might well be planning to perpetuate and firmly consolidate that power worldwide in a New World Order.

Considering how deeply entangled we all are by debt-based money, it is both amazing and rather sinister that the subject is never analysed and debated openly in the main stream media. We should ponder and query why this is so. With access to the internet and to books such as The Web of Debt we can however now educate ourselves about the fundamentals of our money system. We need to do so urgently. We need also to educate and lobby our politicians, most of whom seem to be just as uninformed as the rest of us about the workings and consequences of arguably the biggest scam ever perpetrated on humanity. READ THIS BOOK.
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on 17 April 2012
This book makes a very important contribution to understanding the mess the world is in and what to do about it. Contrary to the impression given by a one star reviewer below, this book is not primarily about economics, but finance. There is a difference! For a start, most mainstream economists have little interest in money and debt, where it comes from and who controls it. Money has no place in their other-worldly theories. Meanwhile, back on the planet it is just plain old commonsense that money makes the world go around; it represents power, and those who control the money thereby control the world (Kissinger said something along those lines). So Ellen Brown's seminal work goes to the heart of the matter. Five stars.

Now to the point of this review, which is not so much a reflection on the substance of this work, as a heads up regarding the new 5th (January 2012) Edition. A university librarian once told me that publishers generally only bring out a new edition of a work if there is at least 10% new content. That is not the case with the latest `Web of Debt'. I have not been able to discern any difference at all between the new edition and the previous 4th (March 2010) edition. The covers and blurb are the same, the chapter headings, the total number of pages and the pagination are the same. Even the `Author's Note to the Fifth Revised Edition' is a word for word copy of the `Author's Note to the Fourth Revised Edition'. It may be that if I read through the entire 544 pages of both editions in tandem, I might find some subtle revision or correction. Which I suspect is unlikely to be anything significant enough to shell out for. Do correct me if I am wrong!

I got my new copy to keep abreast of Ellen Brown's latest thinking in this area, but I was disappointed by this apparently pointless new edition. Yet it wasn't really a waste of cash - now I can help spread the word by passing one on. Either one -they're equally relevant.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 22 May 2009
Banking is essentially a Ponzi-scheme: banks actually CREATE the (totally worthless because backed by nothing) money supply as loans, while making it appear to be controlled by governments. For over 400 years, these banksters have used this control to enslave nations and ensure perpetual wars and bondage. Keeping all "profits" (interest), they cause the so-called economic 'boom & bust' cycle, recovering their losses (via pathological gambling) from us via taxes - showered over them whenever THEY might otherwise go bust.

The gist of this is in all David Icke's books, in shorter, summary form, and also in books such as "The New Empire of Debt" and the superb "Creature From Jekyll Island". The chapter "Funny Money" in the "Gods of Eden" by William Bramley (first published over three decades ago) provided an elegantly simple - and chilling - explanation of the origins of the money frauds which are currently causing global economic meltdown. "The Grip of Death", whilst written in an old-fashioned manner, also contains excellent points. For those familiar with any of these books, this is a good refresher book and, for those who are new to the truth, it's a great start, providing a brief but horrifying history and a diagnosis of the current failures in our financial institutions.

There are some flaws but these are mere quibbles and, in February 2008, the author wrote (on "Yes, I caught errors myself, which is why I just spent the last 3 months doing an updated and revised version, available on Amazon now; and am working on another revision with a long postscript, hopefully available in a month. The banking system is collapsing very quickly, warranting frequent updates. Managing 500 pages with footnotes has been very difficult, and it has taken me 6 years already; but I had to go to press just because of the crush of events...Much of my challenge has been to make this subject interesting and accessible to people who normally shy away from reading about economics and finance. If they keep turning the pages, I'm halfway there. Ellen Brown"

Whilst this book concentrates on the US, there is valuable historical information about the UK system and anyway the banksters are perpetrating the same scams over here, and most everywhere. Well researched and thorough, it not only covers the history of the current massive money frauds but ties together various international currency crises with a common thread. The book has an easily readable style and clear explanations of complex processes: for the first time ever, for me at least, derivatives are explained in an understandable manner: basically side bets that something (anything!) will go up or down.

The last 7 chapters show us, in an entertaining manner, that there are ways towards a more prosperous world. Most of the suggestions are political (they have to be voted into use) but a few can be put into place by small groups. The most important one, it seems to me, is not even listed - just don't borrow - ever! (Remember "just say no"?)

A fantastic book on the long-ongoing international financial wickedness; worth reading for the history of the monetary system alone. Ideally, no one should be allowed to graduate from school without reading this, as well as the other books listed above, but we live in a far from ideal world.

[Later note: Going way beyond this kind of book, worthy though it is, are the amazing truths explained in Ronald MacDonald's "They Own It All (Including You)" and Veronica Chapman's introductory book "Freedom". More advanced is Menard's wonderful "With Lawful Excuse" available as an ebook for $16 from the WorldFreemanSociety, but you can first have a free look on youtube at Menard's "Bursting Bubbles of Government Deception" to see if the book is likely to interest you. If possible, "With Lawful Excuse" is even better than his videos but I'm glad I read Chapman's introductory book first. I also recommend that you get the "prequel", a book also called "Bursting Bubbles of Government Deception" and costing about $5.50, also from the WorldFreemanSociety, which provides the basics needed to get to grips with "With Lawful Excuse". Chapman's book is about English law whereas Menard's books refer to Canadian law but, of course, as part of the common wealth, the Canadian system is similar to that in England.

The Antiterrorist's 2 highly intelligent books are also suggested for those looking for ways out. For those wanting more, have a look at the free, online offerings of Max Igan, Frank O'Collins and Dean Clifford.

Also, have a look at Google Videos & You Tube, search for Raymond St Clair, the strawman illusion, accepting for value, etc, etc. The videos of Raymond St Claire going into a local court and very politely distressing all the court officials on a fundamental point of law are priceless. The basis of Raymond St Claire's challenge and the reason for their distress is not clear in the videos but IS explained towards the end of the "Freedom" book - namely that judges swear to uphold common law but they are actually sitting in a civil/statute law court where they have no power over you unless you agree (which we are always fooled into doing, because we don't know any better). Don't miss!

What does this have to do with money, you ask? Everything!]
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on 28 November 2011
An extraordinary and important book that manages to be very readable despite the (sometimes) density of the subject. It may leave you gasping at times as you realise what an unsound money system our world is based on. Fortunately it doesn't just explain what has gone wrong and why; it offers remedies. However, because the reader's mindset is inevitably challenged, it can cause initial disbelief.

Web of Debt is bound to attract criticism - partly because it questions previously unquestioned aspects of economics, partly because it's going to embarrass some people and partly because it makes some historical assertions (e.g. about Lincoln's assassination) that may or may not be correct - so expect this book to get some flak from reviewers. I hope their criticism doesn't put you off because the book's central message is hugely important as the seriousness of the global financial crisis continues to grow.

Highly recommended.
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on 10 May 2010
I had this book recommended by 2 separate sources; one was via Amazon, via my buying habits, and the other who works for a major bank on credit card risk analysis.
Although the book is base on the American financial system, theirs is almost (but not quite) a replica of what happens here in the UK, and I imagine much of the rest of the world as well.
I must admit I hadn't realised that the Wizard of Oz was a critique on the American financial system at the time. I will definitely watch it all the way through next time.
What struck me was the evidence (albeit circumstantial), of the sheer number of financial reform politicians who have met with a sad demise. One can't help but be struck with the list of numbers, and that it gets ever longer.
The evidence behind the destruction of the financial well being of Germany after World War One was news to me, as well as the financial manipulation behind the collapse of some countries in South America. The creation of the dust bowl in America in the 1920's was not as my school history book reported it to me, but much more sinister forces were at work.
I note some reviewers on the US site have berated the author for being a former nutrionist. I don't have a problem with this, if what she writes is true, does it matter what her previous occupation was?
Others have castigated her for criticising that the money is controlled by a few incredibly rich families, who hide behind the facade of the Fed, the Bank of England... etc... and saying that the money should be in control of the government. Given politicians ability to mess things up, I can understand their concern, but whether the control of the money supply should be handed over to un-elected and unaccountable oligarchs, I think not.
There is also a criticism of the reference material used in the updated edition. Is using Wikipedia a good source of irrefutable information for a book? However, as the financial system is in imminent danger of collapse and chickens are coming home to roost, no matter what is published will be out of date by the time it hits the proof readers.
After reading this book you will understand why the US is very concerned about Iran and it neighbours going for a new currency to deal in Oil. This alone will send the western world and the US in particular into something akin to freefall. It also explains Iran's desire to obtain nuclear weapons to keep the US at bay. It also makes me wonder how many in China are reading this book and laughing their heads off.
I urge everyone I meet to get a copy of this book and read it; you really do owe it to yourself to understand the money system that controls all our lives.
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Ellen Brown's book is a formidable eye opener. It unveils in a dramatic way the real political and financial history of the US: the battle for the control of the money machine which makes national currency out of tin air.

US history
An all important issue in US history was the struggle between those who supported the idea of a people's (national) bank controlled by the government and those who wanted, for their own pockets, a private (central) bank controlled by a privileged class of financial middlemen. The epic struggle was fought with dirty means (political murders) and won by the latter ones, who thereby were legally entitled to siphon a perpetual tribute in the form of interest from the issued governmental debt. A financial oligarchy with a de facto monopoly was born with enormous power over and within the State. As President F.D. Roosevelt stated: `A financial element has owned the Government since the days of Andrew Jackson.'

Financial web of debts
All money in circulation today comes from government debt that has been monetized by the banking system. The argument that the government should borrow from the banks and not print its own currency is a fallacy, because the banks also create money out of an empty hat (booking loans as assets and use these `assets' many times over again as new loans). There is in any case virtually no `real' money in the system, only debts.

This book shows abundantly that the financial markets are rigged (we discovered recently that the Ponzi schemes were launched from the top).
In the words of the late Susan Strange, we live in a world of casino capitalism. Only 2 % of foreign exchange transactions relate to the real economy, the rest is pure speculation.
Banks, allowed to create money out of nothing, can advance massive loans to their affiliated cartels and hedge funds in order to manipulate markets. Their derivative bets are staggering (370 trillion $ = 28 times the annual output of the entire US economy!)
Staggering are also the numbers of `phantom' shares that are being traded as `naked short sales' (which is legally the same as counterfeiting).

International policies
This US financial monopoly network controls also the international money and commercval system (IMF the World Bank, the WTO). As R. Simpson states in the introduction: `It is a world power elite intent on gaining absolute control over the planet and its natural resources, including human resources. The lifeblood of this power elite is money and its weapon is fear.'
Like international pirates, its representatives were dancing on the heads of millions of destitute people, of whom they robbed half of their purchasing power when the Mexican peso was devalued.

Alternative options
Alternatives are needed because as Abraham Lincoln said: `The wages of men should be recognized as more important than the wages of money.'
For B. Lietaer, `we can produce more than enough food to feed everybody, and there is definitely enough work for everybody in the world, but there is clearly not enough money to pay for it all. The job of central banks is to create and maintain currency scarcity. The direct consequence is that we have to fight with each other to survive.'

The power to create money needs to be returned to the government and the people it represents. Investments could be redirected into education, social security, infrastructure, environment, health care and alternative energy sources.
Moreover, `If the US issued its own money, that money could cover all its expenses and the income tax wouldn't be needed.' (Richard Russell)
But most importantly it would demolish the political power of a tiny oligarchy of bankers whose unlimited source of funds permitted them to buy the media and the government itself.

Political alternatives
In the current context, `elections are only apparent choices, like choosing a brand of detergent made by the same producer.' (A. Roy)
So, `for progressive movements the future doesn't lie with electoral policies, but in street warfare and consumer power.' (H. Zinn)
A Tobin tax on all sales of shares and derivatives should be levied internationally in order to bring all trading into the open!

This formidable book is a must read for all those interested in US history and for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
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on 26 January 2009
A lengthy but very readable exposure of the true nature of the global banking system. It's difficult not to feel very real anger when reading this. Anger at how a colossal Ponzi scheme controls the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet, creating poverty, artificial scarcity and endless conflict. Changing this fraudulent money system will be difficult, but the book will encourage readers to look at ways that they themselves can withdraw from the private central banking system, an act which in itself will help move humanity towards a fairer society based on abundance and freedom for all. Make no mistake - the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do today is get informed about what money REALLY is and how it works. This book is a good place to begin.
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on 6 November 2012
This book is not only a must have, but absolutely a must read. It is a complete overview with regard to the financial situation in the world. I have read a lot of other interesting books about this and also seen a lot of interesting documentaries. The power of this book is the complete historical overview and the unmasking of the forces and their goals behind the so-called problems as we see. It shows a well-organized movement which enriched themselves at the expense of large parts of the global population. They absolutely don't care about hunger, poverty, war or environment. It's amazing that it can continue while it is so visible, that politicians also cooperate despite the dramatic consequences. The situation, also in Europe, where de politicians convince the population that needs to be cut at all built up human care because we would have spent to much, is one big lie.
The book shows that there is enough money for a decent existence for all people.
I hope that this book will be translated into many languages.Democracy for the FewFreefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global EconomyThe Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster CapitalismThe Lugano Report: On Preserving Capitalism in the Twenty-first Century
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on 9 July 2008
Her basic point, that the current economic and financial system is unstable, and headed into an immediate and immense crisis, is very well-founded. Her suggestion that some kind of "Greenback"-style fiat currency would be far preferable also seems very plausible. The book is written in a very accessible positive style, in the same kind of can-do tone of a popular self-help book.

However, Hodgson Brown's grasp of history and economics is a bit shaky. Various minor historical howlers (William and Mary coming to English throne when "Duke of York" dies, etc.) make me a bit leery of accepting statements she makes when she is talking about areas on which I am less knowledgeable. Her understanding of economics is very vague and hazy: at points where I didn't already know what she was trying to explain, such as with the medieval tally system, she was very hard to follow. I suspect that someone with only a little economics background would not gain much real understanding from this. I hate to criticise a 450-page book for excessive brevity, but she does skim over many topics that really need to be handled in a great more depth.

The economic theory she is propounding is similar to that more rigorously put forward by Michael Rowbotham, that fractional reserve banking involves banks creating money out of nothing, and that the money returns to banks as profit. It suffers of course from the same potential defects, for example, that inflation and default could potentially eat away all those profits.

Her book is far stronger when it leaves general theory and history, and gets on to the intricate details of the current crisis. The financial system is currently breaking down, with vast sums of essentially worthless money being pumped into the financial markets to desperately try to keep the major financial institutions afloat. It seems clear that this is a game that can't last much longer. She has plenty of well-informed insights in this area, at least as far as I've been able to check them.

Despite her occasional reliance on characters like LaRouche, she writes very readably with great enthusiasm, and covers a vast amount of ground, and brings up some fascinating topics. By all means read it, because it will give you ideas, and introduce you to new facts and theories, whoever you are. I'd suggest however, checking what she says to ensure you get a more informed view of each particular area she covers.
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on 23 October 2013
If you believe a) You live in a democracy or b) Your country enjoys a free press or b) Economic growth is inevitable or if, like me, you have wondered for ages 'Where does money come from?' I would urge you to read this book. Despite the complex and dense nature of the subject matter it is surprisingly easy to read thanks to Ellen Brown's skill as a communicator. The use of the Wizard of Oz story as a metaphor for the way the world of money works is a device that further serves to enlighten.

At times I felt like I was reading a thriller, so shocking were the revelations about how 'the system' really works. Had I not read so many other corroborating sources on this subject I might have dismissed this book as fanciful or one sided. On the contrary, I can believe Ellen Brown's assertion that 99% of people do not know where money comes from and trust our leaders to be doing the best they can for their people in difficult circumstances. Nothing could be further from the truth. The politicians we believe we have elected as part of a democratic process are merely puppets who are in place thanks to the agreement of the 'big bank cohort' (Rothschild, Rockefeller and JP Morgan for example come in for much criticism). These people, Brown explains, have, for centuries, systematically sought to enslave populations around the world by financial manipulation aimed at creating the maximum amount of debt in order to maximise their profit. Anyone in government or elsewhere who has attempted to get in their way (Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy et al) by, for example, taking the right to create money away from central banks (which are private, not state, institutions) in favour of government creation of money has been cast aside ruthlessly but surreptitiously.

No wonder the main stream press reports nothing about the parlous state of world finances. The press is effectively controlled by the banks too. The world at large is therefore kept ignorant of the real source of our financial ailments. One can only hope that the great Ponzi scheme that is fractional reserve banking will implode sooner rather than later and that a better system will replace it. Don't hold your breath though.

For hundreds more reviews of this book (mostly 5*) see
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