Tree Farm Books

Nature of the Beast cover
The Old Boys cover

Our initial double offering will be two books by Burton Hersh. One, The Old Boys, was published by Scribners in 1992. Subtitled The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA, the work raised so much dust that a number of early reviewers seemed unable to read it, and rubbed their eyes and sputtered, mostly. Controversy would not abate at the fact that this book put so many senior members of the Establishment through the debarking machine. Nevertheless, once enough time passed even the house organ of the CIA was forced to admit that the book was unique — indispensable, even — because it alone dealt honestly with the individuals and documents capable of revealing the buried history of our time. TREE FARM BOOKS publishes here the expanded manuscript and a new preface. It is available as a trade paperback or electronically in the Writers' and Scholars' Edition, which permits the Notes and Index to be brought up onto the screen simultaneously with the Text. Selected paragraphs dealing with the major protagonists can be accessed for perusal on this website.

Our second initial offering, The Nature of the Beast, published here for the first time, is in its way the fictional counterpart of The Old Boys. We are already braced in the expectation that this novel is likely to prove more controversial, outrage and disgust more people and appear to have broken more unwritten rules than even The Old Boys. Its hero, Owen Rheinsdorf, is a recently retired CIA officer called back by his long-time boss to help out with one more subversive caper. Not happy, Rheinsdorf finds himself forced to recapitulate a number of operations that have marked his seemingly successful career. He finds himself pitted against a uniquely brutal young sociopath with a weakness for preying sexually on very young children.

From time to time this material gets tough — unpalatable, by many lights. Some of the rawest passages are to be found in the first chapter, which we are making available at no cost online. Please do whatever you can to keep the young and impressionable of any age from downloading any of this. Whatever their problems, these paragraphs too are essential to realizing the creative and ethical purposes of the book.