3 out of 4 stars
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An acre of hemp can neutralize four times more carbon dioxide and produce four times more oxygen than an acre of forest. Let that sink in for a moment.
In his 2020 book, A Wall of Hate (Made in USA), octogenarian Gill Gervais assembles historical facts that help make sense of current events. Gervais explores how greed, mind control, propaganda and the disappeared hemp plant all became bricks in the wall of hate that now has America at a crossroads.
Hemp is a non-mind-altering element of the cannabis plant with the ability to make thousands of beneficial products, heal untold illnesses, solve world hunger (literally), supercharge the economy and reverse climate change. True story. In the late 1920s, corporate tycoons learned that this beneficial miracle plant threatened their financial interests in oil, paper, petrochemicals, plastics and pharmaceuticals. Hemp was swiftly banished from the American conversation.
The war on marijuana was the government’s secret solution to the hemp “problem.” Marijuana and hemp were deemed evil and banned. The dirty industries that would come to threaten all of humanity were allowed to flourish. This is not the only time fear and greed have trumped the essential progress toward the survival of our species.
The ideas in this book are not new, but Gervais provides the force field needed to pull it together and answer the question, “How could this happen in America?” The author explains the relevance of brainwashing and mind-control techniques, their origins in Germany and Russia and their secret introduction to the US. Reading the list of mind control techniques was disturbing: appeal to the lowest instincts, repeat lies until they’re accepted as truth, gather large crowds and orchestrate divisive chants, shift blame, create dramatic diversions, normalize violence….. Of the long list, the only tactic we don’t see daily in America is starting a war. And the groundwork is being laid for that.
My interpretation of the author’s message is this: As long as money and power stay married, all’s well at the top. Income inequality and racism grow, and marginalized minority groups get poorer and sicker. When an oppressed group is perceived as gaining wealth or power – say a black man is elected president – action must be taken to skew the scales of injustice again.
Gervais reminds us that WWII didn’t come out of the gate with concentration camps and gas chambers. It started with a charismatic politician sowing fear and division and fueling racist attitudes with aggressive rhetoric. Mind control was weaponized to further the cause, and an estimated 11 million Jews were murdered.
The final section of the book, Personal Transformation, is a primer on karma and the law of attraction. The karma piece works as the collective karma of our nation appears to be playing out right now. The law of attraction piece is only marginally related to the book’s subject and doesn’t add value to the thesis. The author’s significant mischaracteriztion of addiction and its roots in trauma was also an unwelcome inclusion.
Gervais’s book is well written in a friendly-but-seasoned voice. It appears to be professionally edited. Some minor errors in spacing, tense and punctuation exist. The book’s nine chapters could use some section breaks to connect thoughts.
For its current relevance, historical accuracy and good writing, I award A Wall of Hate 3 out of 4 stars. The unconnected dots, the errors and questionable final section cost the one star. Adult-aged readers interested in how democracies fall, or specifically in America’s current precipice, will learn from this book. It’s an easy read, full of watershed moments that led to the stormy seas of present-day America.
A Wall of Hate
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