“January 6, 2021, will live in infamy in American history, along with
September 11, 2001, and other dates. For the first time in the country's
history, a sitting president rallied a violent mob to try to overturn a
legitimate election in a real-life horror story that saw the U.S. come close to
falling into an authoritative nightmare.
While many blamed the Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol
and even political opponents for the violence, Operation Chaos shows how the
attack was a clandestine operation coordinated and supported by top Trump aides
and even the president himself. In fact, the title of the book came from a
dirty trick ploy that Trump and backers executed in early 2020 to disrupt
Democratic Party primaries. After that operation failed, Trump and his schemers
ratcheted up their dark activities by several levels, climaxing with Operation
Occupy the Capitol, a campaign employed by grassroots GOP operatives at the
urging of Trump and party leaders. The operations employed the trend of
political extremist groups to work in leaderless cells, with top leaders
issuing orders through code words and general social media and app messages to
attempt to avoid legal prosecution.
To document this story, veteran journalist Kevin James Shay, who has
worked in the Washington, D.C., area for almost two decades, poured over public
documents from the FBI, police departments, federal, state, and local
governments, and other government agencies. He reviewed hundreds of news
articles, videos, broadcasts, studies, and reports, and interviewed sources
himself. He analyzed posts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media feeds.
Approaching this story as a true crime tale involving chaotic deceit and
deception that have been ongoing for years, he pieces together clues that help
readers better understand how and why the tragedy occurred, uncovering fresh
details and writing the story in a moving narrative that gives
After graduating from the University of North Texas in 1981 Kevin
James Shay did the obvious, started writing for magazines, newspapers, and
other journalistic outlets. He’s also managed to write several books, some
showing his interest in travel and others more in keeping with his vocation,
covering subjects such as history, journalism, and politics.
For more, check out Shay’s posts on Medium.
I think it would be fair to say that I have ambiguous feelings about
this book. I’m also not sure if those ambiguous feelings are a good thing or a
bad thing. We’ll start with what the book got best, at least from my point of
view. It does a great job of documenting the invasion of the US Capitol
Building on January 6, 2021 and the many pertinent factors and circumstances that
led to this climactic event. It is also extensively footnoted so the reader
will know where the author got much of the information he is presenting and you
can gauge the credibility or potentially even go check out the source yourself
if you wanted to dig deeper. One minor nit I’d pick with these footnotes is that
I would have liked the footnotes in the ebook version to have been linked so
that if a particular statement made me want to dig deeper, I could easily click
(or tap with my finger since I’m using a Kindle) on the footnote to find the
source, do whatever investigation I wanted to do, and then easily return to
where I’d left off using the back function on my Kindle. But that’s a minor
formatting concern, not a concern with the content itself.
Where the content is concerned, I found it very credible, but I’m also
concerned that my personal biases might be at work in that regard. I was
already aware of a large share of the things outlined here, however reviewing
them all one right after the other en masse by reading this book drove home those
conclusions I’d already come to. Those things I hadn’t already read about only
reinforced those feelings. My suspicion is that those who have an opinion about
these events that fits with mine would find this book to be a worthwhile read
if they wanted a review of the facts and to possibly expand their knowledge
about the factors involved.
For those who have an opinion the opposite of mine, reading this book
with an open mind might lead them to a different conclusion, but I have my
doubts. My main reason for thinking that is that the author’s bias comes
through in a few ways that I think would make me concerned if I wasn’t in
agreement with him. One representative example has to do with masks. During the
coronavirus pandemic many states had rules regarding the wearing of masks in
public places, especially inside buildings, but some states and situations even
required masks be worn outside. Some people, those that leaned far right
politically being one example (since the government wasn’t going to tell them
what to do), had a tendency to ignore those rules during this time. The author
constantly pointed out when a group of people was taking some action in the
book that the participants were “mostly maskless.” It reached the point of
overkill. Especially later when he described those invading the US Capitol
saying that “many wore bandanas and masks, along with headgear, to better hide
their identities from security cameras.” They may well have worn the masks for
that reason and the masks they wore might not have been different from those
most wore to minimize the spreading of germs, but I also knew that if they hadn’t
worn the masks he’d have pointed that out as pertinent too. Not that these people
deserve anyone to cut them any slack, but at least where the issue of masks is
concerned, they could do no right.
In summary, if you think Trump instigated the invasion of the Capitol
Building and you want to see all the evidence to support that in one place,
this is a book for you. If you’ve got no opinion, you might give it a shot too.
Others … I better not say any more.
from: Amazon US Amazon UK
Some adult language.
No significant issues.
word count: 80-85,000 words