Curiously, the book was out of print

Wednesday, June 26th, 2024

Fourth Protocol by Frederick ForsythLarry Taunton downloaded Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol from Audible during the pandemic and listened to it while bouncing through the fields of his ranch on a tractor during breaks in his own writing. The novel contains fictitious letters from the very real English traitor Kim Philby, in which he explains to his communist hosts how British democracy might be subverted from within via a classic “march through the institutions”:

…all history teaches that soundly based democracies can only be toppled by mass action in the streets when the police and armed forces have been sufficiently penetrated by the revolutionaries that large numbers of them can be expected to refuse to obey the orders of their officers and side instead with the demonstrators….

Our friends have done what they can. Since taking control of numerous large metropolitan authorities, through the press and the media, at every level high and low, they have either themselves, or using wild young people of the Trotskyite [i.e., communist] splinter factions as shock troops, carried out an unrelenting campaign to denigrate, vilify and undermine the British police. The aim, of course, is to vitiate or destroy the confidence of the British public in their police, which unfortunately remains the most affable and disciplined in the world….

I have narrated all of this only to substantiate one argument … that the path [to socialism] now lies though … the largely successful campaign of the Hard Left to take over the Labour Party from inside…

He decided to order a hard copy of the book to inspect those passages more closely:

Curiously, the book was out of print.

How could this be? It was, after all, a major (if somewhat mediocre) movie starring Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan. Forsyth’s other books remain in print, so why not this one? From the seat of my tractor, I instead purchased a copy of the 1995 Bantam Books (US) edition from an online used book dealer. A few days later, it arrived.

These paragraphs were missing.

This was more than a little strange. Going still deeper into the warren of tunnels, I ordered a copy of the 1994 Viking (US) edition.

Again, not there.

Finally, I ordered the Hutchinson & Company (UK) first edition. Somehow, this was the one Audible had used. Comparing this original text with the Bantam and Viking editions, I found that it contained 24 chapters while the others contained only 23. This was because chapters three and four were combined in the North American editions. But that’s not all that was going on here. Someone had removed select paragraphs in chapters three and four and altogether rewritten portions of them, altering facts, dates, and removing 15 of 20 points enumerated in a Marxist strategy to seize the institutions of political power.

All of this, and yet the publisher’s page of the Bantam Books edition reads:

This edition contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition. NOT ONE WORD HAS BEEN OMITTED.

The capitalization is not mine; it is the publisher’s. And, of course, it’s not true. Whole pages had been omitted from the original hardback.

He actually visits Forsyth:

“Did you know that select passages have been removed from The Fourth Protocol?”

His eyebrows shot up. “I did not.”

I explained the missing passages, the total rewrites, and the rabbit hole that had brought me to him. I wasn’t sure which had surprised him more: that the book had been edited without his knowledge or the manner in which I had discovered it. I sensed that I was now being recategorized from groupie to something that intrigued him much more.

“I’ve been bowdlerized!” he exclaimed.


“I suppose someone,” Forsyth speculated, “decided the details about how to build a nuclear bomb were too dangerous, so they took them out.”

“Those aren’t the missing passages.”

He again looked surprised.

“Besides,” I continued, “Clancy did something very similar in The Sum of All Fears, and those parts weren’t removed either.”


“No, it’s not the parts about building a bomb. It’s the parts about how Marxists penetrate the government, the police, and the army especially, and capture them from within.”

He looked thoughtful. After a moment’s reflection, he offered a theory:

If you think about it, my earlier works can be read as history. They were all telling a fictitious story of something that had happened: an attempt on de Gaulle’s life; a hunt for a Nazi war criminal; a group of mercenaries overthrowing an African government. But Protocol is different. You don’t have to read it as history, but as something that might happen. Read that way, it could be deemed a dangerous “how-to” manual.

This made sense. The Fourth Protocol is a “what if.” What if a foreign government or terrorists smuggled parts for a nuclear bomb into Britain or the United States, assembled it, and detonated it? What if Marxists were able to penetrate a major political party in Britain or America, radicalize it, and slowly weaponize government agencies and offices, purging them of their conservative and democratic elements? Of the two scenarios, whoever edited the book thought the latter more unsettling.


  1. Bomag says:


    Arc here suggests a traditionalist, altering text lest subversive ideas get propagated.

    My first thought was our current political molesters, worried about their game plan being revealed.

  2. Bomag says:

    Also, weird they took the step of re-numbering the chapters; seems too un-subtle.

  3. Jim says:

    Police are literally standing armies arrayed against the people on behalf of the banks, which create the money supply, to the benefit of themselves, on the basis of the nation’s real estate.

    If I had but one bullet and were faced by both organized Marxism and the banking system, I would let the banking system have it.

  4. Jim says:

    [Forgive the italics.]

  5. Slovenian Guest says:

    Here’s the full 20 points on pastebin.

    Do you dare to re-post them!?

  6. Roo_ster says:

    A buddy of mine had a Star Wars role-playing game which includes a pretty fair representation of a revolutionary cell structure and its operation.

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