- Hardcover: 957 pages
- Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; 1st edition (November 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0817912347
- ISBN-13: 978-0817912345
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath 1st Edition
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“What an amazing historical find! Historian George H. Nash, the dean of Herbert Hoover studies, has brought forth a very rare manuscript in Freedom Betrayed. Here is Hoover unplugged, delineating on everything from the ‘lost statesmanship’ of FDR to the Korean War. A truly invaluable work of presidential history. Highly recommended.”
—DOUGLAS BRINKLEY is professor of history at Rice University and editor of The Reagan Diaries.
“Finally, after waiting for close to half a century, we now have Hoover’s massive and impassioned account of American foreign policy from 1933 to the early 1950s. Thanks to the efforts of George H. Nash, there exists an unparalleled picture of Hoover’s world view, one long shared by many conservatives. Nash’s thorough and perceptive introduction shows why he remains America’s leading Hoover scholar.”
—JUSTUS D. DOENECKE, author of Storm on the Horizon: The Challenge to American Intervention, 1939–1941
“A forcefully argued and well documented alternative to, and critique of, the conventional liberal historical narrative of America’s road to war and its war aims. Even readers comfortable with the established account will find themselves thinking that on some points the accepted history should be reconsidered and perhaps revised.”
—JOHN EARL HAYNES, author of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America
“Freedom Betrayed offers vivid proof of William Faulkner’s famous dictum that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” For those who might think that history has settled the mantle of consensus around the events of the World War II era, Hoover’s iconoclastic narrative will come as an unsettling reminder that much controversy remains. By turns quirky and astute, in prose that is often acerbic and unfailingly provocative, Hoover opens some old wounds and inflicts a few new ones of his own, while assembling a passionate case for the tragic errors of Franklin Roosevelt’s diplomacy. Not all readers will be convinced, but Freedom Betrayed is must-read for anyone interested in the most consequential upheaval of the twentieth century.”
—DAVID M. KENNEDY is professor of history emeritus at Stanford University and the author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945.
“Herbert Hoover’s Freedom Betrayed is a bracing work of historical revisionism that takes aim at U.S. foreign policy under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Part memoir and part diplomatic history, Hoover's magnum opus seeks to expose the “lost statesmanship” that, in Hoover’s eyes, needlessly drew the United States into the Second World War and, in the aftermath, facilitated the rise to global power of its ideological rival, the Soviet Union. Freedom Betrayed, as George Nash asserts in his astute and authoritative introduction, resembles a prosecutor’s brief against Roosevelt—and against Winston Churchill as well— at the bar of history. Thanks to Nash’s impressive feat of reconstruction, Hoover’s “thunderbolt” now strikes—nearly a half-century after it was readied. The former president’s interpretation of the conduct and consequences of the Second World War will not entirely persuade most readers. Yet, as Nash testifies, like the best kind of revisionist history, Freedom Betrayed “challenges us to think afresh about our past.”
—BERTRAND M. PATENAUDE, author of A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives
“Nearly fifty years after his death, Herbert Hoover returns as the ultimate revisionist historian, prosecuting his heavily documented indictment of US foreign policy before, during, and after the Second World War. Brilliantly edited by George Nash, Freedom Betrayed is as passionate as it is provocative. Many no doubt will dispute Hoover’s strategic vision. But few can dispute the historical significance of this unique volume, published even as Americans of the twenty-first century debate their moral and military obligations.”
—RICHARD NORTON SMITH is a presidential historian and author, former director of several presidential libraries, and current scholar-in-residence at George Mason University.
The culmination of an extraordinary literary project that Herbert Hoover launched during World War II, his “magnum opus”—at last published nearly fifty years after its completion—offers a revisionist reexamination of the war and its cold war aftermath and a sweeping indictment of the “lost statesmanship” of Franklin Roosevelt. Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath originated as a volume of Hoover’s memoirs, a book initially focused on his battle against President Roosevelt’s foreign policies before Pearl Harbor. As time went on, however, Hoover widened his scope to include Roosevelt’s foreign policies during the war, as well as the war’s consequences: the expansion of the Soviet empire at war’s end and the eruption of the cold war against the Communists.
On issue after issue, Hoover raises crucial questions that continue to be debated to this day. Did Franklin Roosevelt deceitfully maneuver the United States into an undeclared and unconstitutional naval war with Germany in 1941? Did he unnecessarily appease Joseph Stalin at the pivotal Tehran conference in 1943? Did communist agents and sympathizers in the White House, Department of State, and Department of the Treasury play a malign role in some of America’s wartime decisions? Hoover raises numerous arguments that challenge us to think again about our past. Whether or not one ultimately accepts his arguments, the exercise of confronting them will be worthwhile to all.
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Top Customer Reviews
Regardless of your political persuasion Hoover does a great job of backing up his opinions. The book made me look at many things about the world (especially WWII) in a different light. Did we need to intervene in Europe? Would Russia and Germany neuter each other? Was it really necessary to use atomic weapons? Hoover takes these topics on and explains and justifies why he would have taken different actions than Roosevelt and Truman did. The book makes you take a more critical look of the country's leadership and the decisions they made.
I spent a little time establishing his bonafides because "Freedom Betrayed" is not a typical history book. And it's not a rant. It is a hard look at what went on behind the scenes of World War II, a conflict that most Americans think saved the world from disaster. Hoover collected many thousands of documents pertaining to US foreign policy in the years before and during World War II. Many of these are at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Additionally, he recorded notes of meetings he had with many important figures. Hoover was not a trained historian but he actually met such people as Hitler, Goering, Chamberlain, Stanley Baldwin, Churchill (who once called him a son of a bitch) FDR, Douglas MacArthur and Joseph Kennedy. It is his contention, and in the main I agree with him, that the United States and Great Britain did not have to become involved in what should have remained a war between Nazi Germany and the USSR. Roosevelt, "looking for dragons to destroy" dragged the United States into the war, with a lot of help from Winston Churchill. Among the revelations in this book is a conversation Hoover had with Joseph Kennedy years later in which Kennedy told him that as ambassador to Great Britain, FDR hounded him constantly to get Neville Chamberlain to make a guarantee of British assistance to Poland in the event that Germany attacked Poland. Later, when the United States was in the war, Hoover makes a strong case that Roosevelt and Churchill gave in to Stalin on every issue pertaining to the postwar status of Eastern Europe, without a peep of protest, perhaps in slavish gratitude for Russia doing so much of the fighting.
The length of this book may seem daunting but Hoover had a very clear and direct style of writing and the only time the reader may feel bogged down is when he quotes at length from diplomatic documents written in an opaque manner. (Hoover was a prolific writer. Author of many books, one of the most interesting is a translation, with his wife, of the classic 16th century mining encyclopedia, "De Re Metallica" written by Georg Bauer. Hoover was no dilatante.) "Freedom Betrayed" is an eye-opener. Read it with an open mind.
It is a big book, but I read it on my Kindle and it didn't seem to be so big. If you are a history nut like me,
you will enjoy this book.
This book is one book, you will have a hard time putting down. It's a great gift to give to anyone.
Everything is meticulously documented, and no one else in human history collected documents the way Hoover did.
Will Hoover's version of events now be the definitive account of World War II? Of course not. But the definitive account of the war can no longer be written without taking Hoover's
work into consideration. And it ought not be enough for those who would dispute him to dismiss him as a sore loser who never got over losing the 1932 election. They should
accept the challenge of showing specifically where he is mistaken.