House of War

  • by James Carroll
  • Narrated by James Carroll
  • 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This landmark, myth-shattering work chronicles the most powerful institution in America, the people who created it, and the pathologies it has spawned. Carroll proves a controversial thesis: the Pentagon has, since its founding, operated beyond the control of any force in government or society. It is the biggest, loosest cannon in American history, and no institution has changed this country more. To argue his case, he marshals a trove of often chilling evidence. He recounts how "the Building" and its denizens achieved what Eisenhower called "a disastrous rise of misplaced power" from the unprecedented aerial bombing of Germany and Japan during World War II to the "shock and awe" of Iraq. He charts the colossal U.S. nuclear buildup, which far outpaced that of the USSR and has outlived it. He reveals how consistently the Building has found new enemies just as old threats and funding evaporate. He demonstrates how Pentagon policy brought about U.S. indifference to an epidemic of genocide during the 1990s. And he shows how the forces that attacked the Pentagon on 9/11 were set in motion exactly sixty years earlier, on September 11, 1941, when ground was broken for the house of war.
Carroll draws on rich personal experience (his father was a top Pentagon official for more than 20 years) as well as exhaustive research and extensive interviews with Washington insiders, from Robert McNamara to John McCain to William Cohen to John Kerry. The result is a grand yet intimate work of history, unashamedly polemical and personal but unerringly factual.

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What the Critics Say

"An aggressively compelling history." (Publishers Weekly)
"Certain to be one of the most-talked-about nonfiction books of the season." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Worthy reading ... with your eyes.

I rate the book 5 stars and the reader 1 star.

Thoroughly interesting history, well reasearched and written. Quite comprehensive on topic. Should have wide appeal. Mostly objective, though writer loses it over the Vietnam war protesters.

Although the author has a strong reading voice, his stacato phrasing is often inappropriate to the meaning and becomes almost unbearable to listen to. I would have preferred to read the print version, but I had already purchased the audio.
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- Nukkles

I expected more

It's about time somebody wrote a comprehensive history of the war machine that has dominated American policy for over half a century. Carroll is uniquely qualified since his father, General Carrol was the first head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Sadly, this insiders look suffers from myopia - he gets the broad outlines correct and there is a lot of info you never knew before, but the big picture is missing. Also, the author narrates in a style that is best described as measured. Every - word - is - stated - with - precision. It's difficult to listen to. And he keeps on bringing in his personal life - he was in the seminary when he went to his first war protest rally in 1967 and we get a description of the loose-fitting but revealing clothes worn by the female protestors.
I had high hopes - maybe too high. It's worth reading though.
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- Armando

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-27-2006
  • Publisher: Random House Audio