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The notion of American exceptionalism, dating back to John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon aboard the Arabella, still warps Americans’ understanding of their nation’s role in the world. Most are loathe to admit that the United States has any imperial pretensions. But history tells a different story as filmmaker Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick reveal in this riveting account of the rise and decline of the American empire. They trace the American empire through the bloody U.S. suppression of the Filipino struggle for independence; the establishment of U.S. financial hegemony via World War I; the repeated U.S. interventions, covert operations, and wars in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East; the transformation of America into a prying national security state; the accumulation of vast fortunes by the wealthiest Americans; and troubling assaults on U.S. constitutional liberties.
Aided by the latest archival findings and recently declassified documents and building on the research of the world’s best scholars, Stone and Kuznick construct an often shocking but meticulously documented "people's history" of the American empire that offers startling context to the Bush-Cheney policies that put us at war in two Muslim countries and show us why the Obama administration has had such a difficult time cleaving a new path.
Stone and Kuznick will introduce listeners to a pantheon of heroes and villains as they show not only how far the United States has drifted from its democratic traditions but the powerful forces that have struggled to get us back on track. The authors reveal that:
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were militarily unnecessary and morally indefensible.
The United States, not the Soviet Union, bore the lion’s share of responsibility for perpetuating the Cold War.
The U.S. love affair with right-wing dictators has gone as far as overthrowing elected leaders, arming and training murderous military officers, and forcing millions of people into poverty.
U.S.-funded Islamist fundamentalists, who fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, have blown back to threaten the interests of the United States and its allies.
U.S. presidents, especially in wartime, have frequently trampled on the Constitution and international law.
The United States has brandished nuclear threats repeatedly and come terrifyingly close to nuclear war.
American leaders often believe they are unbound by history, yet Stone and Kuznick argue that we must face our troubling history honestly and forthrightly in order to set a new course for the 21st century. Their conclusions will astonish even experts, but there is one question only listeners can answer: Is it too late for America to change?
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anthony S. McComas on 06-06-16
Interesting book but felt biased...
This is a tough review to write. I decided to listen to the book as I enjoyed the TV Version of it and felt that was very well presented. I read a lot of history and have learned over the years that when it comes to the history of the world you have to take the good with the bad. This book is VERY well researched and has a lot of good information. My only problem with it is how it posts everything about the US as evil and every other country in the world as saints with no agendas of their own. The narrator does a great job and is very good throughout the book.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Nathan on 06-13-16
This is a lot to digest
I've always known there was corruption
At all levels of politics but if even half this book is true, there are a number of countries that seem pretty well justified in their contempt for us.
Based on what I know of Oliver Stone, I wouldn't consider him an unbiased source so be aware of the source as you are reading this information. Also I saw some reviews by other historians that blast this book for its gross exaggerations and fabrications. I don't know their motivations though either?
This book does validate the feeling I've always had that politicians have a hand up their butt and we can't see whose in control. This book overall made me very sad and concerned for the world that will be left behind for my children. For the sake of us all, I hope we can turn this around.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful