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Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath [Hardcover]

by George H. Nash
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 2011 0817912347 978-0817912345 1st
Herbert Hoover's "magnum opus"—at last published nearly fifty years after its completion—offers a revisionist reexamination of World War II and its cold war aftermath and a sweeping indictment of the "lost statesmanship" of Franklin Roosevelt. Hoover offers his frank evaluation of Roosevelt's foreign policies before Pearl Harbor and policies during the war, as well as an examination of the war's consequences, including the expansion of the Soviet empire at war's end and the eruption of the cold war against the Communists.

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Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath + The Crusade Years, 1933–1955: Herbert Hoover's Lost Memoir of the New Deal Era and Its Aftermath (Hoover Institution Press Publication)
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Editorial Reviews


“What an amazing historical find! Historian George H. Nash, the dean of Herbert Hoover studies, has brought forth a very rare manuscript in Freedom Betrayed. Here is Hoover unplugged, delineating on everything from the ‘lost statesmanship’ of FDR to the Korean War. A truly invaluable work of presidential history. Highly recommended.”
    —DOUGLAS BRINKLEY is professor of history at Rice University and editor of The Reagan Diaries.

“Finally, after waiting for close to half a century, we now have Hoover’s massive and impassioned account of American foreign policy from 1933 to the early 1950s. Thanks to the efforts of George H. Nash, there exists an unparalleled picture of Hoover’s world view, one long shared by many conservatives. Nash’s thorough and perceptive introduction shows why he remains America’s leading Hoover scholar.”
    —JUSTUS D. DOENECKE, author of Storm on the Horizon: The Challenge to American Intervention, 1939–1941

“A forcefully argued and well documented alternative to, and critique of, the conventional liberal historical narrative of America’s road to war and its war aims.  Even readers comfortable with the established account will find themselves thinking that on some points the accepted history should be reconsidered and perhaps revised.”
    —JOHN EARL HAYNES, author of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America

Freedom Betrayed offers vivid proof of William Faulkner’s famous dictum that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” For those who might think that history has settled the mantle of consensus around the events of the World War II era, Hoover’s iconoclastic narrative will come as an unsettling reminder that much controversy remains. By turns quirky and astute, in prose that is often acerbic and unfailingly provocative, Hoover opens some old wounds and inflicts a few new ones of his own, while assembling a passionate case for the tragic errors of Franklin Roosevelt’s diplomacy. Not all readers will be convinced, but Freedom Betrayed is must-read for anyone interested in the most consequential upheaval of the twentieth century.”
    —DAVID M. KENNEDY is professor of history emeritus at Stanford University and the author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945.

“Herbert Hoover’s Freedom Betrayed is a bracing work of historical revisionism that takes aim at U.S. foreign policy under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Part memoir and part diplomatic history, Hoover's magnum opus seeks to expose the “lost statesmanship” that, in Hoover’s eyes, needlessly drew the United States into the Second World War and, in the aftermath, facilitated the rise to global power of its ideological rival, the Soviet Union.  Freedom Betrayed, as George Nash asserts in his astute and authoritative introduction, resembles a prosecutor’s brief against Roosevelt—and against Winston Churchill as well— at the bar of history.  Thanks to Nash’s impressive feat of reconstruction, Hoover’s “thunderbolt” now strikes—nearly a half-century after it was readied.  The former president’s interpretation of the conduct and consequences of the Second World War will not entirely persuade most readers.  Yet, as Nash testifies, like the best kind of revisionist history, Freedom Betrayed “challenges us to think afresh about our past.”
    —BERTRAND M. PATENAUDE, author of A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives

 “Nearly fifty years after his death, Herbert Hoover returns as the ultimate revisionist historian, prosecuting his heavily documented indictment of US foreign policy before, during, and after the Second World War. Brilliantly edited by George Nash, Freedom Betrayed is as passionate as it is provocative. Many no doubt will dispute Hoover’s strategic vision. But few can dispute the historical significance of this unique volume, published even as Americans of the twenty-first century debate their moral and military obligations.”
    —RICHARD NORTON SMITH is a presidential historian and author, former director of several presidential libraries, and current scholar-in-residence at George Mason University.

Book Description

The culmination of an extraordinary literary project that Herbert Hoover launched during World War II, his “magnum opus”—at last published nearly fifty years after its completion—offers a revisionist reexamination of the war and its cold war aftermath and a sweeping indictment of the “lost statesmanship” of Franklin Roosevelt. Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath originated as a volume of Hoover’s memoirs, a book initially focused on his battle against President Roosevelt’s foreign policies before Pearl Harbor. As time went on, however, Hoover widened his scope to include Roosevelt’s foreign policies during the war, as well as the war’s consequences: the expansion of the Soviet empire at war’s end and the eruption of the cold war against the Communists.

On issue after issue, Hoover raises crucial questions that continue to be debated to this day. Did Franklin Roosevelt deceitfully maneuver the United States into an undeclared and unconstitutional naval war with Germany in 1941? Did he unnecessarily appease Joseph Stalin at the pivotal Tehran conference in 1943? Did communist agents and sympathizers in the White House, Department of State, and Department of the Treasury play a malign role in some of America’s wartime decisions? Hoover raises numerous arguments that challenge us to think again about our past. Whether or not one ultimately accepts his arguments, the exercise of confronting them will be worthwhile to all.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1080 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; 1st edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817912347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817912345
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A historian, lecturer, and authority on the life of Herbert Hoover, George H. Nash has written and published the first three volumes of a definitive, scholarly biography of Hoover and the monograph Herbert Hoover and Stanford University. He has edited the monumental memoir Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath and its companion volume The Crusade Years, 1933-1955: Herbert Hoover's Lost Memoir of the New Deal Era and Its Aftermath.

Nash is also author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 and Reappraising the Right: The Past and Future of American Conservatism. A graduate of Amherst College and holder of a PhD in history from Harvard University, he received the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters in 2008.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
249 of 260 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Willing to Look at World War II in a Different Light? November 24, 2011
Reading this book is a searing experience. On almost every page Hoover calls on the reader to think differently about things the conventional wisdom supposedly settled decades ago.
Everything is meticulously documented, and no one else in human history collected documents the way Hoover did.

Will Hoover's version of events now be the definitive account of World War II? Of course not. But the definitive account of the war can no longer be written without taking Hoover's
work into consideration. And it ought not be enough for those who would dispute him to dismiss him as a sore loser who never got over losing the 1932 election. They should
accept the challenge of showing specifically where he is mistaken.
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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would have been different if Hoover won in 1940? January 21, 2012
FDR refused to help the country get out of the Depression by not cooperating with Hoover before the inauguration 4 months later. FDR took credit for what Hoover had done (the public works projects like the dams) and feared allowing any credit to go to Hoover. Hoover was actively seeking the nomination in 1940. Hoover was the greater organizer and intellectual of the two (FDR had to use notes on index cards while Hoover could speak extemporaneously for an hour).

In 1940 Hoover wanted to provide humanitarian aid to Western Europe like his program after WWI. Churchill and FDR refused. But he did succeed in Finland. He thought that Hitler and Stalin would eventually fight and weaken each other so he was not in favor of fighting Hitler. He saw that Hitler wanted to go east and even if he defeated Russia, Hitler would find it unmanageable. Hoover believed that Churchill made errors in WWI and in WWII. While wishing to help Britain, he opposed Lend-lease because it gave FDR the power to order arms production for other countries and supply them without Congressional approval. He noted FDR's penchant for dictatorial powers and opposed it.

He believed that FDR was provoking Japan when it was unnecessary. In the end he thought using the atomic bomb was a mistake. At first he opposed Chiang Kai-Shek but thought the idea of forcing him into a coalition with Mao was a disaster.

Some people like to think about the "what-if" scenario. The book lays out an alternative to many decisions currently taken for granted. But Hoover was in a position to see and know behind the scenes info and would have made other choices. It makes you wonder about alternative time lines.
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66 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing admiration for Hoover February 8, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must confess to knowing very little about Herbert Hoover before opening this book, that is, apart from his undeserved reputation as the man who failed to hold back the flood of the Great Depression . As I learn more about him my admiration for him as a great humanitarian and dynamo of energy grows proportionately. Although less than a third of the way through this book, it is already shaping up as a classic of revisionist history of WW2 and its aftermath to rank alongside the work of David Irving and Pat Buchanan (... The unnecessary war) and other leaders in this genre. The major difference of course being that Hoover did it much earlier and was directly and personally involved in that history. It is very well written, parts of it beautifully so.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Partisan May 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Herbert Hoover, the man who lost his position as President to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, was a man of intelligence and detail. He was an engineer before entering politics and he thinks and writes like an engineer. His book, Freedom Betrayed, is insightful and is definitely a different take on World War Two and the American experience surrounding that war. Hoover's book starts with the pre-war era in Europe and the US and in Asia then develops events as they lead the US into the world war. Then he explores the consequences of the decisions made during that war and its aftermath in Asia and Europe. There is almost nothing about his Presidency or his loss to FDR or the economy.

Hoover does all of this with great precision. His book has many short chapters that are filled with direct quotes from numerous documents and statistical summaries where necessary. Hoover seldom asks the reader to take his word for anything. The footnoting is extensive, to say the least, and one gets the impression that Hoover is not counting on his word carrying weight, especially when he is reporting things that the Roosevelt administration agreed to , decided, or took action on. Hoover likes to use government documents, communications, and testimony before Congress as the foundation for his facts. He has so much documentation that it is nearly impossible to argue with his facts and the conclusions he draws from them. In most cases he can prove his point with direct quotes and documents, but in a few instances he must infer the truth, especially when someone is lying to Congress or the public.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Parallels with Current Foreign Policy Issues February 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Pat Buchanan wrote "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War in 2008." Scholars overlook Buchanan despite his extensive political experience, and regard any journalist/historian with strong conservative credentials with enmity. But It should be more difficult for academia to brush aside this 1000 page tome, that with Buchanan, challenges the wisdom and intent of Franklin Roosevelt. Current policy appears to be rewinding the blunders that produced WWII. It's a cliche that not knowing history condemns us to repeat it. It's also a cliche that the winners write history. Unless you believe God chooses the winners-they can be dead wrong(no pun intended)Todays leaders think they know how and why the US entered WWII, but they only got one side of the story. Hopefully, there will be a courageous and influential few that will appreciate how we've been duped, will recognize current similarities, and attempt to discourage another worldwide conflagration.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Marxism is here
The communist infiltrated our government at the turn of the twentieth century. And Woodrow Wilson threw the door wide open. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Charles D. Pauley
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating different take on international affairs
Now that the First World War Centennial is upon us , a stream of new books on the factors leading to , and responsibility for , its outbreak have been appearing . Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dennis J.
5.0 out of 5 stars And now you know, "The Rest of the Story"
I'm not a fan of wars of conquest, so I'm relating well to this book. I've been reading it for a couple of weeks on my Kindle and have no idea when I'll finish. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gary Cavener
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
Displays an entirely different approach to World War II. Controversial but worthy of consideration by any serious student of the subject.
Published 4 months ago by W. J. Gantz
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning, very long rebuttal by publisher in forward
Be aware that the first 10% of the book is the editor and publisher's rebuttal of Hoover's work.

I strongly suggest skipping it, or possibly skimming it after reading... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kristopher Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars A ringing indictment of FDR and WWII
This book is not fully a history, but rather an historic opinion piece. It is Herbert Hoover's exceptionally well reasoned (and well supported) position (and apparent opinion)... Read more
Published 10 months ago by John S. Reid
5.0 out of 5 stars DEJA VU
Published 10 months ago by DAVID MC DONALD
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST, MUST Read.
This is such a wonderful book and read. A must for all students of history.
I clearly see things very diffent now. Sorry it took so long to come to read. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Carlos Duran
4.0 out of 5 stars I hope even "non-revisionists" could finally accept the truths about...
President Hoover was a great and practical man. This book is his critical summary of a bad era.
It is easy to read and still valid truth in spite of having been finalized... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Erkki Nuutio
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Hoover's Unvarnished Truth
The only person of national importance, Mr. Hoover, attempted to make us aware of the path to war that FDR was intentionally leading this nation irrevocably into war. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bob Cook
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Topic From this Discussion
Kindle, please...
Kindle. Please add Freedom Betrayed to your offering. I agree. It is a book like this that I also bought a Kindle. PLEEEEEEESE add it!
Dec 7, 2011 by Paul F. McNulty |  See all 5 posts
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