Synopses & Reviews
The companion to the Showtime documentary series, director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick challenge the prevailing orthodoxies of traditional history books in this thoroughly researched and rigorously analyzed look at the dark side of American history.
“At last the world knows America as the savior of the world!” — Woodrow Wilson
The notion of American exceptionalism, dating back to John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon aboard the Arbella, 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.
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 readers 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 U.S. 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 twenty-first century. Their conclusions will challenge even experts, but there is one question only readers can answer: Is it too late for America to change?
“Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick provide a critical overview of US foreign policy during the past few decades. There is much here to reflect upon. Such a perspective is indispensable…At stake is whether the United States will choose to be the policeman of a “Pax Americana,” which is a recipe for disaster, or partner with other nations on the way to a safer, more just and sustainable future.”
“A brave revisionist study which shatters many foreign policy myths… the Stone-Kuznick team grapples with the unsavory legacy of American militarism. . . . Make room on your book shelf for this compelling leftist primer.”
"Howard [Zinn] would have loved this ‘people’s history’ of the American Empire. It's compulsive reading: brilliant, a masterpiece!”
“Finally, a book with the guts to challenge the accepted narrative of recent American history… This is the 'Washington didn't really chop down the cherry tree' book for our last hundred years."
"Kuznick and Stone's Untold History is the most important historical narrative of this century." Martin Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of American Prometheus
"By casting a spotlight on the shadier aspects of America's past, as well as the humane alternatives, Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick provide a thought-provoking rebuttal to the nationalist myths that are far too often served up as history. They remind us that, until Americans have the courage to confront reality, they will remain trapped by their illusions." Lawrence Wittner, author of One World or None: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement Through 1953
This companion to the documentary will unearth the truth behind historical events, using recently-discovered archives and newly declassified material.
A companion to Oliver Stone's ten-part Showtime documentary series in the tradition of Howard Zinn's Peoples History of the United States
, this cutting-edge and provocative book challenges the status quo of American history.
Multiple Academy Award-winner Oliver Stone (once called “Dostoevsky behind a camera”) has directed such iconic movies as Platoon, Wall Street, JFK, Natural Born Killers, and W and is known for his often controversial point of view and probing exploration of weighty historical and political topics. Now, Stone collaborates with esteemed American University professor Peter Kuznick to present our countrys “secret history,” one that has been unearthed through recently discovered archives and newly declassified material.
Filled with poignant photos and little-known historical facts, this book covers the rise of the American Empire and national security state from the late nineteenth century through the Obama administration, revealing how deeply rooted the seemingly aberrant policies of the Bush-Cheney administration are in the nations past — and why it has proven so difficult for President Obama to significantly change course.
By discerning patterns that have previously gone unrecognized and examining the most recently released classified documents, Stone and Kuznick challenge prevailing orthodoxies and ask questions not normally raised. The result is not the kind of history taught in schools or represented on television or in popular movies, and it will come as a surprise to the vast majority of American and global citizens, shocking and astounding both experts and history-lovers alike.
A companion to Oliver Stone’s ten-part documentary series, The Untold History of The United States
unearths the truth behind historical events, using recently discovered archives and newly declassified material. When they refer to “untold history,” Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick mean history that should have been but hasn’t previously been readily available to the vast majority of citizens in the United States and elsewhere. Now they reveal the latest archival findings that challenge prevailing orthodoxies and asks questions not normally raised. By discerning patterns that have previously gone unrecognized and examining the most recently released declassified documents, a new picture begins to form. This is not the kind of history taught in schools or normally presented on television or in popular movies.
Complete with poignant photos, arresting illustrations, and little-known documents, this book covers the rise of the American Empire and national security state from the late nineteenth century through the Obama administration, showing how deeply rooted in the nation’s past the seemingly aberrant policies of the Bush-Cheney administration are and why it has proven so difficult for Obama to significantly change course. By analyzing and drawing conclusions about the past, the authors have discovered patterns and connections that will challenge and excite experts and history lovers.
About the Author
Oliver Stone has won numerous Academy Awards for his work on such iconic films as Platoon, Wall Street, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, Salvador, and W. Peter Kuznick is a professor of history and director of the award-winning Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and is currently serving his third term as distinguished lecturer with the Organization of American Historians. He has written extensively about science and politics, nuclear history, and Cold War culture.