The Most Revolutionary Act (memoir)
Winner of 2011 Allbooks Review Editor’s Choice Award
Link to audiobook:
Please feel free to review my book “The Most Revolutionary Act – Memoir of an American Refugee” on askDavid.com
From the Reviews:
Don’t Read This Book if Not Interested in the Truth!!!!
Amazon Review by Margaret Singer (Oct 28, 2011)
WARNING: You will not be the same person after reading this book!
Review by Emily Jane Hills Orford
Title: The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee
Author: Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
Do you feel safe in your house at night? Have you ever wondered about those annoying, middle-of-the-night phone calls that you thought were just a random wrong number? Have you noticed someone following you? Frightening? Yes! Imagine having this happen relentlessly for years: phone calls at all hours of the day and night; people following you; people pretending to be your friend, your client, your patient; people breaking into your house; people threatening your life; people ending the lives of people you have come to know through your practice and your volunteer activities. These things are frightening enough without the added phone taps and tampering with the television cable so that the programming is altered to implement a direct personal assault on an individual’s mental health. This and more happened to an American psychiatrist, Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall. Not only did these threats affect her safety and that of her daughter, they also affected her psychiatric practice and had her committed to the psychiatric ward, induced with countless drugs and labelled as being psychotically paranoid and manic depressive. Why? It all started when she tried to help transform an abandoned school in Seattle into an African American Museum.
Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall is a captivating storyteller. Her memoir, The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee, chronicles thirty years of her life as she tried to maintain her psychiatric practice in Seattle, Washington, while raising a daughter and being actively involved in several volunteer groups that rigorously sought to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. Her fight to bring research on safe AIDS treatment to the fore in the 1970s struck a raw-nerve in certain government departments. Her fight to defend African Americans abused by the system, abused by the police, resulted in greater harassment. She also lobbied for basic health care insurance for all Americans; helped establish and support, both financially and physically, the African American Museum; and she was frequently sought to financially back those who were wrongly accused in the Seattle justice system. Her views on American politics may have seemed radical to many; but hearing her story, from her point-of-view, one begins to wonder if there isn’t a conspiracy out there to block the so-called ‘freedom of speech’ right and condemn those who dare to question it.
Dr. Bramhall continued her practice in Seattle, despite the continual harassment and death threats, for thirty years. She had no desire to uproot her daughter during her early school years. After her daughter moved away to university, Dr. Bramhall made her decision to immigrate. She accepted a posting in New Zealand, and made the move. She is currently practicing child and adolescent psychiatry in New Plymouth.
The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee is an almost shocking memoir about what lies beneath the world as we want to see it.
(Review) Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee, Eloquent Books, New York, 2010
By Nicky Hagar, Author of The Hollow Men
The FBI’s aggressive infiltration and disruption of political groups in the US since the 1960s has been an appalling episode of US political history. All manner of political groups have been wrecked after being manipulated and betrayed by government informers, while their members lived with strain and damaged relationships from never being sure who they could trust or what was really going on.
Stuart Jeanne Bramhall’s The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee is an autobiography revolving around her 15 years as a political campaigner facing these problems of trust and infiltration in dysfunctional social movements in the 1980s and 1990s Seattle. It is a well written, thoughtful and very honest book about twenty years of her life, including these intensely destructive politics, relationships, life as a practising psychiatrist and being a parent.
The book is a ‘memoir of an American refugee’ because in 2002, as the Iraq War inexorably approached, she applied for and was appointed to a psychiatry job in faraway New Zealand. The book ends as she leaves the US, with grateful relief for the better life awaiting her. The other half of the title is from Rosa Luxemburg’s words: “The most revolutionary act is a clear view of the world as it really is.” It is probably impossible to have a clear view of something as murky as the infiltrated progressive politics she lived through, but in the book we see an intelligent person telling the story of these real and hard experiences as clearly as is possible.
E. Patrick’s Blog
- by Eric Gilliland
Monday, September 6, 2010
Book Review: The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
The Most Revolutionary Act by by Dr. Stuart Bramhall is a gripping and often disturbing memoir about 15 years of alleged government harassment she faced following her activism on behalf of African-American community organizers in Seattle during the mid 1980s. Dr. Bramhall was a practising psychologist in Seattle until 2002 when she emigrated to New Zealand to evade shadowy figures that refused to leave her alone. The book is well written and has the feel of an exceptional suspense novel. It is a strange story to be sure, at times venturing into Kafkaesque territory where nothing is as it seems. The strongest part of the book is Dr. Bramhall’s own self awakening about the National Security State and the threats to the rights of every citizen. Conspiracy theorists will likely use her story to confirm some of their most amazing claims, while general readers will take a more skeptical approach. Either way, this book will make any serious reader the dangers that face all free thinking people in the 21st century.
View complete review: http://epatrick909.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html
A Psychiatrist Searches for Sanity in a Crazy World
For OpEdNews: Michael David Morrissey – Writer
Review of The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee, by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall (Eloquent Books, 2010)
This is a frightening book. Much of it reads like a thriller, but unfortunately it is a true story. Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, a woman (despite the unusual first name) and a psychiatrist, describes her 15-year long mental, emotional and physical ordeal resulting from her involvement in leftist activist politics in Seattle, Washington.
Beginning in 1986, says Bramhall, “for some unknown reason, some faceless higher-up in one of the eleven federal agencies that spy on American citizens decided I posed a threat to national security,” and from then on she was subjected to phone harassment, wiretaps, break-ins, and even attempts on her life. Since she was never able to prove any of this (and how does one prove it?), she was also confronted with the disbelief of her own professional colleagues, who were quick to diagnose her as “psychotic” and gave her the choice of losing her medical license or spending a week in a locked ward at a mental hospital for observation. She chose the latter, though she continued to be misdiagnosed and over-medicated, which exacerbated her mental torment and had serious physical side-effects that lasted for years afterward.
Bramhall learned the hard way that her fellow medical professionals were the last people in the world she could be honest with about her feelings of persecution:
The moment I mentioned the CIA, my psychiatrist decided I was psychotic and refused to listen anything else I said… Nelson’s erroneous diagnosis stemmed from pure political naiveté. He had no reason to come in contact with political or union activists, unemployed whistleblowers or the low-income street people that the police, and, I believed, U.S. intelligence, recruited as informants. Nevertheless, I had no confidence in any of my colleagues to objectively assess my mental state. I practiced in a totally different world from other Seattle psychiatrists, who automatically turned away patients who couldn’t afford their one hundred dollar fee.
Bramhall was never more than a “lukewarm radical”:
I was a very late bloomer politically. Despite my early disenchantment with the “establishment,” as we called it in the sixties and seventies, it never occurred to me to blame political factors for my chronic sense of loneliness, alienation, and unmet emotional and social needs.
At thirty-five, she “fell into Marxism almost by accident” when a medical colleague invited her to join CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, formed in 1981 to protest Reagan’s covert war against El Salvador). Marxism helped her “make sense for the first time of a political system riddled with contradictions,” but she “never accepted the need for violent revolution to overthrow capitalism.”
This would have been enough, I think, to have alienated her from most of her colleagues, since it must be as almost as hard to be a “Marxist” psychiatrist in the U.S. as it was to a “capitalist” one in the former Soviet Union, where political deviance was routinely equated with psychosis.
But Bramhall crossed a number of other tripwires in her efforts to combine political activism with her profession, the most conspicuous one being the color line. As a white woman who actively pursued her profession, as well as social and political associations, in the African American community, she became involved with other activists whose motivations, she came to suspect, were not as innocent or transparent as her own. One of her early acquaintances, a former Black Panther called Jabari Sisulu, put it succinctly: “White professionals who fraternize with black radicals are at much greater risk than I am.” Bramhall’s story is testimony to the truth of this statement.
Over the years, as she continued to participate in local activist projects like the effort to turn an abandoned school building in Seattle into an African American museum and cultural center, Bramhall broadened her political consciousness by reading about the assassination of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Cointelpro, AIDS, and more recently, 9/11 — in short, by delving into the immense body of literature dealing with the facts and evidence about such topics that continues to be systematically suppressed by the mainstream press and dismissed as “conspiracy theory” but which is now readily accessible on the internet. At some points, her activities at the “micro” level intersected, perhaps with consequences, with the “macro” level (my terms), such as her association with Edna Laidlow, who claimed to be the lover of the “umbrella man” at Dealey Plaza who supposedly gave the signal to begin the shooting of JFK. She also suspects that her effort to publicize an ulcer drug called “Tagomet” [sic, presumably Tagamet] as a treatment for AIDS may have triggered a covert response.
The reader, like Bramhall herself, waits in vain for any resolution of the question of who was harassing her and why. This is hardly surprising, since none of the issues at the “macro” level have been resolved either. Despite the ever-increasing mountain of evidence of government involvement in multitudinous conspiracies (“plans by more than one person to do bad things”) against “the people,” both domestic and foreign, the steadfast response of both government and mainstream press, which are in this respect identical, remains the same. It is not denial — which would require facts and arguments — but silence.
Thus Bramhall leaves us, at the end of the book in 2002, having emigrated to New Zealand in hope of starting a new life at a healthy distance from the “insidious pseudo-culture” of the U.S. public relations industry and “stranglehold of the U.S. military and U.S. intelligence.” I wish her luck, and as an longtime ex-pat myself I can say that she made a rational decision. I too am a kind of “American Refugee,” as Bramhall subtitles her memoir. Fortunately, I never experienced the kind of personal harassment she did, but reading her book gives me a strong sense of “there but for fortune.” I could have easily gone the way of Stuart Bramhall, just as I could have ended up in Vietnam or (more likely) in Canada fleeing the draft. But I got lucky. First of all, I was lucky enough to realize early on that the Vietnam war was insane, and secondly, I found a psychiatrist who shared my view. (He called it a “mass neurosis,” which I thought a gross understatement, but it served my purpose of escaping the draft.)
I did not leave the U.S. for political reasons, however. I left, in 1977, because even armed with a Ph.D. (in linguistics), I couldn’t get a decent job. So I guess I was an economic “refugee.” (Part of Bramhall’s motive for emigrating was also economic, her medical practice having suffered under cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid in the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations.) I was, obviously, opposed to the Vietnam war, but I did not become “radicalized” until much later, in 1988, when I was older than Bramhall was when she turned to Marxism, so I too was a late bloomer, politically. The catalyst for me was, I am almost ashamed to say, a TV program: Nigel Turner’s documentary about the assassination of President Kennedy (The Men Who Killed Kennedy). I saw this in Germany, after I had been living here for almost 11 years. This was the major turning point for me, but it all happened in my head. In Bramhall’s case, despite the opinion of her bourgeois colleagues, I don’t think it was in her head. Maybe some of it was, but her story is much too detailed to be dismissed as paranoia.
So the irony of our two stories is complete. On the one hand, we have a psychiatrist who is persecuted for political reasons and falsely judged by her colleagues to be insane. On the other hand we have a linguist who opposes an insane war and is correctly judged by a “renegade” psychiatrist (as I’m sure his colleagues would have described him in those days) to be sane and therefore unfit to “serve.” Both of us end up leaving the country.
But not everyone can leave. Vietnam did not end. It’s here again under a different name: Afghanistan/Iraq. In fact, things are much worse now, much more insane, than they were in the sixties. There was at least some attempt to lie convincingly about the reasons for the Vietnam war. The “communist threat” was more convincing than the the blatant lies about non-existent weapons of mass destruction, retaliation for 9/11, and bringing “freedom and democracy” to those unfortunate countries. A very large portion of the population, probably close to one half, disbelieves the government’s story of 9/11, and a clear majority does not support the ongoing war (read “military engagement”). There is a huge disjuncture between what people think and what the government and the mainstream media tell them.
If societies were people, the U.S. would have to be locked up with the criminally insane. No person could remain sane harboring so many violently conflicting ideas. Societies are not people, but people do have to live in this insane society. How do they do it? I think there are three alternatives: 1) denial, 2) acceptance, and 3) fighting back. 1) and 2) are themselves psychotic states. How can you deny or accept insanity without becoming part of it? 3) is the only sane, reasonable and honorable alternative. This is what Bramhall did, and what many of us try to do, each in our own way. It is wrong to see her story as negative or her struggle as futile. It is part of the ongoing struggle.
Note: AIDS and Jakob Segal Dr. Bramhall mentions me as the “translator” of AIDS researcher Jakob Segal, but in fact I only proofread the English edition of his book AIDS Can Be Conquered (Verlag Neuer Weg, 2001; AIDS Ist Besiegbar, 1995). I did translate a couple of shorter pieces, which are accessible on my homepage and in my book Looking for the Enemy. The latter and my more recent book The Transparent Conspiracy (on 9/11) are available on Amazon.com.
Very Interesting and Scary
Amazon Review by Stuart Kreisman, author of Dick Cheney’s Diary
A simple sit-in at an administration building becomes the catalyst for a surreal, Kafkaesque, hellish fifteen years for Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall in her compelling new book “The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee.” Dr. Bramhall, a practicing Seattle-based psychiatrist tells in chilling detail how attending a seemingly innocent meeting to protest racial abuse at a local school triggers a covert government plot to destroy the cause and her life.
Dr. Bramhall’s work confirms the myth of the “Vast right wing conspiracy” that was dismissed by the mainstream media when it was coined by then first Lady Hillary Clinton. It is a country where no person or secret is safe. People who you trust are not to be trusted. Harassment, violence and murder are tools used to subvert the Progressive agenda and the people who advocate it.
Lest you think “The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee” is just tell the story of one woman’s struggle to fight the system, it is much more than that. Dr. Bramhall’s amazing tale also involves the Kennedy assassination, the government’s “War” on AIDS, the plot against single player healthcare, suppression of African Americans and much more. Paranoia is real. Schizophrenia is not just a mental disorder, it’ a weapon.
A psychological thriller of the first order, “The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee” is also a cautionary tale. CIA and FBI operatives are indeed among us. Opposing the agenda of Corporate America is not tolerated. Those that try fight the good fight, but the establishment will stop at nothing to stay in power. Dr. Bramhall’s harrowing tale is testament to that.
Winner of Allbooks Review Editor’s Choice Award for 2011