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302 of 374 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars U.S. HISTORY TOLD THE RIGHT WAY... FOR ONCE, November 2, 2012
This review is from: The Untold History of the United States (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.

This book reads like a modern day version of Thucydides, the Greek historian, The History of the Peloponnesian War and the corruption of language.

As a culture inculcated by an embellished history, remember this:

If we do not choose our leaders carefully and become more engaged, and stop viewing history in hindsight, then we risk our nation becoming either a kakistocracy or catastrophe - you decide. You have more power then you think.
Think independently. "Question everything" as Marx once said.

Read this book.

Tell it right for once.

Warning: This book will keep you up all night... save it for a weekend read.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 16, 2012 5:55:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2012 5:56:42 PM PST
panopticon7 says:
tight review. but i submit that we lose the assumption that we need to 'choose our leaders carefully.' we don't need leaders at all. and we never have. that assumption is most of the problem.

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 9:25:10 AM PST
I saw the authors promote the book and T.V. series on TAVIS SMILEY and DEMOCRACY NOW!, Michael. I don't have cable television, so I will have to wait for the D.V.D. release as far as the T.V. series goes. But your review reminds me I've got to get my hands on this book.

Posted on Jan 5, 2013 8:25:46 PM PST
Christanne says:
When I can learn two new words from the review, I really can't wait to read the book...thank you...

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 5:50:56 PM PST
J. Koerner says:
Although I haven't read the book yet, I will tell you the basis of my judgement that it is accurate: because it's the basis of a series on Showtime, standards and practices and lawyers went over it with a fine tooth comb, and then again on behalf of the publisher.

I recall that some years ago there was an exhibition of the Enola Gay, possibly at the Smithsonian, anyway because of the text on the wall describing the circumstances under which the bomb was deployed -- and believe me, the museum didn't wish to antagonize the public or the contributors, so their text was as inoffensive as possible -- still there was a giant hew and cry and I think in the end they took most of it down. There would have been a wholesale boycott (or the premium cable equivalent, given the show has no sponsors; maybe Amazon??) led by the those whose family members died in World War Two, Korea, Vietnam,etc if anyone could prove that any of it was inaccurate.

This tree would have fallen in the forest long ago, and we would have heard it, if there was anything rotten in its roots. Clearly, that is not the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2013 8:14:58 PM PST
DC Dave says:
If you think that the history in this book is accurate, please search "Oliver Stone on James Forrestal" and think again.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2013 12:03:17 PM PST
J. Koerner is wrong on two counts. First off, the fact that there was no boycott does not necessarily prove that there are no factual errors in the documentary series. It simply proves that there was no boycott. Second, many observers have pointed out many errors. Try checking online for pieces by Ronald Radosh.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2013 3:09:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2013 3:11:36 PM PST
Mark bennett says:
"There would have been a wholesale boycott (or the premium cable equivalent, given the show has no sponsors; maybe Amazon??) led by the those whose family members died in World War Two, Korea, Vietnam,etc if anyone could prove that any of it was inaccurate."

That did nearly happen. When Stone was originally promoting the series, he gave a speech where he said among other things that "Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it's been used cheaply. He's the product of a series of actions. It's cause and effect,".

There was a tense period after that ended with Stone apologizing to everyone in sight for those comments. If he had not backed down, the program probably would have been cancelled.

The difference between what happened with the Smithsonian and Stone is that while the involvement of the Smithsonian adds credibility to claims, the involvement of Oliver Stone means that many people will not take what is said seriously at all. Stone has the reputation of being a crank and he generally gets lumped in with the bigfoot chasers and the UFO hunters.

"This tree would have fallen in the forest long ago, and we would have heard it, if there was anything rotten in its roots. Clearly, that is not the case. "

Almost everything in the book can be challenged. But there isn't much value in doing it. The conspiracy freaks who follow stone are not going to listen and nobody else is taking his book seriously. Challenging him just gives him more publicity.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2013 9:32:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2013 9:33:51 AM PDT
Erroll says:
I seriously doubt if Mark bennett has any credibility in criticizing Stone as he has stated in the past that he [bennett] is not a supporter of American Exceptionalism while not hesitating in going after someone like Stone who, unlike bennett, has actually taken apart that false ideology called American Exceptionalism.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Mark bennett.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2013 11:41:23 AM PDT
If "Erroll" has a disagreement with "Mark bennett," the focus should be on the latter's argument, not on convoluted reasons to throw mud.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2013 12:15:52 PM PDT
Erroll says:
Mr. Hager

On the contrary, what I said was far from convoluted as Mark bennett is certainly hypocritical in condemning Oliver Stone for attacking American Exceptionalism while he himself has claimed that he does not support that principle.
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