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War is a Racket: The Profit Motive Behind Warfare Paperback – 13 Apr 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 28 pages
  • Publisher: World Library Classics (13 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434407004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434407009
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940), nicknamed "The Fighting Quaker" and "Old Gimlet Eye," was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. By the end of his career he had received 16 medals, five of which were for heroism. He is one of 19 people to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.


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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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I bought this book, having borrowed it already, but I couldn't say no for £2.75
I'd recommend anyone interested in the content of this book to search Youtube for a recent documentary - Iraq For Sale. It features interviews with US troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, with contractors and with former employees of Halliburton.
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Not only does the author have more experience and knowledge on the topic than many other people, but he also proposes a solution instead of simply criticizing.

After reading it friends and family have read it and praised it too. A very easy way to spread some ideas because of it's "friendly" size.

The "book" is based upon a speech which was then built upon to make an article for Readers Digest.

Do not let anything put you off this masterpiece about war. It is however short (around 20 pages but fairly compact text so a lot of words) and it is very poorly edited. It appears like the original was scanned with word recognition software and then was never edited. Because many times words are joined together! Quite shocking level of professionalism considering amazon print this little book themself and it would hardly take much time for an editor or below average reader to circle these obvious mistakes. I paid £2.99 with free post from amazon and this was a fair price, I am shocked to see higher prices for other prints of this considering the compact size.
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Got the book today and took me less then an hour to read it, i have never read a book/speech this powerful and so much information in just 20 pages.

When you read it, its like things have not changed, except we now look more modern, but basically we have not changed a bit in that regard.

If it was unto me every child will have to read this and then write a extensive paper on it so the words are locked in the brain, i think it would change the world dramatically.

This is going onto my " important" book shelf.

For anybody who loves history and politics this is a must have.
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War is A Racket was first published in 1935. The author, Smedley D. Butler, a retired major general in the US Marine Corps, draws on his experience of warfare to compare and contrast the lot of the poor ordinary soldier; whose role is to do and die; and those with commercial interests who do very nicely from the supply of military hardware and essential supplies to sustain conflict. He argues that if these were nationalised so that big profits could not be made by individuals and companies the threat of war would recede dramatically.
One has only to look at the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to see that Vice President Cheney had been previously heavily associated with Halliburton, a US company that was awarded major contracts for the redevelopment of Iraq in the aftermath of the war to see that what was true then is just as true today. We need more Smedley D. Butlers.
The book is quite short and easily readable in half and hour.
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Aug. 2013
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This should be a staple for all kids and those who want to be week end warriors. The General was far from being a Marxist as he was a Fascist - a decorated war hero who had helped quell many an uprising, undertaken invasions and sent his troops over the top.

In this opus he sits back and ponders on the meaning of it all. The medals were really buttons that were handed out to young men in exchange for their lives. In this book he explicitly states it is better to be alive.

Then he tots up the costs - who made the money from WW1 and all the other adventures. It was not the troops but the men who stayed behind - people like Sheldon Bush who garnered the contracts for the Remington and all the other profiteers. Suddenly the world becomes clear when you read his tome. No longer conspiracy, he just speaks the truth as he sees it.

The author is a man who was asked to lead the coup against Roosevelt by the big beasts - Du Pont, Ford, Morgan etc and eventually blew the whistle. Guess what nothing happened.

In fact Roosevelt's hands were so tied he could not even stop Ford and Du Pont for building machinery for the Nazis right up until 1944 and everything afterwards was hushed.

So if you want a piece of the truth from someone who oversaw its manufacture and got tired of the pretence then this book is for you.
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this VERSION of the book is only 20 pages. the original version holds 52….

a LOT of information is missing from this version of the book. and it is very poorly edited together.
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A heart-felt condemnation by a much-decorated (retired) general of the USA's WW1 (& after) military racketeering. Butler pulls no punches in contrasting the USA-Government's endowments to the rich against the sacrifice in blood & lives & life-savings of its poorer subjects. Whilst being respectful of the soldiers themselves & their backing population, he launches an attack against the meretricious system which controls & uses them. It's quite short, very readable, cogent, & sincere.

The matter is still relevant today (Sept-2014), since one contributory explanation of the USA-Government's continuous-&-continuing wars-&-aggressions is the need by their massive military-system to justify its squanderous expense - all those admirals & generals & their suppliers require a visible reason for their salaries & pensions & contract-payments, and war ('involvements', in modern militalk) can so-serve ... even 'cold' war (eg. propaganda-based aggression against Russia, all that 'oooh, that Russia !' stuff that's currently erupting like an Icelandic volcano) helps the port-decanter of public funding to move in the 'right' direction.

One star dropped because, although Butler makes his case well (that there actually *is* a racket), he doesn't delve deeply into its mechanics - he gives the impression to me that he thinks it's all down to just opportunist profiteering by Big Business. To me, this overlooks much else - the politicos (Presidents wanting to Winstonise themselves as The Great War-Leader &/or as an election tactic), rancid 'other-people' hatred by the population, the military's pork-barrel budget-grazing, the population's acceptance (even craving) for aggression to define what they are by how they fight, & so-on ...
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