Book info

The Untold History Of The United States (2012)

The Untold History of The United States (2012)
Author
Rating
4.17 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
1451616449 (ISBN13: 9781451616446)
languge
English
publisher
Gallery Books
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The Untold History Of The United Stat...
The Untold History Of The United States (2012)

About book: I like books about the past 100 years of American History so this was a good way to start my year of reading. The main theme of this book appears to be the US's military industrial complex and the way it jumps into wars either needlessly or with an ulterior motive of maintaining control over important resources like oil. The book starts off before World War 1 in which they tried to pass legislation that would greatly reduce the obscene profits that companies make from wars. Didn't pan out that way. One of the most interesting chapters was on the two atomic bombs on Japan, and the book poses that our demand for an unconditional surrender made the subsequent bombing avoidable. It also appears the Soviet Union did most of the heavy lifting in WW2. This book was left-leaning but it criticized presidents Republican and Democrat alike. It didn't make any one president out to be a saint. One thing can be said right away:If you are an "America is the best ever" person, this book will be your nightmare.However I do not quite understand why, since the authors don't really say so much new stuff actually, they simple put what was previously told in several books into one and especially Stone's name gave it wide attention. They have a lot in it that is technically known simply overshadowed by a lot of myths, which makes books like this one important. However I think covering such a long time period comes at the cost of never going into detail (e.g. if a fellow German is reading this and happens to be Sinti… yeah forget it, the book ignores you like most do), but I don't think you can blame the authors for it since the book covers more than 100 years of USA history and it already has more than 650 pages of text, not counting notes and bibliography. Going into more detail would probably turn this into a book 3-times the size of the Bible.So like I said, they do not go into too much detail except for big turning points but rather are concerned with the patterns that emerge and continue. And I think in that way they are doing a pretty good job, you can question their conclusions and since this was coauthored by Oliver Stone I am sure many will mistrust his methods, but not the facts; and in my eyes that is no different to any other author of history books.What this book tackles in its basis is the myth of American exceptionalism and I guess that might piss a lot of people off since it really doesn't shy away from doing it, ever. Reading this there is a good chance that you will find a lot of your views are challenged, which I liked about the book but others will probably hate.However I am sure most will agree where the book is undoubtedly good: The writing and reading flow. Despite all the information it never felt boring to me and the reading experience was without a doubt good and made this very enjoyable, a lot of history books should do it like this.There are some problems with it though, for instance they say in World War II 27 Million Russians died, which wass actually Soviets (which they did right in the documentary series, where they had the forced mass migration that was missing here), which I think was due to the common trap of equating Soviets with Russians, others would be the Tiananmen square massacres whose numbers are contested and also it treats it like just a student's massacre, which is not true since most died all around Beijing, however the info on that is usually scarce so maybe that is the reason. It also looked as if they regarded Japanese people as dark-skinned and if that is what they did then I wonder what they consider light then. But these were minor things.Also, despite what many say, this book was in some way actually even nicer to American foreign policy than it probably should be, e.g. it never mentioned the thousands of instances of rape in Okinawa by American soldiers or the collecting of body parts as trophies (which might be linked to the practice of scalping during the Wild West) and glossed over a few things about Vietnam. So like I said it's actually nicer than many think.Also not all chapters do equally well, the passages on Bush & Clinton may have been the worst with 9/11 getting stronger again, but the prologue was also very good and made me interested in history more.But despite its flaws, again nothing new for me regarding history books, I think is definitely a recommendable book. At the very least it would get readers to rethink much of what they thought they knew about USA policy, and possibly their own country's policy, over the last century.
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Reviews
rishiboy
An anecdote to American exceptionalism. Gripping! I want to check out the Showtime documentary now
wikky95
Ihan hyödyllinen pläjäys vastakkaista ajattelua. Lukukokemuksena raskas.
Edjb
Biased. Negative.depressing.
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