- Paperback: 452 pages
- Publisher: RSD Press (October 29, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 098914870X
- ISBN-13: 978-0989148702
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,765,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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America's Greatest Blunder: The Fateful Decision to Enter World War One Paperback – October 29, 2013
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Pines provides an epic exercise in historical speculation in this detailed and thought-provoking review of U.S. entry into WWI. His daring thesis, buttressed by a sweeping review, is that U.S. intervention into the war laid the basis for WWII and the Cold War. Pines maintains that, had U.S. troops not entered the conflict, a negotiated peace would have ensued. Surrender terms imposed on Germany, he argues, led to a legacy of bitterness that helped foster subsequent Nazi rule. Pines's re-examination of the atmosphere of these times is fascinating food for thought. Publishers Weekly
A detailed look at one of history's greatest turning points...In this painstakingly detailed, thoroughly researched analysis, Pines examines the circumstances that led President Woodrow Wilson to take the U.S. into World War I and that decision's consequences...New perspectives and energetic prose...The book balances expertly narrated accounts of battles with vigorous extrapolations of what might have happened if those battles hadn't been fought...[The book's]main arguments are immensely insightful. A carefully and winningly argued case against military adventurism. Kirkus Reviews
This work is a good primer for understanding how a nation can be dragged into war. It also provides a good overview of U.S. participation in WWI on the strategic and political levels. Pines's key point is that without U.S. entry, the two exhausted sides would have eventually come to the conference table to settle things. He offers a number of "what if" conclusions to a WWI that ends without American participation. ForeWord Clarion Reviews
This is an excellent overview of WWI. Well written, well researched, informational and compelling, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author takes the reader through a detailed account of the war in a well-referenced documentary with a very descriptive narrative. Consider it a compilation of every history book written about the war. The author's description of the Western Front brings a feeling of being there. I highly recommend this book for history buffs and those who would like to learn more about WWI. This book will give an accurate overview. Readers' Favorite
“A well-researched and easy to read overview of the war and America’s involvement. The true beauty of the narrative is in the chapters describing America’s entry and role in the War’s outcome. The author’s significant research combined with a journalistic style makes this one of the most readable overviews of America’s entry on the shelves today. This is a book that should be read this year, if for nothing more than as one of the finest overviews of the War and America’s entry into it, and the effects of our entry on its outcome.” Roads to the Great War, author Professor Dennis Linton
From the Author
Awards Received by America's Greatest Blunder
Silver Medal - History
Military Writers Society of America
Winner - Military History
USA Best Book Awards
Best Book - U.S. History
Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards
Winner - Military History
International Book Awards
Gold Medal Winner - Current Events
Silver Medal Winner - History
Silver Medal - History
Readers Favorite Annual Book Awards
Silver Medal - U.S. History
Independent Publisher, IPPY Book Awards
Runner-Up - General Non-Fiction
Paris Book Festival
Honorable Mention - General Non-Fiction
New York Book Festival
Finalist - History
Finalist - War & Military
Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards
Finalist - U.S. History
National Indie Excellence Awards
Finalist - Military History
Next Generation Indie Book Awards
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Clearly and vigorously, Pines makes the case that America had no compelling interest in taking sides in a clash between European imperialist powers. That it did so turned what would likely have been a balanced, negotiated peace between stalemated belligerents into an unconditional defeat for Germany. This allowed the Allies to impose terms on Germany that, even at the time, were viewed as destructive of European stability. America's almost inexplicable failure to negotiate a more reasonable treaty, Pines believes, was very much the fault of Woodrow Wilson. Pines depicts Wilson as an intellectually arrogant visionary so consumed with establishing the League of Nations as his legacy that he traded away nearly all of America's considerable leverage while getting little in return.
"America's Greatest Blunder" supports its thesis by supplying riveting accounts of America's varied and shifting attitudes toward the European conflict, by detailing the politics and strategies of the warring nations, and by depicting the initial enthusiasm for the conflict and, later, the flagging support of Europe's civilian populations and, indeed, its soldiers. Especially interesting for this reader are accounts of the well-oiled British propaganda machine which convinced Americans that Germans were a uniquely militant and barbarous people.
Pines upends many of the commonly held notions about the Great War. Importantly, he makes clear the responsibility we have as individuals to seek out the truth behind the sloganeering that shapes so much policy.
A flood tide of books will emerge leading up to the 2014 centenary of this tragic conflict. You would be well served to include "America's Greatest Blunder" in your reading on the subject.
Woodrow Wilson was a very strange man. Rather than simply reiterating his thesis, Pines could have focused on Wilson's thinking, motivation and the psychology that motivated his behavior. For example, could poor health(specifically, a series of mini-strokes) have explained his transformation from believing in a just peace to group-think German-bashing at Versailles? Why was he such a poor negotiator, trading away everything else for the will-o-the-wisp League of Nations? Did he expect divine intervention? What was the nature and effect of his religious beliefs?
Essentially we are left to figure out for ourselves why exactly Wilson didn't demand even-handed treatment from the British on their blockade in his insistence on so-called Freedom of the Seas for neutrals. Then the whole process was repeated twenty years later with Roosevelt, with essentially the same (or worse)results. For that matter, what were the long range consequences of Wilson's policies for American foreign policy? WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, our interminable meddling in Latin America and the Middle East with largely disastrous results. How did the US start down this road and where will it lead?