The Report from Iron Mountain is a book published in 1967 (during the Johnson Administration) by Dial Press which puts itself forth as the report of a government panel. The book includes the claim it was authored by a Special Study Group of fifteen men whose identities were to remain secret and that it was not intended to be made public. It details the analyses of a government panel which concludes that war, or a credible substitute for war, is necessary if governments are to maintain power. The book was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into fifteen languages. Controversy still swirls over whether the book was a satiric hoax about think-tank logic and writing style or the product of a secret government panel. In 1972, Leonard Lewin said the book was a spoof and that he was its author.
In 1996, Jon Elliston wrote that the book is generally believed to be a hoax authored by one man, Leonard Lewin, and the book was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Most Successful Literary Hoax.” Some people claim that the book is genuine and has only been called a hoax as a means of damage control. Trans-Action devoted an issue to the debate over the book. Esquire magazine published a 28,000-word excerpt. (Kifner, 1999)
In an article in the March 19, 1972 edition of the New York Times Book Review, Lewin said that he had written the book.
Statements made by John Kenneth Galbraith in support of authenticity
On November 26, 1976, the report was reviewed in the book section of The Washington Post by Herschel McLandress, the pen name for Harvard professor John Kenneth Galbraith. Galbraith wrote that he knew firsthand of the report’s authenticity because he had been invited to participate in its creation; that although he was unable to be part of the official group, he was consulted from time to time and had been asked to keep the project secret; and that while he doubted the wisdom of letting the public know about the report, he agreed totally with its conclusions.
He wrote: “As I would put my personal repute behind the authenticity of this document, so would I testify to the validity of its conclusions. My reservation relates only to the wisdom of releasing it to an obviously unconditioned public.”
Six weeks later, in an Associated Press dispatch from London, Galbraith went even further and jokingly admitted that he was a member of the conspiracy. The following day, Galbraith backed off. When asked about his ‘conspiracy’ statement, he replied: “For the first time since Charles II The Times has been guilty of a misquotation… Nothing shakes my conviction that it was written by either Dean Rusk or Mrs. Clare Booth Luce”.
The original reporter reported the following six days later: “Misquoting seems to be a hazard to which Professor Galbraith is prone. The latest edition of the Cambridge newspaper Varsity quotes the following (tape recorded) interchange: Interviewer: ‘Are you aware of the identity of the author of Report from Iron Mountain?’ Galbraith: ‘I was in general a member of the conspiracy, but I was not the author. I have always assumed that it was the man who wrote the foreword – Mr. Lewin’.”
Those who state that the book is really the report of a government panel state that on at least three occasions – including one tape-recorded exchange – Galbraith publicly endorsed the authenticity of the report, but denied that he wrote it.
Galbraith, a Keynesian, was aware of the irony of his mis-statements considering his quotation on a late edition of J. M. Keynes 1919 book The Economic Consequences of the Peace. “The most important economic document relating to World War I and its aftermath.” – John Kenneth Galbriath.
Keynes’ book set out the inevitable “rapid depression of the standard of life of the European populations to a point which will mean actual starvation for some (a point already reached in Russia and approximately reached in Austria). Men will not always die quietly. For starvation, which brings to some lethargy and a helpless despair, drives other temperaments to the nervous instability of hysteria and to a mad despair.
The Report from Iron Mountain from Wikipedia®