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The Untold History of the United States (2012)

de Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick

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371751,939 (3.74)4
A companion to the ten-part documentary series outlines provocative arguments against official American historical records to reveal the origins of conservatism and the obstacles to progressive change.
Adicionado recentemente porbrendanowicz, aberocka, biblioteca privada, tatuahponen, twislibrary, timcomalley, briannad84, avrego, captainfez, rickmac45
  1. 10
    Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism de Jim Stanford (PlaidStallion)
    PlaidStallion: Because in the end, it’s all about the money. From the book:

      We conclude with a lesson from Milton Friedman, one of the intellectual founders of neoliberalism. For many years during the postwar Golden Age, he was a marginal outsider, his seemingly extreme ideas shunned by those who believed that some quasi-Keynesian fine-tuning had perfected capitalism. He kept working, however, to challenge the underlying assumptions of that postwar economic establishment, and flesh out his aggressive pro-business alternative. He was motivated by faith that when a moment of crisis arrived, he would have a complete alternative program to present and implement… Tragically, the first appropriate crisis was the military coup and CIA intervention in Chile in 1973, which overthrew the elected socialist government of Salvador Allende; Chile thus became the first country in the world to experiment with full-on neoliberal economics (imposed, in this case, alongside the assassination and imprisonment of tens of thousands of socialists). Soon Friedman’s program was being adopted in countries around the world.

      Progressives need our own alternative program, fleshed out and ready to go, and a similar willingness to think big. And where possible, we should start implementing it: with concrete experiments in non-profit ownership, production, and governance, supplemented by complementary macroeconomic, labour market, and environmental policies. That way, the next time a crisis hits capitalism (and that will happen, potentially sooner than later), we will have an alternative vision ready to go. We didn’t have one during the 2008-09 global financial crisis, and that permitted capitalism to emerge from that crisis politically stronger than it went in. Unlike Friedman, of course, we dream of a humane, egalitarian, and sustainable economy. But we should be at least as ambitious as he was, and we should get ready to make our dream a reality.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Required reading. ( )
1 vote micahammon | Dec 19, 2020 |
Too many errors. High school history plus some bad bits - a REAL limited hangout.

Many incorrect claims, without discussion, reference or proof. Such as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor being a surprise, despite the intercepted cables - except for one - being in the public domain.

And repeats the state's moronic propaganda line on 9/11.

A waste of time. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
Oliver Stone, ganador de un Óscar de la Academia, y el historiador Peter Kuznick nos desvelan la otra cara de la historia de Estados Unidos analizando los grandes acontecimientos que desde la Guerra de Secesión y hasta la actualidad han marcado el «siglo americano» a través de un prisma crítico y constructivo. El resultado es un libro que cuestiona el discurso oficial transmitido dentro y fuera de las fronteras de la superpotencia —centrándose en los errores porque los grandes aciertos ya han sido glorificados— que han marcado la historia de Estados Unidos y, por tanto, del mundo.

La Primera Guerra Mundial, el New Deal, la bomba atómica, el asesinato de Kennedy, la carrera armamentística de Reagan, el 11-S, la llegada de Obama al poder… son solo algunos de los importantes hitos que los autores revisitan y examinan. Porque tal y como ellos mismos afirman en la introducción: «Somos esclavos de nuestra concepción del pasado y rara vez nos damos cuenta de hasta qué punto esa forma de entender la historia determina nuestro comportamiento aquí y ahora. La comprensión de la historia define nuestra idea de lo concebible, de lo realizable».
  bibliest | Jan 18, 2017 |
A must read to unbrainwash yourself ( )
1 vote Daudim | Dec 21, 2016 |
In one word HORRIFYING.

Even if this book is only 50% true it is still horrifying.

How a nation who has set itself up as the keeper of the peace and the saviour of smaller nations can have caused the deaths and hardships to all these people. All the time we were reading the news, but did not know the news behind the news.

The biggest tragedy is the last chapter about Barak Obama who was elected with the hope of the people that the US would cease sending their young men to die in war, but he is powerless against the moneymakers who really run the country.

Read this book and weep... ( )
2 vote lesleynicol | Jul 4, 2014 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
In his error-riddled review of our Untold History of the United States book and ten-part Showtime documentary film series, Sean Wilentz accuses us of “cherry-picking,” a pejorative term for selecting which facts to include and which to exclude from one’s narrative. This, at least, is a process with which Wilentz is quite familiar.

On January 28, Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator of Guatemala, was indicted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his brutal 1980s massacres of Guatemalan peasants. In December 1982, in the village of Dos Erres, the Guatemalan army slaughtered 160 people, swinging sixty-five children by their feet and smashing their heads against the rocks. Just the previous day, Ronald Reagan had complained that Ríos Montt had gotten a “bum rap” and told reporters the general was “totally committed to democracy.” Reagan called him “a man of great personal integrity and commitment.” This story appears nowhere in Wilentz’s 2008 book The Age of Reagan, a book that Reagan admirer Ron Radosh lavished with praise. Wilentz, like all historians, chooses facts that support his theses, as he did in this review.

We state clearly our biases, writing in our introduction:

We don’t try to tell all of US history…. We don’t focus extensively on many of the things the United States has done right. There are libraries full of books dedicated to that purpose…. We are more concerned with focusing a spotlight on what the United States has done wrong—the ways in which we believe the country has betrayed its mission—with the faith that there is still time to correct those errors as we move forward into the twenty-first century.

Wilentz takes umbrage at our laudatory treatment of Henry Wallace, who, between 1944 and 1947, tried to avert the cold war and nuclear arms race. He provides a fanciful account of Wallace’s supporters trying to “stampede the [1944] convention,” which the party bosses thought they had tightly controlled. He dismisses our “thinly sourced” account of that history-changing night, though we have read dozens of contemporary accounts and memoirs while he relies on two questionable secondary works. He ignorantly trumpets the party bosses’ claim that Wallace was “a major political liability for FDR,” ignoring the Gallup Poll released on the convention’s opening day showing that 65 percent of Democratic voters wanted Wallace back on the ticket as vice-president and 2 percent supported Truman. Reading Wilentz one would never know that the bosses spent months trying to convince an ailing FDR to dump Wallace, an effort that corrupt party treasurer Edwin Pauley proudly labeled “Pauley’s coup” and one vigorously opposed by Eleanor and all the Roosevelt children.

As president, Wallace would almost certainly have prevented the atomic bombing of Japan and done everything he could to maintain the postwar alliance with the Soviet Union. Wilentz defends the atomic bombings, ignoring the fact that six of America’s five-star admirals and generals who earned their fifth star during the war said the bombings were militarily unnecessary, morally reprehensible, or both. Wilentz makes much of Wallace’s 1952 recantation of some of his post-1947 views in an atmosphere marked by withering attacks on Wallace’s patriotism, McCarthyism, the Korean War, Stalinist repression in Eastern Europe, and the complete collapse of the American left, a world far different than that of 1944 and one that a Wallace presidency may have been able to avert. He incorrectly accuses us of ignoring Wallace’s reversal despite the fact that we highlight this in Episode 3 of the documentary. He claims we are wrong to attribute Truman’s 1948 civil rights advocacy to Wallace’s Progressive Party campaign, even though The Wall Street Journal wrote:

Mr. Wallace succeeded in having his ideas adopted, except in the field of foreign affairs. From the time that Mr. Wallace announced he would run for President, Mr. Truman began to suck the wind from Mr. Wallace’s sails by coming out for more and more of the Wallace domestic program.
 
Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s new book and accompanying ten-part televised documentary have a misleading title. Most if not all of the interpretations that they present in The Untold History of the United States—from the war in the Philippines to the one in Afghanistan—have appeared in revisionist histories of American foreign policy written over the last fifty years. Challenged by early reviewers, Stone and Kuznick have essentially conceded the point about their sources and claimed that what they call the “revisionist narrative” that informs their book has in truth become “the dominant narrative among university-based historians.”

The real problem, they say, is that this revisionism has yet to penetrate the public schools, the mainstream media, and “those parts of America that cling to the notion of American exceptionalism.” Their version of history may not be untold, but “it has been almost entirely ‘unlearned.’” And so what originally sounded like a startling account of a hidden history is in fact largely a recapitulation and popularization of a particular stream of academic work, in a book that would more properly be called The Unlearned History of the United States—if the scholarship and the authors’ reworking of it were thorough, factually accurate, and historically convincing.

Stone and Kuznick devote themselves almost entirely to America’s role in world affairs since 1900 and particularly since 1939. Their basic aim is to describe the nation’s malevolent seizure of global supremacy during and after World War II, and its imperial exploits through the first term of Barack Obama’s presidency. It is largely a tale of great men—good and bad. By the 1920s, the democratic republic of Jefferson, Lincoln, Whitman, and the youthful William Jennings Bryan “had ceased to exist,” and been replaced by an America whose “unique mixture of idealism, militarism, avarice, and realpolitik propelled [it] toward becoming a world power.”

The paradoxical but bad Woodrow Wilson promised to spread democracy and end colonialism, but his policies undermined the first and advanced the second. He spouted high-minded rhetoric while bankers and munitions manufacturers dragged the country under false pretenses into World War I. Wilson’s subsequent ineptness about the World War I settlement and the League of Nations fostered an abiding skepticism about international involvement that disastrously slowed America’s response to the threat of Germany, Italy, and Japan in the 1930s.

Led by the good Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States eventually enlisted against fascism and gained what Stone and Kuznick call “an opportunity to reclaim some of that democratic, egalitarian heritage on which its earlier greatness and moral leadership had rested.” But the nation squandered the opportunity by needlessly dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and instigating a vicious cold war with the Soviet Union. The calamitous turning point came in 1944 and 1945, when Harry Truman (very bad) ascended to the vice-presidency and, after FDR’s death, to the presidency. Caricatured by Stone and Kuznick as a neurotic, corrupt, racist demagogue, Truman made all of the wrong decisions.
 

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This book and the documentary film series it is based on challenge the basic narrative of U.S. history that most Americans have been taught. That popular and somewhat mythic view, carefully filtered through the prism of American altruism, benevolence, magnanimity, exceptionalism, and devotion to liberty and justice, is introduced in early childhood, reinforced throughout primary and secondary education, and retold so often that it becomes part of the air that Americans breathe. It is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story. It may convince those who don’t probe too deeply, but like the real air Americans breathe, it is ultimately harmful, noxious, polluted. It not only renders Americans incapable of understanding the way much of the rest of the world looks at the United States, it leaves them unable to act effectively to change the world for the better. For Americans, like people everywhere, are in thrall to their visions of the past, rarely realizing the extent to which their understanding of history shapes behavior in the here and now. Historical understanding defines people’s very sense of what is thinkable and achievable. As a result, many have lost the ability to imagine a world that is substantially different from and better than what exists today.
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That Obama refuses to trumpet the notion that the United States is history’s gift to humanity has become an article of faith among Republican leaders who, knowing that 58 percent of Americans believe that “God has granted America a special role in human history,” have opportunistically used Obama’s less-than-full-throated assent to bludgeon him. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee charged that Obama's “worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we’ve had. . . . He grew up more as a globalist than an American. To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.”
Historians have long since discredited the myth that revulsion caused by the war and European entanglements plunged the United States into isolationism in the 1920s. In fact, World War I marked the end of European dominance and the ascendancy of the United States and Japan, the war’s two real victors. The twenties saw a rapid expansion of American business and finance around the globe. New York replaced London as the center of world finance. The era of U.S. domination of the world economy had now begun. Among the leaders in this effort were the oil companies.
In fact, Harding and his Republican successors made more friends among U.S. bankers than among the inhabitants of those little republics. In May 1922, The Nation reported, revolutionaries sparked an uprising against “Brown Bros.’ extremely unpopular President of Nicaragua.” When the revolutionaries captured a fort overlooking the capital, the U.S. marine commander simply alerted them that he would use artillery if they didn't relinquish control. The Nation saw this as typical of what was happening throughout Latin America, where U.S. bankers ruled through puppet governments backed up by U.S. troops. The magazine inveighed against this deplorable situation:
    There are, or were, twenty independent republics to the south of us. Five at least—Cuba, Panama, Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Nicaragua—have already been reduced to the status of colonies with at most a degree of rather fictitious self-government. Four more—Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Peru—appear to be in process of reduction to the same status. Mr. Hughes is not treating Mexico as a sovereign, independent state. How far is this to go?... Is the United States to create a great empire in this hemisphere—an empire over which Congress and the American people exercise no authority, an empire ruled by a group of Wall Street bankers at whose disposal the State and Navy Departments graciously place their resources? These are the questions which the people, the plain people whose sons die of tropic fever or of a patriot’s bullet, have a right to ask.
By the early 1920s, the America of Jefferson, Lincoln, Whitman, and the young William Jennings Bryan had ceased to exist. It had been replaced by the world of Mckinley, Teddy Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover, and Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s failures, in many ways, provide a fitting capstone to a period in which the United States' unique mixture of idealism, militarism, avarice, and realpolitik propelled the nation toward becoming a world power. Wilson proclaimed, “America is the only idealistic nation in the world” and acted as if he believed it were true. He hoped to spread democracy, end colonialism, and transform the world. His record is much less positive. While supporting self-determination and opposing formal empire, he intervened repeatedly in other nations’ internal affairs, including Russia, Mexico, and throughout Central America. While encouraging reform, he maintained a deep mistrust of the kind of fundamental, and at times revolutionary, change that would actually improve people’s lives. While championing social justice, he believed that property right were sacrosanct and must never be infringed upon. Though endorsing human brotherhood, he believed that nonwhites were inferior and resegregated the federal government. While extolling democracy and the rule of law, he oversaw egregious abuses of civil liberties. While condemning imperialism, he sanctioned the maintenance of the global imperial order. And while proclaiming a just, nonpunitive peace, he acquiesced in a harsh, retributive peace that inadvertently helped create the preconditions for the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. Wilson’s stunningly inept performance at Versailles and his combative intransigence upon his return home contributed to Senate defeat of the treaty and the League.

Thus the war would have consequences that went far beyond the horrors on the battlefield. The United States never joined the League of Nations, rendering that body impotent in the face of Fascist aggression in the 1930s. Revelations that the United States had entered the First World War on false pretenses, while bankers and munitions manufacturers—later labeled “merchants of death”—had raked in huge profits, created widespread skepticism about foreign involvements at a time when the United States needed to contend with a real “axis of evil”: Germany, Italy, and Japan. By the time the United States acted, it was much too late. The necessity of finally combating fascism would, however, afford the United States an opportunity to reclaim some of that democratic, egalitarian heritage on which its earlier greatness and moral leadership had rested. And, though late in entering World War II, the United States provided crucial assistance in defeating Europe’s fascists and played the decisive role in defeating Japan’s militarists. But by setting off the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the war, the United States, once again, proved itself unready to provide the kind of leadership a desperate world cried out for.
The results seemed to justify that description. While the United States and the rest of the capitalist world plunged deeper into depression, the Soviet economy appeared to be booming. In early 1931, the Christian Science Monitor reported that not only was the Soviet Union the only country to have escaped the Depression, its industrial production had jumped an astronomical 25 percent the previous year. In late 1931, The Nation’s Moscow correspondent described the Soviet frontier as “a charmed circle which the world economic crisis cannot cross. . . . While banks crash . . . abroad, the Soviet Union continues in an orgy of construction and national development.” The Nation could be dismissed as a liberal publication, but similar reports in Barron’s, Business Week, and the New York Times were harder to disregard. As the U.S. unemployment rate approached 25 percent, a Times report that the Soviet Union intended to hire foreign workers caused desperate jobless Americans to stampede Soviet offices in the United States. Despite official Soviet disclaimers, Business Week reported that the Soviets planned to import 6,000 Americans and that 100,000 had applied. Soviet society seemed to be undergoing an incredible transformation from agrarian backwardness to industrial modernization before people’s eyes.
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A companion to the ten-part documentary series outlines provocative arguments against official American historical records to reveal the origins of conservatism and the obstacles to progressive change.

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