Customer Reviews: War is a Racket
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on November 18, 2011
I gave this 1 star NOT because this book is horrible. In fact, it deserves 5 stars! This version with the Evil Uncle Sam on the cover is such a short version (hence the price) that you loose virtually all the famous quotes. This version states 28 pages yet the first words start on page 7. The Green Olive Leaf paperback has 80 of the original writtings. I got what I paid for :.(
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on April 25, 2002
In this short book, retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley D. Butler, winner of two Congressional Medals of Honor, describes his understanding of the motivations and causes of America's turn-of-the-century international wars (AKA: The Banana Wars) in the Carribean, South America, and China.

Here, General Butler explains the actual motivations for 'fighting for the USA' beyond the USA's borders and shores. The reader will learn how big business, hand-in-hand with government, is often the reason we get into wars outside our own country.

An extremely interesting book, complex yet clearly written, "War is a Racket" is relevant to today's situation and will help you understand how we choose our overseas fights and why we fight them.

-- JJ Timmins
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on December 3, 2011
Don't buy the paperback with the Uncle Sam figure on the over. At 28 pages, it's either a pamphlet reprint or it is edited down. It is a very superficial treatment of the subject - a disappointment. I was visiting Butler's house last week, spoke with relatives, and I went looking for his book, prepared to be impressed. I am hoping that he has more substance than what is in this 28 page pamphlet. It is a screed against capitalism, but the Army that bought the millions of dollars worth of equipment that he points out as unnecessary, or leftover, or out of date, gets a free pass. He blames the sellers, but does not inquire about the buyers. The famous quote about being the "gangster for capitalism" is not in the book. It is from a speech he gave on the same subject. Perhaps this is his whole book - if so, it is freely available online. Don't waste the shipping charge for these 28 pages.
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on May 31, 2010
U.S. Marine Brigadier General Smedley Butler, the most decorated military man in history, saw first-hand the lies and deceits that characterize modern warfare. He blew the whistle on the corruption and waste of lives of World War I, traveling nationally to spread the word. He warned American citizens time and again that they were being duped by the power brokers that run the American economy and that America's sons were being sacrificed for the profit motive. He offered a solution in the form of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prevent the U.S. from making war outside our national borders.This is a powerful book all the more so in that it's power rings as true today as it did when published in 1935.
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on August 5, 2010
I recommend reading this book. It only takes about 20 minutes and can be found online for free. It was written in 1935 and much of what he predicted came true and much of what he observed is still true. The analysis of profit and warfare versus who is making the real sacrifice is good. Many of his objections, while philosophically correct (in my opinion), have been taken out of the equation for the time being. He had a lot of heartburn over the draft and who got sent and how much they got paid. Now we are pretty much all volunteer and get paid relatively well. Of course I think this just makes it easier to send troops to war and he would probably have been against that result. He finishes with a 3 step method to limit wars and a great closing line, "TO HELL WITH WAR."
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on June 9, 2014
This is a really difficult read by someone who has slowly come to realize the true evils of war and who profits from it. The author is not some pacifist coward but a warrior who has realized that he and the ones he served with in battle have been had by some very evil men. We are a military family but right now the VA IS BEING EXPOSED FOR THE UNCARING GROUP THAT IT IS CONCERNING OUR VETERANS. You either have to ignore the evidence and personal experience or begin to free yourself from the war manipulators.
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on February 6, 2014
I had read this book online awhile back but just recently picked up a paper copy. This book is a very worth reading. Maj. Gen S. D. Butler, unlike most anti-war activists, was a highly decorated professional soldier who renounced the political and financial "game" of almost all modern wars. I agree with Butler in having a strong national defense and absolutely no foreign intervention (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.). This is a definite read for a libertarian patriot.
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on November 21, 2012
Smedley Butler is a true American hero and he was warning about the military industrial complex decades before Ike. His ideas about government wouldn't fly these days but man oh man are they interesting. It's a really short book and definitely a great one to have on your kindle.
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on July 29, 2013
As a former U.S. Marine it was really good to read a book written by one of the icons of the USMC. Major General Smedley Butler known for his heroism and Esprit de Corps. As an Anarchis it was outstanding to read about how this retired Major General one of the two most decorated Marines in in history spokeout vehemently against the evils of war! He derided the Military Industrial Complex and the fact that massive profits are made by few powerful at the expense of the massess.
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on October 31, 2012
Major General Smedley Butler--in his time he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history--a man's man, beloved by those who served under him, and respected by those he served. He was not shy about expressing his opinions. Based on his intense experience as a leader of soldiers in battle, he posits that war is a just another racket run by the miltary-industrial-banking-govenmental complex. Power brokers of all, political, religious, and social run the racket with the sole goal of enhancing their finances and influence. The military is "the Enforcer" for the power brokers. Butler served the brokers well in many military campaigns before coming to the conclusion that WAR IS A RACKET.

His book kicks apart the pretense of war making. He loved and respected his the men with whom he fought in the "Banana Wars", The "Remember the Maine" war, "The War to End all Wars" and others, but he became totally disillusioned with the concept of war. He was certain that war is a racket and he told the world. It's a wonderful way to make enormous profits, to make a name, and to climb the ladder of political success.

"God is on our side"..."We're fighting for freedom"...War is a glorious adventure" so say those who sponsor wars, but seldom join in the front line action. He offers some solutions to end the never-ending war cycle in this concise but powerful essay--have the conscripted men, who will serve in the war, vote on its validity--yes or no--go or no-go before the war begins. In addition, all those who would support the war should be paid the same wages as the soldiers, including the corporate moguls. Butler's final words are "To Hell With War!"

Today's "silly" yet 21st century wars and their not-so-silly injuries, death and destruction only serve to confirm and amplify the simplicity and elegance of this old soldier's learned argument. Are we "condemned to repeat" our bloody history? Or can we better our children, the world, and ourselves? Smedley Butler's little book says it all. It should be distributed in every classroom in the world for discussion and reflection.
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