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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson looks anew at the reasons America's civil war has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews


"Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick have done what many would consider impossible. They have written a political history of the United States in the 20th Century that tells us exactly how the United States became an empire through conscious decisions, and how the struggle to maintain that empire will go on despite which political party holds office. It is a brilliant survey of the untold story." (Lloyd C. Gardner, author of The Road to Tahrir Square)

“Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick provide a critical overview of US foreign policy during the past few decades. There is much here to reflect upon. Such a perspective is indispensable…At stake is whether the United States will choose to be the policeman of a “Pax Americana,” which is a recipe for disaster, or partner with other nations on the way to a safer, more just and sustainable future.” (President Mikhail Gorbachev)

“A brave revisionist study which shatters many foreign policy myths… the Stone-Kuznick team grapples with the unsavory legacy of American militarism. . . . Make room on your book shelf for this compelling leftist primer.” (Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Deluge)

"Howard [Zinn] would have loved this ‘people’s history’ of the American Empire. It's compulsive reading: brilliant, a masterpiece!” (Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers)

“Finally, a book with the guts to challenge the accepted narrative of recent American history… This is the 'Washington didn't really chop down the cherry tree' book for our last hundred years." (Bill Maher)

“Kuznick and Stones’ Untold History is the most important historical narrative of this century.” (Martin Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of American Prometheus)

"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." (Lawrence Wittner, author of One World or None: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement Through 1953)

"Stone and Kuznick provide a boldly critical view of the most painful aspects of American history. Their perspective on nuclear danger is especially illuminating. They make clear how close we have come to the ultimate human absurdity of annihilating ourselves as a species with our own technology. One thinks of the Enlightenment motto, "Dare to know!" The knowledge we gain can be a source of powerful wisdom." (Robert Jay Lifton, author of Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism)

"We won't be able to manage America's future if we don't know its past. In their Untold Story, Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick peel away layers of misleading myth about America in the 20th century. Some will be surprised, others angry. Most will understand their nation much better, especially the young. Then perhaps we can move forward in the new century." (Jeff Madrick, author of Taking America)

It’s time for serious people to confront rather than avoid or attempt to denigrate the profound challenges raised by Stone and Kuznick. They are asking (and answering!) all the right questions. (Gar Alperovitz, author of The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb)

Many books have been written about specific episodes of American intervention and military aggression. And yet the master narrative remains intact: the US is the "indispensable nation," relied upon by people and nations around the world to preserve the peace and defend freedom. The immense contribution of The Untold History of the United States is to shatter the conventional wisdom, challenging readers to re-conceptualise the American role in the world...Everyone, who reads The Untold History will learn something new and be compelled to examine long held assumptions. For students of US history, this is an invaluable work. (Carolyn Eisenberg, author of Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949)

"A fascinating and provocative work. This courageous and clear-minded account of American history and the foundations of the American empire is a milestone in a surprisingly small genre of books, namely, critical history written of and for the people. It should have the widest possible reading." (Bruce Cumings, author of The Korean War)

"Kuznick and Stone tell the untold history of the United States--the often disastrous consequences of American exceptionalism and global domination--with passion and clarity... beautifully illustrated, well-argued, and compellingly written." (Marilyn Young, author of The Vietnam Wars)

"The Untold History of the United States is one of the most important books of our time. Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick disabuse us of the popular notion that this country has always been a force for good in the world. They document the tragic consequences of U.S. imperialism, the commission of war crimes, and the decimation of civil liberties under the guise of the ‘war on terror’. This work should give us pause whenever we are asked to uncritically accept the idea of American exceptionalism. " (Marjorie Cohn, author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Oliver Stone has won numerous Academy Awards for his work on such iconic films as Platoon, Wall Street, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, Salvador, and W.

Peter Kuznick is a professor of history and director of the award-winning Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and is currently serving his third term as distinguished lecturer with the Organization of American Historians. He has written extensively about science and politics, nuclear history, and Cold War culture.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480507016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480507012
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 2 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (428 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,576,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book should be required reading in every high school.
Fred Tomasello Jr.
Saw part of the TV series & really wanted to know more...this book was exactly what I was looking for!
He is meticulous as a researcher and his works are well documented.
James Jewell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 191 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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155 of 180 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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