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 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 US 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.
· US-funded Islamist fundamentalists, who
fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, have blown back to threaten the
interests of the US and its allies.
· US 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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