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The Untold History of the United States

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  1,589 Ratings  ·  185 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.


In this riveting companion to their astonishing documentary series, whi
Paperback, 784 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Gallery Books (first published October 30th 2012)
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Jeff The time frame is different than the Zinn book. I also feel that much of this book isn't as radical of an interpretation as Zinn's work. I am only a…moreThe time frame is different than the Zinn book. I also feel that much of this book isn't as radical of an interpretation as Zinn's work. I am only a 1/3 of the way through, so my opinion might change.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am very sure that I would normally take a very dim view of anyone who would review a book without having read it — I belong to an online recipe group, for example, and I am routinely incensed by people who will give a rating to a meal and say they are going to try it, which means they have not tried it yet and therefore have no idea what it actually tastes like. In this case, however, I have some idea, because I have had a taste. This is a 750-page book (including the bibliography and index) t ...more
Mahmoud Homsi
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I couldn't forget when the author said:
"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other religions were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do."
That sums up everything and truly makes sense..
Alastair Rosie
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
The Untold History of the United States
By Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick

Being raised in Australia, my late father instilled in us a love of America and all it stood for, freedom, democracy and above all, capitalism. He genuinely believed the ‘Communist domino’ would fall from Vietnam to Melbourne and the only nation that could prevent it were the noble Americans. I remember his rants against Russia and China, and had I not been a voracious reader, I may have followed his political leanings. But
I think the utility of this book lies in what it is not. It's not all-encompassing, but a history of the 20th Century. It's also not objective, but everyone knows that when he/she sees who wrote it. I don't know if it is more comprehensive than its companion TV series, because I don't have cable and probably won't see it. I can say that it does hold a satisfactory argument that US foreign policy in ther 20th Century would be better served by Realism than by Wilsonian liberalism. I think there ar ...more
First they stole the words, then they stole the meanings." George Orwell: 1984

Oliver Stone calls Trump 'a disaster'

Watch here
Frederick Gault
This is a worthwhile read. That being said, it was one of the most distressing and depressing books I've every read! We live in the Matrix. Most think America is a bastion of freedom and democracy. This is not at all the case. It is a story we tell ourselves. The facts show something very different.

I wanted to stab my self repeatedly in the eyes with a rusty screwdriver! My rage was towering. Spinal fluid leaked from my ears as I sputtered in impotent anger. Nixon was worse than I thought! How i
This was an incredible book! Although this is a bit of a tome, coming in at 615 pages, it was fast-paced and incredibly interesting - no, it was incredibly SHOCKING! The book moves chronologically from World War 1 to the Obama administration. The emphasis is usually on how each Administration reacted to the American Empire, which was initiated in 1898. Much of the material centers on the US-Soviet relationship and how there were numerous occasions that that relationship could have been vastly im ...more
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
cannot recommend highly enough.

if there were parts of american history that didn't quite make sense to you, this book will help in that regard. after all, how can you learn anything by just reading celebratory hagiographies?

much more interesting and comprehensive than the documentaries on showtime (although they are a good addition). i can see how the "fox nooz" type may not like this book, but it is certainly worth reading. the best i've read in a long time.

Jackie Glenn
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book enthralling. It provides an entirely different outlook on the past presidents and their times. It also left me extremely angry that most of the presidents and the people under them caused so much havoc in the world and at such terrible cost that could have been put to constructive use elsewhere - even to alleviate poverty in the United States. I think all Americans should read this book.
Tim Pendry

A health warning is due on this book. It is a polemic linked to a documentary. Usually that should be cause enough for caution but it is generally well written and researched, valuable as a corrective to the standard internal narrative about US foreign policy which is somewhat Pollyanna-ish.

Stone's propensity for conspiracy theory and a curious hagiography surrounding the John F. Kennedy who might have been (reflected briefly in this book) is corrected by a solid research team clearly under the
Kamil Salamah
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would start by saying it could also be titled:

" The Rise and Very Serious Highly Probable Impending Fall of the Empire of the Age: that has refused to recognize it's imperialistic designs". The Yale historian Paul Kennedy spelled it out;" From the time the first settlers arrived in Virginia from England and started moving westward, this was an IMPERIAL nation, a conquering nation."

What a great unraveling of a timeline of history's most POWERFUL EMPIRE ever; dwarfing all others that have come
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, dnf
Can't do it... I just can't finish reading THE UNTOLD (not really) HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.
Look, Oliver Stone is arguably my favorite film director, but, as a historian, his views are skewed by his unwavering devotion to a pro-socialist/anti-capitalist agenda. His simplistic tendency to blame everything on capitalists gets old after a while.
When comparing the "facts" in this book with conflicting information found in other historical accounts, Stone & Co. (to me, at least) always seem t
Tadas Talaikis
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book in one sentence:

"India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru publicly described U.S. leaders a “dangerous self-centered lunatics” who would “blow up any people or country who came in the way of their policy.” House of Commons Debate, fifth series, vol. 525

O.M.C., I almost went crazy posting so many U.S. crimes on my FB. The "funniest" thing is when "liberals" (Hillary Clinton) are back to back with war criminals, like Henry Kissinger. They're all f*cked up psychopaths, no wonder American p
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One thing can be said right away:
If you are an "America is the best ever" person, this book will be your nightmare.

However I do not quite understand why, since the authors don't really say so much new stuff actually, they simple put what was previously told in several books into one and especially Stone's name gave it wide attention. They have a lot in it that is technically known simply overshadowed by a lot of myths, which makes books like this one important. However I think covering such a lo
Josh Liller
This book was recommended to me, but I felt very reluctant to read it because Oliver Stone is synonymous with shoddy history. I don't equate Showtime with historical accuracy either (the cover bills this book as the companion to the Showtime documentary series). I decieded to start with the topic I knew best: the decision to use the atomic bombs against Japan.

Stone is clearly anti-bomb, but I feel he leans too heavily on Gar Alperovitz' "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture o
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very thought provoking book. Although at times the authors seem to deem that the democratic party was the only way to advance peaceful liberalism. They idolized Kennedy to some extent, and seemed to want to do the same thing with Obama. However, they were also realistic to the fact that the presidency from World War I through modern times has bent to the will of militarism and big corporations without seeming to care about the "little" guy. Overall a good read and an eye opener for thos ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Goes out of its way to be revisionist, and never leaves the boot not put in... Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Kissinger, the Reagan and Bush slam-dunks, Obama and Afghanistan - none are spared, and it's entertaining to read such a sustained case against them all, perhaps over a liberty sandwich and freedom fries. Now I need to go and read something else to get a more balanced view.
Мартин Касабов
Когато чух, че Оливър Стоун е написал книга, първо ми стана малко смешно, а след това се притесних, че още един голям творец ще започне да се излага, бутайки носа си там, където не му е мястото. Тогава си намерих 10-те епизода от документалната поредица (озаглавена по същия начин) и разбрах, че това е един добър проект, който представя действителността в...хм, нека го наречем-доста реалистична светлина.

Целта на Стоун и Кузник (който, струва ми се е свършил повечето работа тук) е да разбият илюз
Ben Everhart
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A comprehensive and thoughtful primer on the massive stranglehold the military industrial complex has on our modern world. This isn't a book laden with conspiracy theories or secret uncovered documents -- this is all heavily foot-noted, backed up and triple checked history that brings the reader from the early 20th century all the way into the Obama era. But the revelations within the pages are startling nonetheless: the economics of war have been driving the machine and the sad truth is that th ...more
Kieran Seán Fitzpatrick
Starts to get a little "opinion-ey" towards the 80's and 90's. As long as you read it with a grain of salt, it's a great critical-thinking counter point to the US history we (at least I) learned in school. Should be required high school reading.
Dee Halzack
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, though upsetting book. Some of it I knew, some I didn't.

Worth reading for anyone who wants to understand our relationship with Iran, Russia, Japan, and Latin America.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said publicly that U.S. leaders were “dangerous self-centered lunatics” who would “blow up any people or country who came in the way of their policy.”

This and other similar quotes in Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s seriously important history and analysis sums up well the foreign, imperialist policies of the United States, spanning the 20th century, up until today.

Its wars of aggression took off with the atomic bombing of Japan, causing the casualties and
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Americas is bad. Soviet Union was good. There were always progressives around with the correct policies, decisions, and ideas to save the U. S. from itself but, they were always ignored or shoved aside. That's the book in a couple of sentences. It is interesting reading.

Wish I had the dedication to research all the citations as I don't trust statements taken from their broader context.
When America sneezes, most of the Western world catches a cold. Across the pond here in England, this allusion is particularly magnified. Ever since the US entry into World War 2 our political, economic, military and cultural paths have been closely intertwined. This is best exemplified in the so-called 'special relationship' that exists between our two nations and was first heralded by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1946. Hence, the key American policy events of the 20th century and beyond ...more
Христо Блажев
Премълчаваната история на САЩ или как бе съградена и приватизирана една империя:
Режисьорът Оливър Стоун и историкът Питър Кузник (личното ми мнение е, че това е основно книга на втория) се съсредоточават изцяло в XX и малко от началото на XXI век. Разказът тече леко, без да задълбава и се съсредоточава изключително във фактологичната страна на нещата, без наличие на сериозни анализи. Заложено е силно на обрисуването на водещите исторически лица като хора
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have_ebook, 2016
This is a long and very depressing read. Not sure why some people find it fascinating.
Long list of war crimes and human suffering. Apparently not many american presidents in 20th century can claim to be not responsible for that.

The book is clearly biased and it's assumed that you know "told history of the united stated" where brave GI Joes save the world from bloody dictators and bring freedom to all countries across the globe.
So don't expect to hear all the facts and all the truths from all t
Elliot Cosubei
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How does one get one's head around all of this?
I love the experience of having the countless myths in my mind debunked.
I grew up pummeled with all the jingoistic rah-rah.
The sixties shattered much of that crap.
The eighties shattered much of the social awareness of the sixties.
That the United States is an evil empire of rapacious oligarchs has certainly become more and more clear.
Global media technology has advanced to the point where we can see almost everything going on on the planet at any ti
gLawrence Baumgartner
Oliver Stone is becoming for me a replacement for the late Gore Vidal. His unvarnished presentation of American history is fascinating. This is not the stuff we learned in school and the more you read, the more disgusted you become of our international policies. That axiom of "perpetual war for perpetual peace" is becoming more and more evident to me. I just do not understand how we as a people let the rich control our lives and the destiny of our country so much. Maybe Gore was right all along, ...more
Chad Bunch
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Stone has provided us with one of the best nonfiction and history books ever. This lengthy tome doesn't strive to pander to any political party or government office. Mr. Stone reveals the truth behind everything from the United States' involvement in World War I to it's aggressive empire building in the Middle East. Mr. Stone does not pull any punches when he describes the actions of presidents Obama, Truman, Clinton, Reagan, and especially both Bushes.

This is not the history book you studi
Hugo De oliveira
Usually the history is writen by the winners. Its not the case of this book, that makes effort to show a different reality from the one we see in the newspapers, tv channels and many books about the USA history, specially the one concerning the confrontation between USA and USSR in the Cold War period, that could lead mankind to its destruction.
This book shows that there are not good guys nor bad guys, nor everything is black and white, but grey, like we think it is, and its also a good warning
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“Most American view World War II nostalgically as the "good war," in which the United States and its allies triumphed over German Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism. The rest of the world remembers it as the bloodiest war in human history. By the time it was over, more than 60 million people lay dead, including 27 million Russians, between 10 million and 20 million Chinese, 6 million Jews, 5.5 million Germans, 3 million non-Jewish Poles, 2.5 million Japanese, and 1.5 million Yugoslavs. Austria, Great Britain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, and the United States each counted between 250,000 and 333,000 dead.” 4 likes
“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other religions were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.” 3 likes
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