The Untold History of the United States

The Untold History of the United States

  • bestseller
  • freshman reading
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?
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  • Gallery Books | 
  • 784 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451613513 | 
  • October 2012
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Read an Excerpt

The Untold History of the United States Chapter 1 WORLD WAR I:
Wilson vs. Lenin



The election of 1912 found Woodrow Wilson, a former president of Princeton University and governor of New Jersey, in a hard-fought four-party race against two former presidents—Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft—and... see more

About the Authors

Oliver Stone
Photograph © Michael Segal Photography
Peter Kuznick
American University

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