Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
125
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£7.39+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 24 January 2014
I have been lied to my who life. That's how it feels after reading this book. I thought I was fairly aware of the fact that successive American governments in my life time, were not the good guys that they, and quite often the press, would have us believe. However in truth I had no idea how devastating American foreign policy was for the World. How many people have died, directly and indirectly, so that the Right Wing and American corporations can fulfil their agendas. How many democratically elected Governments around the World were deposed with support from the CIA, to be replaced by brutal regimes that tortured, murdered and robbed their own people, so that American corporations could monopolise industries there and the American government had a friendly regime they could deal with. Also it appears that increasingly the civil liberties of Americans themselves have been eroded away, and continue to be. Which clearly shows that this very small but inordinately powerful group of people care for nobody except themselves.

I hope the 99% protest that started with 'Occupy Wall Street' does not go away. It needs to keep pushing and protesting and voting so that there is a fundamental shift to who holds the power in the States.....because it isn't ordinary Americans.

A very well written book that gives you the facts to see clearly yourself what is really going on. More Americans need to read this or watch the TV series and not have the blind faith that many of them seem to have about their leaders.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 December 2014
I bought this book when it came out, being a fan of Stone’s. Platoon and Salvador are two of my favourite movies, and I liked one or two of his others as well.

However I only just got round to reading it and it made a hell of an impression. Some of it I already knew, but it filled in a lot of gaps, and most of all by offering a continuous narrative it provides continuity and perspective.

For instance, it is easier to understand why Carter and in a similar way Truman were liable to be seen as weak if you understand the pressurised situation they arrived in when first in post, if you have followed the events of the previous presidency. Apparently this syndrome was also important for Johnson who was terrified of being seen as weak, so much so that maybe he never really generated his own opinion about Vietnam, just did what he felt pressured into doing.

The theme of this book is to me that in the last hundred years the US government has constantly been pressured by the interests of its own multinational companies to protect their interests, and in most cases these interests have overwhelmed ethical considerations and caused the USA to subvert and destroy stable and democratic countries all over the world, often arranging military coups to substitute tyrants for democracy if it means the interests of US investment can be furthered. There are many quotes from US politicians boasting of their lack of concern for the native populations.

The authors are very savage on Woodrow Wilson, showing that his humanitarian “14 points” all about self-determination of nations were complete hogwash, and that he had no compunction about overruling any nation if it was in US interests to do so.

For me one of the most interesting points was about the development of nuclear weapons. I had tended to believe that the use of the bomb in Japan was that it ended the war maybe a year earlier than it otherwise would have. Stone and Kuznick mount a convincing argument that this was not true. Japan were looking to surrender anyway, they just wanted assurances that their Emperor would not be deposed. The real reason for using the bomb was because Truman was new in post, felt out of his depth and wanted something to frighten the Russians with when he negotiated with them.

The only two presidents who come out well in this book are FDR and JFK. Roosevelt comes across as a truly remarkable man who at various points insisted on prioritising an ethical point of view against one of economic or political advantage.

JFK is drawn as a man just hitting his stride and developing a determination to withdraw from Vietnam and beginning to question a lot of the USA’s cruel colonisation of Latin America in the months before his death.

I am not quite convinced about the narrative on the cold war in this book. The chapter on Truman invites us to conclude that actually the Russians were really quite nice guys with only self defence in mind and the cold war was actually quite unnecessary and down to US paranoia. Well I have read several biographies of Stalin and I don’t quite buy this view. Stalin sets the bar for ruthlessness in 20th century politics, and wanted to spread communism – if possible – as much as the US wanted to spread their version of democracy. Having said that there is no argument but that the US overreacted and also that there were many situations where the Russians would have been happy to play ball with peace initiatives.

Eisenhower is the man although often now remembered for his speech at the end of his career as president warning about the dangers of the military industrial complex who actually did more than anyone to develop this complex, expanding military expenditure and American military adventurism exponentially.

The most horrific thing in this book for me however is the role of the CIA. There are innumerable occasions through many decades when the fundamental role of the CIA seems to have been to covertly destroy stable democratic countries and install tyrannical murderous leaders who have been bribed to protect US interests. They did this not once or twice but many many times – Guatemala, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Chile, Iran, Iraq, and many other countries. Funny way of exporting democracy.

If you are interested in the politics of the USA this book is not to be missed.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 October 2015
A gargantuan (600 pages, tiny text) revealing what we all know about American government. Very well written and researched, it can become very dense but this is merely due to the repetitiveness of presidents going into other country's toppling their governments, replacing it with a dictatorship, 20 years later USA quell the civil war and put someone worse in charge of the country. Its very Oliver Stone.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 January 2014
This is a good book to read and is written better than so many American books. It gives a good overview of the backstory to many historical events and probably should be read alongside some of Anthony C Sutton's monographs for added detail.

It is a story of an American Republic corrupted by the world in reality corrupted by its obsessive-compulsion to direct the world. The destruction of the British Empire and the access US corporations gained to raw materials from that empire spawned a global race for oil and minerals which in recent years has reached into the backyard of the Soviet Union and a new Great Game.

The book is especially weak on European inputs. The role of Harold Macmillan, British PM in liaising between Kennedy and Khrushchev is ignored. Likewise the fact that the US cut off the British from nuclear technology with the McMahon Act and forced the 1945 Labour Government to build its own atomic bomb and the Conservatives to have Penney build a hydrogen bomb.

The key aspects of The Mackinder Plan are not discussed which is the reason the US needs control of Europe through Occupation or Missile Defence

Otherwise good
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is the truth about the history of the USA since WW1 and not what you have read in your schoolbooks or the main stream media in the US and Great Britain. The important points are all extensively referenced. However the deaths of John F. Kennedy, his younger brother and Martin Luther King are pretty much jumped over - no place for the true history there. Nevertheless, the book is the by far the best book I have read on the subject.
Greetings from David Johnson in Copenhagen
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 January 2013
Having spotted this book in my recommendations and being a huge fan of Oliver Stone, I decided to give it a go. My main worry before reading this book is that Mr Stone would use this platform to hype his movies - he doesn't.

What you get here is a complex story with characters that we all know but don't necessarily love, along with characters on the margin of history. Some of these characters are long dead but continue to exert influence decades later in the form of foreign policy and the debt they have heaped onto America and the world as a whole.

Of particular interest is the way atomic weapons have been used in the way a mafia hitman would wield a .38.

Not the easiest of reads but one I don't regret and will be buying copies for friends/family.
0Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 December 2013
This is a heavy read despite being endorsed by Oliver Stone...It is not the content that is at fault but be prepared for an avalanche of facts and quite alarming hidden truths that we all suspect but dare not admit...It leaves an impression that if the American Governments of post 1945 through to Bush jnr had taken a differing stance then possibly the world may have been a better place for especially their own citizens...then again we will never know and can only gauge it on what we know and what has occurred. Good or bad this is a fine read despite leaving a slight anti American overtone one should remain objective and subjective and also view America for its contribution to the world....Afterall, what government is squeaky clean??...Lastly, despite the obvious JFK stories that are popular, I was left thinking that he was a greater man than I first thought. If Nikita Khruschkev was devasted at the death of Kennedy then it speaks volumes of the regard they had for each other....
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 March 2015
It shows that the land of the free was not always free i.e. those who protested against USA joining her allies in the First World War. They imprisoned protestors for merely giving their point of view which was against the war.

At times the book went off the rails a bit as it got bogged down with too much detail and the mundane side of American politics.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 October 2013
This book has changed for ever my perception of the USA, and I find myself aghast at having to realize that I have been so ignorant of this country that has prided itself as the "leader of the West". By now knowledgeable readers realize that there are far better countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world with an overall better level of education, housing, medical care, nutrition and infant mortality rates than in the supposedly richest country in the world. The reason being, of course, that they spend all their money on arms and warfare, and corrupting governments to promote USA corporations and business interests with their so-called "aid".

What is especially sickening is their ideé fixé that there is something so divinely special about them that they can enter any country of their will to bring "made in the USA democracy" from the barrel of a gun, and still wonder why they are the most hated nation on earth.

This book should be made compulsory reading in American schools so that young people can reflect on the legacy of USA foreign policy in the world at large.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 January 2014
I'm listening to the audio version. Fantastic. It is a great 'read' but I meant fantastic in the sense that I can hardly believe the levels of incompetence, corruption and downright lieing to the public by US leaders that this book reveals. Quite extraordinary how close we have come to global destruction it seems. The money spent, the futility, the millions of deaths - all heart breaking.
Where could we all be if the US had been led by wiser, more honest and more peaceable folk you find yourself asking.
The introduction does make the point that the authors are not attempting to provide BBC style 'balance' in their analysis. And they certainly don't! (I do wonder what the reviews in the US were for this book?)
I would love to read a UK version. I suspect much the same story but with different players would be told.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse