• The Plot to Seize the Whitehouse

  • The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR
  • By: Jules Archer
  • Narrated by: Ken Maxon
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (197 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Most people will be shocked to learn that in 1933 a cabal of wealthy industrialists - in league with groups like the K.K.K. and the American Liberty League - planned to overthrow the U.S. government in a fascist coup. Their plan was to turn discontented veterans into American "brown shirts," depose F.D.R., and stop the New Deal. They clandestinely asked Medal of Honor recipient and Marine Major General Smedley Darlington Butler to become the first American Caesar. He, though, was a true patriot and revealed the plot to journalists and to Congress. In a time when a sitting President has invoked national security to circumvent constitutional checks and balances, this episode puts the spotlight on attacks upon our democracy and the individual courage needed to repel them.

©2007 Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Originally published by Hawthorne Books, Inc., New York in 1973. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Plot to Seize the Whitehouse

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good storytelling, poor voice-over

What did you like best about this story?

This opened an era and a sequence of events that I had never read about in depth. I'm a former soldier, son of several generations of soldiers, yet I never knew fully of the cynical way that the military had been used to further business interests in the first part of the twentieth century. I had my suspicions, many of them confirmed by first-hand experience in Viet Nam, but this book made me look at that era of my life, and the current mess in the Mideast, in an entirely different light.

What didn’t you like about Ken Maxon’s performance?

Mr. Maxon is difficult to listen to, principally because of his tendency to pronounce the letter A as "a" rather than "uh," which is commonly accepted in standard pronunciation. If the publisher knew of this rather stilted tendency and approved the work anyway, well so be it.

8 people found this helpful

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Issues worth attention

Archer’s book The Plot to Seize the White House was worth the read, but it is missing a lot of inconvenient truths about the role of the Comintern and its national appendages. It also advocates the usual race baiting by communists. Jews were involved with every relevant group, capitalist and socialist alike. It also avoids the mention of the wealthiest capitalist of them all, Rockefeller, who like Rothschild, financed J.P. Morgan.
The book goes into some detail about China, but says it was the evil Chiang Kai-sheck versus the people, when in fact it was a Comintern effort to spread revolution to China. It does not mention the successful penetration of the US government by the Comintern by the Thirties, which Stalin used to implement his strategy of destroying Western society and the two bookends Germany and Japan by setting them at war and prolonging that war. The struggles in the US between soft-gloved socialism of the progressives including Hoover, financed by Rockefeller and his minions, and the more aggressive form of socialism of Roosevelt is overlooked. Socialism does not work. It is all against all.
The book tells the anti-capitalist view of the use of US military to protect American property abroad but says nothing of the benefits to the masses of that capital. For example, Standard Oil began modernizing China in 1907 with the introduction of both kerosene and lamp and stove technology. Any loss of American capital in China in that regard was a diminution of basic needs of the masses of China. No kerosene, no lamps, no stoves, no safe and sanitary living conditions. The loss to Standard Oil by fire would cost Standard Oil millions of dollars and the Chinese people millions of people. The issues of state confiscation are a problem whether it is abroad or at home. Theft is destructive and a dystopia arising out of utopian ideas of socialism. The book ignores the true issues of socialism, much the way Antifa is used to intimidate under cover of fighting fascism and civil rights. The Nazi and Soviet constitutions said all the right things but did not protect individual rights of self-determination. It is was left instead to the ruling elite to make those decisions. To impose one set of preferences on everyone.

3 people found this helpful

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Unknown history comes alive

This book captures in great detail a fascinating yet overlooked incident of US history. You will never see this mentioned in most school history books.

3 people found this helpful

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We need a General Butler now!

The children and grandchildren of these plotters are still working to make America a fascist authoritarian dictatorship in order to increase their wealth.

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely brilliant. HS Teacher Recommends

absolutely brilliant as a high school teacher in history and civics I think this book should be required for all students studying WW2 .We must hold up General Butler as the true hero he is.

2 people found this helpful

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A Great Work of Non Fiction, Largely A Biography, Than About "The Plot"

This is a very well read audiobook. The book is largely about the life of Smedley Butler, a Marne Corps General. He was approached and asked to lead an unofficial army of veterans to Washington and install alternate individuals into government in an effort to limit the authority of FDR. That part of the story is fascinating and well researched. However it does not represent the bulk of this book.

I did thoroughly enjoy this audiobook and found it very illuminating. I learned a great deal. It is also thought provoking and has relevance today. Just understand that one is purchasing a biography of a great man as mush as a story of political intrigue and upheaval. Thank You...

2 people found this helpful

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I didn't last one minute

The narrator's style grated on my nerves so badly that this book was returned moments after opening it. Yes, vocal dynamics are good to keep listeners engaged, but they have to be relevant, not just fluctuations every syllable or two for the sake fluctuating.

Gave the story three stars because, well, i just don't know.

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Shockingly inspirational

What more can I say.... General Butler was an amazing man. One of the greatest Patriots to ever live.

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Not January 6

No, this is not talking about January 6 but there are some commonalities. In times of great change and crisis, the temptation for those who feel left out is to assume that the electoral process has not produced the leader that is needed and extreme steps need to be taken to return to the order that is desired. 

Jules Archer, in this book, details such an event almost a century ago that has largely been forgotten by the general public today. The market crash of 1929 and the ensuing depression that grew from it was one such event. The powerful financial families had lost their fortunes on Wall Street and their power structure of political favor in Washington. Franklin D. Roosevelt succeeded in passing his New Deal and removed the US from the gold standard.  

In 1933, a group of wealthy industrialists, including associates of such powerful families as the Mellons, Du Points, Morgans, Rockefellers, Pews, plus two former candidates for President—John W. David and Al Smith, planned to overthrow the U.S. government in a fascist coup. They worked closely with groups like the K.K.K. and the American Liberty League and planned to and turn FDR into a figurehead, appointing a cabinet position euphemistically called a "Secretary of General Affairs” who would exercise near-dictatorial power.  They studied already successful Fascist movements that had seized power in Italy and Germany/Austria or had seized the imagination of large segments of the populace in England, France, and Belgium.

They asked Marine Major General Smedley Darlington Butler to work with them and influence the leadership of the American Legion to support them. Butler had served in every major conflict from the Spanish American War through World War I, winning two Congressional Medals of Honor and who was very popular with veterans, having campaigned for years to provide veterans the promised bonus that had been refused by the Hoover administration. They hoped that he could bring tens of thousands of veterans to march on Washington and instill fear similar to the German Brownshirts that could force FDR to capitulate under the threat of violence. 

Fortunately, Butler was a true patriot. Instead of working for the fascist coup, he strung them along and tried to get more information on who was behind the plot and what their goals were. He called an investigative journalist to help him ferret out the strange story. Eventually, he revealed the plot to other journalists and to Congress. A Congressional Committee was formed to investigate and a public report was issued in 1934. However, the report was redacted for security reasons (and probably also to protect the powerful) and no one was ever formally charged. Butler was attacked by the press for exaggerating a story for publicity. 

Archer used the public Congressional report and portions of the transcript that had been omitted from the public report that had been unearthed by investigative reporters, as well as a 1971 interview with Congressman McCormack who had led the committee hearings. He does a good job of piecing together all the details in this book. Included also is a general biography of General Butler, though this part probably went into more detail than was needed for the purpose of this book. On the other hand, Archer could have dealt more with how it was possible that no one was charged in such a serious conspiracy. 

General Butler had become disillusioned with war which he called “largely a matter of money” and a tool for the benefit of the wealthy.  He stated to a group of veterans, “Bankers lend money to foreign countries and when they cannot repay, the President sends Marines to get it. I know—I’ve been in eleven of these expeditions.” He died shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor and his anti-war views had by then fallen out of favor. As a result, few of us have heard of him. 

Maybe this book will help. And, it should remind us that our government is not immune to plots against it, as January 6, 2021 also shows, and that we need people with the courage and integrity to stand up to threats.  Read this book and learn some of the history that has been skipped over.

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Okay

As others have stated this is an autobiography of Smedley Butler. The Autobiography is good. The plot and all together storyline is mediocre. There is one chapter which rehashes the exact same material of a previous chapter. It is interesting, and the narrator is good. 3.5 stars

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Profile Image for Adrian Chan-Wyles Ph.D
  • Adrian Chan-Wyles Ph.D
  • 01-17-22

Butler was a Good Choice of Fascist Leader!

This achieves two objectives. The first is that it aptly describes how the Zionists and financiers (together with the KKK and American Legion) nearly succeeded in establishing a fascist dictatorship in late 1933 - early 1934 and it was that General Butler was the ideal man to lead such a change of government! Butler had participated in dome of the most outrageous militaristic and imperialist crimes to be carried-out by the US military between 1880-1930 (Butler and his troops murdered 50,000 men, women and children in their attack on Beijing in 1900) - but this book seems to eulogises such behaviour! Basically, Butler denied other 'non-White' ethnic groups from achieving the freedom the Americans had from the British in 1776 - because the US began behaving just like the British they had overthrown! Butler had one more betrayal up his sleeve in that he betrayed the Zionists and financiers who had so admires his military record!