- Hardcover: 450 pages
- Publisher: Transaction Publishers; First Edition edition (January 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1560003197
- ISBN-13: 978-1560003199
- Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,429,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories Hardcover – January 1, 1997
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"The Costs of War... ranks among the best collection of articles ever assembled on the history of United States wars that built the state, shredded the Constitution, and raised up an empire."
– Free Market
"[An] insightful and provocative collection of essays."
– Dwight D. Murphey, Conservative Review
About the Author
John V. Denson is a partner in the law firm of Samford, Denson, Horsley, Pettey & Martin, vice chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a trustee of Auburn University in Alabama.
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed all the essays, but some deserve particular attention. Allan Carlson's "The Military as an Engine of Social Change" shows how war not only leads to an increase in power, but also is used by government to change the family. This aspect of war never seems to get much attention from the neoconservative hawks. Murray Rothbard contributes a typically brilliant essay on leftist intellectuals who pushed America into World War I. As usual, Rothbard sees the "big picture," integrating both the men and movements that led to U.S. involvement in perhaps the greatest tragedy in human history. His discussion of John Dewey is brilliant. Ralph Raico contributes an excellent "take down" of Winston Churchill.
One essay I particularly enjoyed was Paul Gottfried's "Is Modern Democracy Warlike?" Prof. Gottfried points out that - for all his brilliance in economics - von Mises didn't understand American democracy. The seeds of big government are present in the democratic system, just as much (if not more) than in other systems. Hans-Herman Hoppe (another contributor) develops this theme in great detail in his book DEMOCRACY - THE GOD THAT FAILED.
Denson's introductory essay is worth reading. This essay gives the reader a glimpse of the book's theme, and his essay is a good introduction to the rise of militarism in the United States since 1860. Denson's introduction presents the reader with a cause-and effect relationship between war and the erosion of rights.
The essays that examine the Civil War, especially Murray Rothbard's essay, gives a view of the Civil War that reveals that actual origins of this tragedy as opposed to the childish convention that somehow the Civil War began over the issue of slavery. Readers should note that Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson was opposed to slavery. Gen. Robert E. Lee emancipated his slaves. On the other hand, Gen. Grant had to free his slaves to take command of the Army of the Potomac. Gen. Sherman of the Union also owned slaves. As some of the essays clearly state, Pres. Lincoln antagonized the Southerners with manacing military actions especially on Virginia's border which resulted in the Virginians joining the Confederacy.
The essays dealing with World War I and World War II should be of particular interest to those not familiar with actual the origins of these wars. Textbook writers give the false impression that Pres. Wilson and U.S. authorities were neutral prior to April 6, 1917 when members of the U.S. Congress voted to declare on the Germans and their allies. The facts were that American bankers and powerful political fugures had given money and resources to the British and French espcially after 1915. Pres. Wilson had U.S. supply vessels sail into war zones to assist the British and French and to deliberately antagonize the Germans into provocation.
Murray Rothbard's essay regarding World War I is instructive. He chides Walter Lippmann for being a ferocious advocate of U.S. entry into World War I as well as a proponent of military conscription (slavery). Yet, when Mr. Lippmann realized that he was of draft age and in good health, he used his connections with Felix Frankfurter to avoid having to face angry gunfire. Lippmann's excuse was that he wanted to help shape the post World War I United States in line what the "intellectuals" thought was necessary for everyone else. Mr. Lippmann annointed himself as one of Plato's philosopher kings. This anecdote is indeed instructive. This is line with the adage that, "War hath no fury as that of the non-combatent." One should note that the current group of armchair patriots have never seen combat. Vice President Cheney had five (5) draft deferments and never saw one he did not like. Yet, he is similiar to Walter Lippmann in that Cheney wants war but never wants to face war's dangers. Lippmann and Cheney fit Andy Jacobs' descriptions of War Wimps and Chicken Hawks.
The essays dealing with the costs of war reveal that the plutocratic rich benefit from military expendatures, but the public never gets to see the bills until later when they come due. Those who prefer to remain ignorant and comfortable about the costs of war only protest when taxes and inflation damage their economic status. Yet, these folks may hold a key to stopping the war machine as suggested in one of the essays if they alerted their U.S. Senators and Representatives.
The appeal to "Demokracy" to initiate wars is ludicrous which Messers Gottfired and Hoppe make very clear. The fact is wars in the name of democracy or wars in the name of the people are the most destructive. A point well made is "Vox populi Vox Dei" applies to war. Modern political views state the voice of the public, no matter how stupid or wrong, is a substitute for reason and knowledge.
Mr. Denson's book is useful for those who are puzzled by the rise of the military state. Readers should also consult the bibliogrphy in this book. Harry Elmer Barnes' anthology titled PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE and James J. Martin's REVISIONIST VIEW POINTS are especially useful. Mr. Denson's THE COSTS OF WAR is timely and well worth reading.