282: The Vatican by Jack M. Driver

by Gerard

282: Driver, Jack M. The Vatican: Conspiracies, Codes and the Catholic Church. London: Kandour Ltd., 2006. 193 pp. ISBN 978-0-681-08453-7.

Dewey construction:

  • 200: Religion
  • 280: Denominations and sects of Christian Church
  • 282: Roman Catholic Church

Alarms bells should have gone off when I was unable to locate any record of this book in the Library of Congress’s Online Database. That and the fact that not a single person had bothered to review it on Amazon also made me a little nervous. Jack Driver’s The Vatican purports to be a book about the history of the Vatican and how it has become entangled in many conspiracy theories.

What you get, however, is far from that. To be fair, there is indeed a lot of history of Church in there, but mixed in with all that are ramblings on interesting coincidences that make for a very mixed message, such as “Isn’t it weird that the first major cryptographic ciphers were employed by the Jesuits? What were they hiding?” These snide questions along with very sketchy historical claims made for rough reading. His carnival ride takes us through the Tudor Dynasty, the Jewish Diaspora, the P2 Scandal, and the “inner workings” of Opus Dei.

The fact that it’s the size of a standard coffee table book makes it seem like those who own it should proudly display it and hope for a conversation starter. And it would indeed make for a decent coffee table book if the illustrations weren’t so shoddy. Some are decent reproductions of artwork and pictures of architectural landmarks, but some are horribly pixelated copies of historical works (like they were just downloaded off the Internet and plastered into a 4th grade social studies paper). Others still are woefully inept renderings that look like they were mocked up in MS Paint.

In short, run away from this book and find something better to do with your time. Sorry, Jack, but this one doesn’t cut it.