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The Untold History of the United States

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  793 ratings  ·  114 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 s
Paperback, 784 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Gallery Books (first published October 30th 2012)
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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
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
Alastair Rosie
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
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
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
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.

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
Kamil Salamah
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
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
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
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
Jackie Glenn
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.
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
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
Larry 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
Ben Everhart
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
Kent Hinckley
This enlightening book was well researched and revealed the unsavory and greedy side of our governmental and military leaders. This should be a primer for all high school history classes.
Belén Acosta
Un libro muy interesante sobre toda esa parte de la historia que no enseñan en las escuelas y no aparece en los medios. Lo leí porque primero vi la serie y la verdad que me gustaron ambos. Tariq Ali se ha convertido en un pensador muy interesante que llama mucho mi atención.

“Eran conquistadores, y eso lo único que requiere es fuerza bruta, nada de lo que pueda uno vanagloriarse cuando se posee, ya que la fuerza no es sino una casualidad nacida de la debilidad de los otros. Se apoderaban de todo
The interesting part of this book are the little known missteps by our government leaders. Oliver Stone has selected a large collection of quotes from primary sources to support his notion that the USA through the corruptive influence of corporations and their lording over politicians is culpable for two world wars, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Stone portrays the Soviet Union as misunderstood and having a genuine desire to eliminate nuclear weapons tha ...more
Anatoly v01
Всё-таки познакомился с Левацкой Черной Легендой на тему истории США. То есть мало того, что Стоун (и Кузник) с самого начала объявляют, что расскажут только "темные" эпизоды истории их отечества, так я-то ещё и "рассказанную историю США" плохо себе представляю, я же не американец.

Довольно поверхностное повествование. Например, обычно принято замечать, что Альенде в Чили и Моссадык в Иране тоже были ребята не сахар (хотя всё-таки получше Пиночета и какого-то шаха), но Стоун на такие мелочи
Shawn  Stone
A revisionist history by Oliver Stone was always destined to raise a skeptical eyebrow. No stranger to controversy, Stone's record as a historical dramatist, provocateur and conspiracy theorist has drawn the fire of debate throughout the years. This work fares no different, but it serves as both a wake up call and post-mortem of a superpower limping towards its inevitable demise. Kuznick and Stone excoriate the foreign and domestic policies of presidents from both sides of the political fence; p ...more
Dee Halzack
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.
"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
Oh it's a very complicated subject and thus the pages were packed chock full with details, quotes, literary snippets and pictures cataloguing all kinds of shady deals, dubious decisions and ill conceived plans made by american presidents throughout the last eighty or so years...

So it was quite an undertaking to work through all the collected hints and bits of evidence Stone and his co-author have put together and i went to face it one president at a time, spreading the reading out over several m
Scott Lupo
Another great read on U.S. history from WWI to today that you never learned or probably heard. Really great detail using quotes and documents. This book takes on the notion of American Exceptionalism and destroys it. Being taught and told that the U.S. is some benevolent, caring, altruistic country is just plain horseshit. Since WWI the U.S. has been steadily taking over the world through whatever means it deems necessary, including bloody covert operations, bald-faced lying, assaults on our own ...more
Worth the read.

Excellent, but disturbing, presentation of American history from the results of the Spanish-American War at the start of the 20th century through the first term of the Obama administration.

The book highlights lesser known issues, such as the US role in denying self-rule in the Phillipines and the turning of the island-nation into an American colony. Yes, the U.S. has had a physical empire with the Phillipines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, etc. And America continues to consider itself a p
David Cupples
Certain persons on the cultural/political scene have the temerity and audacity, nay the outright GALL, to dare to criticize the powers that be -- no matter what side of the political aisle, Left, Right, Center. People like Zinn and Noam Chomsky, scholars who study issues intensely before commenting, following solid research principles learned through years of study. Stone is more an armchair historian so it was wise that he team up with an accredited historian for this project in the person of M ...more
Paul Murray
"The Untold History of the United States," a collaboration between filmmaker Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick, yields a masterful account of U.S. political history and presents a perspective rarely seen in corporate media.

The book and associated TV documentary series follows the tenures of U.S. presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama and gives a critical account of their efficacy, decision making, policies, diplomacy and courage during their time in the world's top job.

No punches
Harry Brake
It is funny, looking at the self that was me before entering Mexico, and the self now after entering Mexico, I see a totally different me. Why? I actually have been lucky enough to have the gift of time. Time to reflect, time to think, time to introspect and time to see the things around me and make connections. I never had that ability in the states due to the amount of work I had to expend on my part to get by. Then I also saw the true issues behind immigration, and seeing how people in the st ...more
This book, it turns out, is a companion to a Showtime series by Stone and Kuznick. I want the DVDs. This is a well written and well researched book that explores the territory of US history sort of post Howard Zinn. Much of this I already knew. So the real value, to me, was being able to follow the threads of US treachery and lies into the Obama era. We are all familiar with the commonly accepted (hi)story: winning WW II, the Cold War, saving the world for democracy and so on. This book and tele ...more
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“According to Japanese scholar Yuki Tanaka, the United States firebombed over a hundred Japanese cities. Destruction reached 99.5 percent in the city of Toyama, driving Secretary of War Henry Stimson to tell Truman he "did not want to have the US get the reputation of outdoing Hitler in atrocities," though Stimson did almost nothing to halt the slaughter. He had managed to delude himself into believing Arnold's promise that he would limit "damage to civilians." Future Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, who was on LeMay's staff in 1945, agreed with his boss's comment that of the United States lost the war, they'd all be tried as war criminals and deserved to be convicted.
Hatred towards the Japanese ran so deep that almost no one objected to the mass slaughter of civilians.”
“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.” 2 likes
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