47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2004
I stumbled across the original H/C version of this book at an antique dealer's shop. I was suprised by the title, I thought that Gore Vidal wrote the only book with that designation.
Upon reading the dust jacket and introduction, I knew the book was for me, as the editor drops the name of Charles A. Beard into the mix. (Beard is one of the few recent historians that Gore Vidal praises.)
The book is considered a 'revisionist' tome, and rightly so. The irony is that the original 'revisionists', (like Beard), sought to clarify the FACTUAL historical record. This book lays the case for foreknowledge of Japan's 'suprise' attack by the Roosevelt administration, and a series of maneuvers to incite Japan to land the first punch at Pearl Harbor.
With the help of the FOIA, Robert Stinnet recently wrote 'Day of Deceit' which vindicates much of what these authors were writing back in 1953. Vidal wrote 'The Golden Age' as a fictionalized account of FDR's maneuvers, and I think he also used the FOIA, and came to nearly identical conclusions.
You can disagree with the authors' product, but you cannot dispute the factual case laid out in detailed, indexed black & white truth.
Cuts through propaganda like a hot knife through butter. Still relevant over 50 years after publication. That's impressive for a foreign policy book.
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2002
Classic revisionist study of how FDR maneuvered America, against the wishes of most of its citizens, into war against Germany and Japan, and how FDR's war policy ended in betrayal, disillusion and endless conflict. Establishes convincingly that U.S. participation in World War II was neither necessary, nor desirable, nor just. Edited by one of this century's most influential American scholars, this is a work in the front rank of American historical scholarship. Eleven concise, scintillating essays on every aspect of FDR's secret diplomatic and military warpath, by eight giants of revisionist scholarship, including H. E. Barnes, Charles C. Tansill, F. R. Sanborn, W. L. Neumann, G. Morgenstern, Percy L. Graves, Wm. H. Chamberlin, and G. A. Lundberg. A measured and relentless exposé of the calculated deceit by which FDR overturned America's traditional neutrality policy, provoked Pearl Harbor, and waged a brutal, pointless war that culminated in mass slaughter at Dresden and Hiroshima, and betrayal -- of America and the West -- at Yalta and Potsdam. These are incisive, unmistakably American perspectives on how the US made a mockery of its own professed ideals during the "Good War." A virtual encyclopedia -- authoritative and comprehensive -- on the real causes and the actual results of America's entry into the Second World War. Indispensable as a history and a reference. Highly relevant for an understanding of how the United States came to its present-day policy of "New World Order" global military adventurism.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Harry Elmer Barnes was one of the most productive historians and social scientists of the 20th century. A bibliography of his books and monographs is about 50 pages and includes long tomes on various topics such as sociology, history, criminology, etc. His editing of PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE shows Barnes' ability as both a historian and an editor of other men whose contributions to this book are well written and poignant.
Barnes begins this book with an essay on the background of World War II by giving the reader a good summary of World War I and its aftermath. Barnes is clear that events before World War I were radically different than events during and after this war. He traces American policy from the end of World War I to World War II and beyond.
Barnes' use of Percy Greaves' background to the attack on Pearly Harbor is effective. Greaves was an expert on what actually happened when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Greaves' account is no sanitized textbook report but a carefully documented assessment that is basically unanswerable.
The same could be said of Morgenstern's work mentioned in PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE. Morgenstern's book PEARL HARBOR:THE STORY OF THE SECRET WAR is by far the best book written on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and when the "experts" could not refute him, they resorted to smearing him.
Charles Tansill's essay is well worth reading. In fact, Tansill's contritubtion to this book should be followed by a careful reading of his BACK DOOR TO WAR. Tansill had to resort to trickery to get the documents and sources for his BACK DOOR TO WAR.
The essays in PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE not only deal with the government's lying and manipulation to get Americans involved in a useless war, but the essays also indicate that the Americans got nothing out of the war. In fact, the only actual winners were the political leaders of Big Communism which expanded well into Eastern Europe and Asia. In fact, the phony "Cold War" was essentailly the attempt to settle the accounts from World War II.
Of particular interest is the essay on Orwellian trends. The government's use of war as a means to absorb unemployment by going to war and employing large numbers of people in war materials industries is instructive and should be read carefully. This essay makes clear that domestic problems and unemployment issues can resolved by long protracted wars with no clear winners or losers except for those who hold political power on both sides. This essay also shows how enemies and allies can change almost overnight.
PPERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL peace is a good start to learning a more comprehensive view on both the truth of the origins of World War II and the political and diplomatic trends thereafter. This book should be read by serious historians to correct the distortions in badly written textbooks and the phony presentations of politically correct teachers who are too timid to do any serious reading or thinking.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2006
If you complain about and want to know why GWB lied us into war, you'd better prepare yourself for the fact that this has been going on for 100 and perhaps over 140 years.
For the real story on WWII (and beyond) you can't do better than this classic revisionist tome. I would also recommend "The Real Lincoln", and "Wilson's War" if you want to get a more balanced view of some of our "great" presidents and the unnecessary wars they embroiled us in - all of which caused millions of deaths, huge federal defecits, aggrandized the central government and brought us into the Orwellian police state.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
For those of us still steeped in the War propaganda that even to this day is forced on us this book was a real eye opener. Those who want to keep a closed mind yell out revisionist which is one of those words we can shout that immediately summon up emotional responses well conditioned into us. This book lays it all out bare. The real reason for the tragedy of WWII - or americans think of as our great victorious war to free mankind from oppression. The book will make you angry and sick to your stomach. It will leave you with a distaste for all things politic. FDR is dethroned from savior to the greatest war monger, mass murder, deceitful man of his times.
23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Americans were generally disillusioned at the end of World War I and this intellectual climate led to a dramatic re-examination of the origins of the war and the US role in it. No widespread revisionism followed World War II however. Our overwhelming victory, the horrible revelations of Nazi concentration camps, and the launch of the Cold War all led to war histories that lacked critical appraisal of our involvement, and the war itself. This book from 1953 attempted a re-evaluation with such evidence as was available at the time.
Barnes collected several essays from revisionist scholars on various aspects of the war: most dealt with Pearl Harbor and whether Roosevelt was aware of a coming attack. Only a few of the essays were by professional historians, and generally the book was attacked when it came out. Nonetheless, it is still in print, and some of its arguments have been vindicated in recent years.
Readers today will find the best essays to be those by William L. Neumann and Harry Barnes. Neumann explained how American foreign policy was based on a myth of China and failed to consider our own interests for peace with Japan. Barnes' essay on Orwell's 1984 is a gem, and deserves wide reading. It was one of the first critiques of the cold war. Most of these essays, however, are dated. In the final analysis, one cannot help but feel that many of these essays were simply a reaction to propagandistic war histories of the 1940s and 1950s. Dogmatic in some instances, unclear in others, this work has simply been superceded.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
_Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Its Aftermath_ (1953), published here by the Institute for Historical Review, is an excellent book consisting of a series of essays by Old Right thinkers who opposed the entry of the United States into World War II. The book is edited by revisionist historian Harry Elmer Barnes (1889 - 1968). Barnes is to note the importance of George Orwell's novel _1984_ in predicting the rise of a totalitarian state in America. Barnes effectively demonstrates how the entry of the U.S. into the Second World War made such "_1984_ trends" possible. The "isolationist" Old Right was severely persecuted by the Roosevelt administration for its opposition both to his New Deal policies and to the Second World War. Following both the First and Second World Wars, a school of revisionist historians uncovered the real causes of war and demonstrated that entry into the war was made possible by elite surrounding Wilson and FDR who operate against the interests of the American people.
This book includes the following essays:
"Revisionism and the Historical Blackout" by Harry Elmer Barnes. - This essay shows how following the First and Second World Wars historical revisionism arose as an important but deeply persecuted phenomenon. Barnes explains how the Old Right was smeared as "isolationist", something he maintains only truly applies to rare cases such as von Thunen, author of _The Isolated State_. Barnes shows how at one time, Edward Bellamy's optimistic novel _Looking Backward_ was seen as hope for the future, but how now the world of _1984_ with its "thought-policing", "news-speak", and witch-hunts seems inevitable. This shows a consistent decline from the libertarianism of the old America. Barnes further shows how the historical blackout developed making it impossible for revisionist historians to gain access to historical documents or to publish in mainstream circles and the criticism of such historians by liberals like Arthur Schlesinger. Barnes argues that this blackout constitutes a means of thought-policing by America's new elite. Finally, Barnes shows how America now embarks on global crusades to further imperial interests which historian Charles A. Beard referred to as "Perpetual war for perpetual peace".
"The United States and the Road to War in Europe" by Charles Callan Tansill. - This essay shows how the United States became involved in wars in Europe which did not concern its national interests. This essay explains the role of various treaties following World War I, such as the Treaty of Versailles, and the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Tansill shows how through a failure of diplomacy the United States under FDR came to become involved in a war in Europe against Hitler's Germany.
"Roosevelt is Frustrated in Europe" by Frederick R. Sanbern. - This essay shows how American neutrality was lost following the First World War and Roosevelt became involved in the outbreak of the Second.
"How American Policy Toward Japan Contributed to War in the Pacific" by William L. Neumann. - This essay shows how a harsh policy toward Japan left the Japanese with little option other than to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, leading the U.S. to enter into a war with Japan. This demonstrates further how FDR and others around him wanted a war and essentially knew about the bombing at Pearl Harbor before it happened. This gave them the perfect excuse to enter into the war in the Pacific and the Second World War.
"Japanese-American Relations, 1921 - 1941; The Pacific Back Road to War" by Charles Callan Tansill. - This essay shows how American relations with Japan deteriorated and forced Japan's hand with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
"The Pearl Harbor Investigatons" by Percy L. Greaves, Jr. - This essay considers the investigations into the Pearl Harbor incident showing the Knox report, the Clarke inquiry, the Hart inquiry, and Congressional inquiries, showing how the administration attempted to prevent all inquiries and further showing how the administration knew about the events of Pearl Harbor beforehand.
"The Bankruptcy of a Policy" by William Henry Chamberlin. - This essay explains how Roosevelt lied us into war, showing the costs of war and increase militarism following the war, and the utter bankruptcy of FDR's foreign policy.
"American Foreign Policy in the Light of National Interest at the Mid-Century" by George A. Lundberg. - Here, Lundberg a sociologist makes use of the methods of science to investigate the role of foreign policy. For example, Lundberg considers the role of ecology showing how small differences in conditions may give rise to large unexpected differences in outcomes (similar to chaos theory). For example, Lundberg explains how an ecosystem with deer and puma may be effected by the hunting of puma which leads to overpopulation of deer and in fact causes more damage to the deer. Lundberg also defines a national policy and considers such issues as pressures effecting foreign policy, the costs of a war policy, and attempts to cover over the wreckage that ensued.
"How "Nineteen-Eighty Four" Trends Threaten American Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity" by Harry Elmer Barnes. - This essay explains the rise of _1984_ trends including "thought-policing" and "oligarchical collectivism" within the United States. Barnes argues that through increasing militarism following the Second World War and into the Cold War, that American freedom has been lost. Barnes shows the enormous costs of militarism, the burden of taxation, and the witch-hunts that accompany it beginning against the isolationists of World Wars I and II and culminating in the Cold War.
"Summary and Conclusions" by Harry Elmer Barnes. - This essay reviews the previous essays in this book, considers the role of the historical black-out and other _1984_ trends, notes the rise of the Communists to power, and explains the general state of the world as it existed at the time of the Cold War.
This book remains a significant condemnation of U.S. militarism and the policy of FDR involving the United States in the Second World War. The book shows the value of revisionist history in enabling us to see through the smoke of official "court historians" and propagandists. As such, this book is important for showing the rise of American imperialism which has led to the utter decline of America.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you believe what you have been taught in the American school system about World War 2, and our entry into it, read this book for a fair, concise assessment of why we really went and who benefited by our entry into it. Highly recommended for any student of history