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The Untold History of the United States Paperback – October 30, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091949300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091949303
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (433 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"By casting a spotlight on the shadier aspects of America's past, as well as the humane alternatives, Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick provide a thought-provoking rebuttal to the nationalist myths that are far too often served up as history. They remind us that, until Americans have the courage to confront reality, they will remain trapped by their illusions."

About the Author

Oliver Stone is an Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter. Many of his films have raised key questions about defining moments in US history. They include Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon, World Trade Centre and W.Peter Kuznick is a Professor of History and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University

Customer Reviews

This book is well researched and very revealing.
Ronald L. Robertson
Saw part of the TV series & really wanted to know more...this book was exactly what I was looking for!
Lil-Red&Skippy
This book should be required reading in every high school.
Fred Tomasello Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

183 of 194 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Petersen on January 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book with some trepidation as Stone is pretty well known as having a certain "bias" about US foreign policy and I feared the book might be a rant. Instead the book turned out to be a well-ordered and very-well footnoted history of roughly the last century of mainly, but not exclusively, American foreign policy, one that all too often has been shortsighted, foolish, and with the advent of the atomic bomb, terrifying. I'm a faily old dude going on 71 and the more history books I read the more apparent it is that there is no such thing as "the truth" or "reality." Stone looks at the past using a different set of facts that the American Exceptionalist crowd would omit from their histories. From these two different viewpoints two different conclusions could be drawn; however, as long as the facts presented are correct, so is each different view. It's up to the reader to decide where the weight of the evidence falls.

There were a number of times when I felt certain issues were dealt with too briefly - the Balfour Declaration being one - but given the scope of the book this brevity is understandable, and for those who might want a more thorough exegesis than a few sentences on something like Balfour whole books have been written. Guess my point is history, even very recent history, is comprised of many elements lurking in the shadows and a fuller understanding of events can only be achieved by looking at those the political class would rather have swept under the rug - permanently.

This book is probably a must-read for those of us concerned with the fact this country spends nearly half the planet's military budget and has less-than-nothing to show for it, a stupendous misallocaton of resources (at least in my book) that's gone on for now over half a century.
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156 of 181 people found the following review helpful By John Somerville on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is criticized in the mass media for its bias. It is biased. Biased, however, is not the same as inaccurate and I have not read any accusations on that score. You'll know far more than you did, after reading what has not been told before..
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139 of 162 people found the following review helpful By J. Alan Bock on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors of this book, Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, tell us that: "The United States' run as a global hegemon - the most powerful and dominant nation the world has ever seen - has been marked by proud achievements and terrible disappointments. It is the latter - the darker side of U. S. history - that we explore in the following pages." That there is a considerable dark side can be attested by the fact that this book is 750 pages long. I don't know how many historical incidents are encompassed within its covers but there are 91 pages of notes and 37 pages of index just to give you a clue. In the index itself entries dealing with nuclear arms race, nuclear warfare and nuclear weapons take up almost an entire page of small print - by far the largest number of entries in any one category. In second place are entries dealing with the CIA which take up a half a page.

Fourteen chapters plus an introduction give us an alternative history of the growth of the American Empire as Stone and Kuznick see it. It's not a pretty picture (although there are many bright spots) and, while it may be untold, for the most part, it is not unknown.

Although Donald Rumsfeld has stated: "We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic. We never have been," dissenting voices have proclaimed otherwise. One of the earliest of these was General Smedley Butler, who at the end of his long and highly decorated carreer, said: "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country"s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and for the bankers.
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301 of 373 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Naughton on November 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues." T.S. Eliot

Those of you who have read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present (Perennial Classics) or Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Revised and Updated Edition will devour Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick's The Untold History of the United States. These two intellects bring fresh insight to a benighted past. Minor footnotes and characters, like Henry Wallace, in our history's drama are bought to the forefront for once. The reader becomes Dante to Oliver Stone and Professor Kusnick's Virgil, taking us through the gates of Hell in our personal history. In these pages the real Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan are exposed, not extolled or lionized. It is inscrutable and unconscionable what Truman did in Hiroshima. The truth behind who really defeated Germany. Terror bombing in WWII to terrorism in present day. As Historian Henry Steele Commager once pointed out, "From the beginning of our history, we've been rather casual about our crimes."

Although the book is a companion to the documentary series on Showtime, which is highly recommended, the book stands alone and independent; it covers, in 14 chapters, the most important moments where we got history wrong. Cognitive dissonance will kick in. A certain sciolism exists in our culture as we whistle in the dark.
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