Mark Jacobson: Pale Horse Rider in the Rare Book Room
Where: The Strand
212-473-1452 Price: $27 Admission & Signed Copy grants you admission for one, plus one signed copy of the book. $5 Admission & Gift Card grants you admission for one, plus one $5 gift card to our store.
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We are living in a time of unprecedented distrust in America: Faith in the government is at an all-time low, and political groups on both sides of the aisle are able to tout preposterous conspiracy theories as gospel, without much opposition. “Fake news” is the order of the day. This book is about a man to whom all of it points, the greatest conspiracist of this generation and a man you may not have heard of.
A former U.S. naval intelligence worker, Milton William Cooper published his manifesto Behold a Pale Horse in 1991. Since then it has gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, becoming the number-one bestseller in the American prison system. (Bookscan lists sales at 289,000 since 2005.) According to Behold a Pale Horse, JFK was assassinated—because he was about to reveal that extraterrestrials were about to take over the earth—by his driver, an alien himself; AIDS is a government conspiracy to decrease the population of blacks, Hispanics, and homosexuals; and the Illuminati are secretly involved with the U.S. government to manage relationships with extraterrestrials. Cooper died in a shootout with Apache County police in 2001, one month after September 11, in the year in which he had predicted catastrophe.
Many of Cooper’s conclusions were driven by personal demons and a highly creative connection of dots, and yet they have shaped much of the fabric of American life in the past few decades. Terry Nichols, Timothy McVeigh’s cohort in the Oklahoma City bombing, was a fan, and Behold a Pale Horse has great appeal among right-wing radicals. On the other hand, the book transcends class and race barriers: It is read primarily by poor blacks in prison and appeals to people who acutely feel that society is fixed against them. It has inspired numerous hip-hop groups and continues to do so.
In Pale Horse Rider, journalist Mark Jacobson not only tells the story of Cooper’s fascinating life but also provides the social and political context for American paranoia. Indeed, with the present NSA situation and countless other shadowy government dealings often in the news, aren’t we right to suspect that things may not be as they seem?
Join us as Mark sits down with the former head of Atlantic Records, Danny Goldberg, to discuss his book in the Rare Book Room.
Mark Jacobson is a long-time New York-based journalist. A staff writer for the Village Voice during the 1970’s, he has been a contributing editor to New York Magazine, Rolling Stone and worked at a wide variety of publications. His books include The Lampshade and the novel Gojiro.His journalism served as the source material for the movie American Gangster and the TV show Taxi.
Danny Goldberg is a noted music industry executive, author of In Search of The Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea, along with the forthcoming Serving The Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain, an account of his time managing the late rock icon.