Saturday, June 11, 2016

Between the United Nations and Conspiracy: Unexpected Discoveries on William G. Carr

One World in the Making by William G. Carr. Ginn and Company. 1946.
In  One World in the Making, author William G. Carr states the purpose for this book in no uncertain terms, right there in the Foreword.

"THIS BOOK HAS BEEN WRITTEN WITH JUST ONE SIMPLE PURPOSE: to make it as easy as possible for anyone, young or old, to understand the United Nations Charter."

And as you can see, William G. Carr added the capitalization himself--today's textual equivalent of screaming.

William G. Carr is listed on the title page as a United Nations consultant and Deputy Secretary-General for the educational and cultural arm of the United Nations Conference

(2) William Guy Carr  R.D. Commander R.C.N
In photos of Mr. Carr, he looks  every bit the part of a United Nations expert.  And so he should.

Born in England and educated in Scotland, Mr. Carr chose the seafaring and military life at the young age of fourteen. (1)  He served as a navigating officer in the British Navy, seeing extensive combat action serving aboard submarines.(2)  During World War II he worked for the Canadian Intelligence Service, afterward retiring from the Navy in 1950. (1)

Amid and between his active service Mr. Carr wrote and published books about his battle experiences, including By Guess and By God  (1930), Hell's Angels of the Deep (1932) and Checkmate in the North  (1944). (1)  

So One World in the Making  would seem to fit in neatly with Mr. Carr's military experience. 

I'll return to the story of William Guy Carr shortly--and believe me there is much more story to tell--but let's turn to One World in the Making  first.

This book starts off well in fulfilling its goals of making the United Nations understandable for anyone.

The front end paper features a bold red and black diagram of the main historic events leading to the formation of the UN.   It's eye-catching, simply labeled and festooned with adorable little icons for each geographic place listed.

 The first 14 pages are equally effective, including illustrations, photographs and explanations written in a conversational style  using easily accessible language.

On the 14th page is a tidy paragraph that neatly lays out who would be eligible to belong to the United Nations.  It is written in almost a storybook style, with repetitive phrases and easy descriptions.

Most unfortunately, this is also where nearly all the clarity of this book ends.

 Starting on page 15 and continuing on for the next 75 pages, Mr. Carr introduces a complex series of charts, analogies and icons that had me flipping back and forth repeatedly as I tried to make sense of them.   After 3 or 4 head-scratching tries I found the logic within the seeming madness, and while it was ultimately rather elegant, it did nothing to fulfill the goals of the book to make the UN accessible to anyone and everyone.

 The last approximately 50 pages consist of seemingly cut-and-pasted mock ups of the actual UN charter, the contents of which are explained and discussed using little pull out boxes, much like side bar editing features in today's word processing programs.

The descriptions themselves are clear, but the design of the pages, coupled with the presence of icons designed to refer back to branches of government, created an overwhelming whole on which I eventually gave up.

At the end, right before a section entitled "Study Helps", are two pages of signatures of the fifty nations that signed the UN Charter in San Francisco on April 25th, 1945.  These two pages of signatures had greater impact on me than the previous seventy five.  As my eyes scanned down the list of countries and signatures, noting countries that were included and those that were not,  I was able to clearly reflect on the history of the time, the complexities of politics and geography and war.   These signatures added a human stamp to a book that, for all it's hopes, made the creation of the United Nations seem dry, distant and impossibly complex. 

And at least one young reader seems to have agreed with me, for on the last end paper was this editorial remark:

But wait!  We must return to William Guy Carr.  After writing this very proper book about the United Nations and subsequently retiring from active military service, Mr. Carr abandoned his writings of war memoirs and delved deeply and permanently into the world of conspiracy theories.

And he didn't just dabble in conspiracy theories.  As quoted on Goodreads and other websites, William Carr was  "the most influential source in creating the American Illuminati demonology", (American folklorist Bill Ellis) (3)

Mr. Carr's books began to take a decidedly different turn.  He churned out multiple books detailing an Illuminati conspiracy: Pawns in the Game (1955),  Red Fog over America (1955),  Satan Prince of this World (1959)  and published posthumously, The Conspiracy to Destroy All Existing Governments and Religions (approx. 1960).  (1).  In addition he published numerous papers and articles, all focusing, laser-like, on a vast conspiracy in which Christianity, the Illuminati, our country's founding fathers, countless nations around the world, money, war and power are all tied up in a vast and terrifying racist/anti-semitic bundle in which Mr. Carr passionately believed until his death in 1959. (1)(4)

To say I was shocked to discover this hidden truth behind the author of my $5 vintage book discovery would be an understatement.  However as I have discovered time and again in my vintage book quests, you really can't judge a book--or an author or an illustrator--by the cover.  Sometimes the most unremarkable book can hold secrets--either divine or diabolical--which we least expect.

Now when I see One World in the Making on my shelf, I won't see a mild-mannered history book, but the conspiratorial madness behind the eyes of an unassuming retired military man for whom the brutal impacts of battle and world politics may have left too deep of a mark.  






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