The Untold History of the United States
By Oliver Stone & Peter Kuznick
Review by Richard Xu
The Untold History of the United States is a long, but well-written exposé on U.S. history centered around the idea that since World War II, American hegemony has had a pernicious effect on sovereign nations all throughout the world. It substantiates this claim by providing a detailed look at U.S. military interventions from the 1950s and onward, which included South America, Central America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and which almost always resulted in regime change through violent and/or covert means conducted by the CIA.
This 700 page book examines a cast of forgotten heroes in American history, figures such as former Secretary of Agriculture, Henry Wallace, former flag-bearer of the Socialist Party, Eugene V. Debs, and even former leader of Soviet Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev, all who denounced war as the answer and sought to promote peace as the only viable answer in a world with nuclear weapons.
Unafraid to question conventional beliefs about our collective past, authors Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, shine a critical light on generally well-respected figures, including presidents ranging from Truman to Obama. Did our nation have to drop the atomic bomb on Japan to end the war? Could we have avoided the Cuban Missile Crisis? Nuclear proliferation? Vietnam? The entire Cold War? Stone and Kuznick argue that these events could have very well have been avoided, if only the right choices were made at the right time.
This book ends on a hopeful note, that the United States can reverse course and become the nation that it ideally proclaims to be. However, it warns that without looking at our past critically, we will fall for the same traps that led us here in the first place. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in the slightest about American history and the world we live in today. I guarantee to you that it’s a pleasant read.
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About the reviewer: Richard Xu is a lover of jazz music, road biking, nonfiction books, and open source coding projects.
This review is part of Book Your Summer, our 2017 Adult Summer Reading program.