Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated” as Want to Read:
Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,481 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
The United States has been engaged in what the great historian Charles A. Beard called "perpetual war for perpetual peace." The Federation of American Scientists has cataloged nearly 200 military incursions since 1945 in which the United States has been the aggressor. In a series of penetrating and alarming essays, whose centerpiece is a commentary on the events of Septemb ...more
Paperback, 174 pages
Published April 10th 2002 by Nation Books (first published January 1st 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Clif
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gore Vidal was outraged when he wrote this book, as well he should have been. Anger can be a good thing in driving a person to take (peaceful) action, particularly to speak out as is our primary right as free people.

The style of writing used by Vidal shows he is indignant, and I can't find fault with his message, but the delivery grated on me. It's the reason I can't give the book five stars.

Though Vidal was undoubtedly writing as a result of 9/11, more of the content of the book is about Timoth
...more
Matthew W
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Gore Vidal really knows how to "cut the fat" when it comes to writing a book where every sentence is of importance and has some intrinsic value. In this compilation of essays, Vidal exposes how the criminals that run the USA government (with the help of the "free" media) have been fighting a "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace" since the end of World War II against contrived (and made up) enemies so that they can expand government and further enslave U.S. "citizens."

Vidal also dedicates a good pa
...more
Oceana2602
Mar 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: 2011, german, male-writers
This book was part of a bundle of books I bought on ebay, but even if I didn't choose to buy it, I was quite interested in reading it. A book that promised to take a critical look at the US' recent wars and the reasons for them seemed to be an interesting, and consequent, addition to the series of military and war-themed books I'd been reading recently.

Unfortunately, it wasn't.

I don't know anything about Gore Vidal except for what I read about him on Wikipedia, so I didn't really know what to ex
...more
Daryl
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I saw Gore Vidal talking about this book a while back and realized a good deal of what he is saying mirrored my own thoughts about our country and its government, in particular. I'd wager a lot of Americans feel the same way but we seem to have lost our voice and our willingness to question our government. A recent interview I saw with Studs Terkel on Phil Donhue's show commented directly on that very subject. He said he felt that until a major voice comes out and addresses an issue, we are pron ...more
C. Scott
Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I love Vidal's erudition and his intellectual fearlessness is inspiring. This book was ahead of its time, questioning the American government's tendency to trample constitutional liberties before the War on Terror even began.
Yana
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Гор Видал, както винаги, е блестящ. Ето защо:

“Въпреки че редовно заклеймяваме останалите държави като мошенически, ние самите сме се превърнали в най-големите мошеници. Не зачитаме мирните споразумения. Пренебрегваме международните съдилища. Нанасяме едностранни удари, където сварим. Даваме нареждания на ООН, но не плащаме членския си внос. Оплакваме се от тероризъм, но нашата империя понастоящем е най-големият терорист в света. Бомбардираме, нападаме, разрушаваме други държави. Въпреки че ние,
...more
David Haws
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vidal
The collection feels a little slap-dash, lacking the coherence I associate with Vidal’s work. First, American hubris doesn’t need to have its lily gilded (so to speak) and Vidal occasionally goes over the top. Let me give you two examples:

Responding to the Bush (43) critique of Islamic terrorist, “They hate our freedoms…our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other;” Vidal stir-fried his metaphors: “At that plangent moment what American’s gorge did not rise like a Florida chad to
...more
Ruth
May 23, 2010 rated it liked it
160 pages. Donated 2010 May.

The United States has been engaged in what the great historian Charles A. Beard called "perpetual war for perpetual peace." The Federation of American Scientists has cataloged nearly 200 military incursions since 1945 in which the United States has been the aggressor. In a series of penetrating and alarming essays, whose centerpiece is a commentary on the events of September 11, 2001 (deemed too controversial to publish in this country until now) Gore Vidal challenges
...more
Ross
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is not appropriate for the book, which is really just a collection of his essays from Vanity Fair in the late 90's. A lot of time is spent on Timothy McVeigh and his actions in Oklahoma City in '96. This is very engaging subject matter, however, it was the last thing I was expecting with the subtitle "How we got to be so hated". I would not recommend this book to those seeking to find the details of America's foreign policy blunders, of which there are many. Worth the read nonetheless, ...more
Sher
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It isn't enough to read this book and say it's interesting or eye-opening. I suspect that Vidal knew that much of what he wrote would be criticized as left-wing or un-American. But what he was telling us is far more patriotic than silence; he saw the loss of our freedoms as the death-knell of our democracy. There is nothing wrong with seeing what needs to be fixed about America and taking a stance in favor of fixing those things. We will not see Mr. Vidal's like again any time soon. He admired t ...more
Diz
Apr 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Vidal writes about the increase in the power of the police state in the U.S., among other topics. In particular he focuses on Waco and Ruby Ridge, and the Oklahoma City bombing that occurred after those incidents. His basic premise is that the increase in police power is damaging the fabric of American society, and that people shouldn't be surprised if this provokes violent responses. Overall, the book raises some interesting questions about the power structure in the United States, but at times ...more
Aldean
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: society
What a odd little book. I am not sure what to think about Gore Vidal of all people endorsing the conspiracy theory that Timothy McVeigh was framed for the Oklahoma City bombing, made a patsy for a government plot to consolidate the Clinton police state. Not that I don't find the theory completely plausible (I was raised on the fringes of the survivalist right, after all), but it seems like a very unusual place to encounter it.
Peter

Well written; knowledgeable and acerbically satirical.
A discussion of why America has enemies with particular focus on the FBI and ATF's abuse of the bill of rights during the Branch Davidian massacre and Timothy McVeigh and his motivations for the Oklahoma Bombing.
We all know that American Federal government adopts corrupt and immoral practices, Gore Vidal is in possession of the facts.
Josephus FromPlacitas
Tim McVeigh as martyr? Really, Gore?
David Sarkies
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Conspiracy theorists
Recommended to David by: Nobody really
Shelves: politics
A collection of essays on government control
19 June 2012

I have written about the concept of the perpetual war previously but I feel that this particular book does warrant a further exploration of the concept. Now I have not read many of Gore Vidal's books, and in fact I had never really heard of him until I found this book on the shelf in my local bookshelf. It is a very easy read and one can see that Vidal's style is quite good and easy to understand. He has actually written quite a lot of boo
...more
Sol-Anna
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gore Vidal's writing is full of passion and wit, which makes for an entertaining read. The use of language and phrasing is captivating and inspirational. Unfortunately apart from this there is little educational value to it. Vidal's views come across as shallow, bordering on the conspiratorial. The absurdity of some of his arguments alongside his relentless polemical tirade against the US government has to effect that the book comes off more as propaganda than an honest reflection on US policy.
Kym Robinson
I started this book with a bit of optimism and interest as this was the first Gore Vidal book that I had ever read. Outside of some of his articles and essays, this was my first actual Vidal book. So some excitement preceded the opening lines.

Soon after all of this anticipation I am still unsure as to whether I read an actual book. This instead felt like a collection of rants. Un-sourced and meandering at best. The book had some paragraphs which would lead on to other paragraphs with little rel
...more
Dave/Maggie Bean
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Not bad -- for a guy who's so far left; he can kiss his own arse.

As usual, Vidal is pithy, eloquent, persuasive -- and as full of shit as the Porta-Potti at a turnip-eating contest. Like Noam Chomsky, he labors under the curse of building sand castles of pinko bullshit atop profound and often painful truths.

Don't get me wrong -- I like and respect the man, for all that I disagree with him (and have never met him). Although "liberal," he's a stauncher defender of the Old Republic and the princip
...more
marcus miller
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
July 4th was an appropriate day to finish this book. According to Vidal the other important day to remember is February 27, 1947. This is the day "Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national-security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold and tepid."
In essays which verge on a rant filled with excellent vocabulary, Vidal argues the U.S. has become more and more of a police state as the government conducts wars against other countries, while fighting wars again
...more
Piker7977
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gore Vidal was not one to shy away from expressing his views regardless of how controversial and provocative they may have been. That is why I am drawn to his writings and musings. In Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Vidal points to militarism and countless operations as providing the inspiration for foreign and domestic terrorist attacks. At the heart of the book is Vidal's views on and correspondence with Timothy McVeigh. The reader encounters a smart individual who became disenchanted with t ...more
Wanda
Aug 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed in this book. It is not much more than some ramblingly annotated magazine articles, which themselves hardly shed light on anything. Perhaps a good editor could have worked it into something coherent.
There were occasional gems among the gibberish, such as the quoted comment by Bill Clinton that, "There is nothing patriotic about pretending you can love your country but despise your government."
Oh, yeah? I expect that there are millions of Americans of all political stripe
...more
Steve
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 2002 -- eight years before Citizens United -- the reader gets the idea very quickly that Gore Vidal was prescient. He connected a lot of dots to draw a very vivid and clear picture of the America we now live in -- eleven years before today. None of what we deal with in terms of eroding civil rights, dominance of the military industrial complex, and the surveillance state that engulfs America today would surprise him if he were still alive.

Vidal saw and wrote about "shredding of the
...more
Ben
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is very difficult to say that I enjoyed this book, although I infinitely respect those that incessantly question the propaganda that passionately fuels the ignorant. It is all too easy to point a finger and label a person, group, or country as "the bad guy"--the typical dark-skinned Disney villain that hates freedom and lurks in the darkness, waiting to devour all that America deems American. It was hard to get through a whole page without clenching my fists and cursing the blind nationalism ...more
Shaun Secaur
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Representative government of, by and for the people is now a faded memory. Only corporate America enjoys representation by the Congresses and presidents that it pays for in an arrangement where no one is entirely accountable because those who own the government own the media. Although we regularly stigmatize other societies as rogue states, we ourselves have become the largest rogue state of all. We honor no treaties. We spurn international courts. We strike unilaterally wherever we choose. We ...more
Ben Frey
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
The book was relatively interesting and short. It covers a few topics that try to give support to the theory our government is out of control, heading towards a nation solely run by the military. Compiled mostly out of various letters, essays, and news columns, it gives a lot of decent opinion and possibly a good starting point for those interested in researching the topic. Even though I know most of the things he covers are true, while reading it though I could not help but feel like I was read ...more
Justin Covey
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Sad to see just how far down the rabbit hole of conspiracy thinking Vidal fell in the later years. Especially because sprinkled throughout these essays are startlingly insightful points and revelations. I particularly liked his comment that if drugs didn't exist the government would have had to create them for it couldn't have asked for a better excuse for putting vast swaths of its own population on the wrong side, and thus the exploitable side, of the law. Unfortunately these moments are outnu ...more
Liam
Aug 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in modern america
It's quite a short book (160 pages, fairly large print). Per page not great value for money but that is no way to judge a book. Gore Vidal touches on why something like September 11th happened, why the Oklahoma bombing took place. America's foreign policy is raised as a potential cause of September 11. The war on terror then has it's toll on America itself with civil liberties being undermined. The questions raised re Timothy McVeigh are disturbing. America has problems with it's masters and the ...more
Robert
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very intriguing book - the majority of this book investigates the Oklahoma City bombings. As being personally invited by Timothy McVeigh to be witness to his execution, Gore Vidal has a certain unparalleled outlook on the subject. Mr. Vidal sheds light on a situation that was otherwise rather neatly reduced to being a crazy person's revenge for the federal attack on Waco. Fascinating to read an open conversation in the form of an essay regarding the 'why' of the bombings and to consider how the ...more
gLawrence Baumgartner
Re-read this quickie this past weekend (Mar 1, 2014) because nothing new on the stack. In the first section GV talks about the Middle East objectives and how we set ourselves up for the attack on 9/11 and in the second section clarifies his relationship with Timothy McVeigh and the Vanity Fair piece he wrote about his interaction with him. Like I wise old sage, he reminds us that we have lost control of our government and have allowed the powers that be to corrupt the laws our forefathers so elo ...more
Liam
Aug 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in modern America
It's quite a short book (160 pages, fairly large print). Per page not great value for money but that is no way to judge a book. Gore Vidal touches on why something like September 11th happened, why the Oklahoma bombing took place. America's foreign policy is raised as a potential cause of September 11. The war on terror then has it's toll on America itself with civil liberties being undermined. The questions raised re Timothy McVeigh are disturbing. America has problems with it's masters and the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Terrorism and War
  • Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy
  • History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past
  • Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
  • Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
  • War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier
  • Beyond Bin Laden: America and the Future of Terror
  • Democracy for the Few
  • Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich
  • What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World
  • Michelle Obama: In Her Own Words
  • Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made
  • Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror
  • 24 Declassified: Collateral Damage
  • Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction
  • War Is a Lie
  • The James Bond Dossier
  • Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal, and the Private Equity Implosion
1,089 followers
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. He was also known for his patrician manner, Transatlantic accent, and witty aphorisms. Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and he later became a relation (through marriage) to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vidal ran for political office twi
...more
More about Gore Vidal

Nonfiction Deals

  • Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Manic: A Memoir
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
    $19.99 $1.99
  • Without a Doubt
    $5.99 $2.49
  • The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Paris Letters
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
    $13.74 $1.99
  • My Cross to Bear
    $11.24 $1.99
  • The Warrior Ethos
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Chance in this world
    $5.99 $0.99
  • It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Everyday Zen
    $11.24 $1.99
  • In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Somebody Else's Kids
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Maude
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Revised Edition)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Rational Optimist (P.S.)
    $14.49 $2.99
  • Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Of Wolves and Men (Scribner Classics)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • God: A Story of Revelation
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book
    $10.95 $1.99
  • The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD
    $13.99 $2.99
  • I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Imaginary Girlfriend
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Things I've Been Silent About
    $4.99 $1.99
  • GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
    $8.49 $2.99
  • The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dharma Punx: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
    $10.99 $1.99
  • This Life I Live: One Man's Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever
    $9.99 $2.99
  • An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division
    $9.99 $1.99
  • How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists
    $8.99 $2.49
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes: Harnessing Our Power to Change The World
    $7.74 $1.99
  • Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Catch Me If You Can
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Animal of All
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Pastor: A Memoir
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Working with Emotional Intelligence
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis
    $13.99 $1.99
“Drugs. If they did not exist our governors would have invented them in order to prohibit them and so make much of the population vulnerable to arrest, imprisonment, seizure of property, and so on.” 2 likes
“In 1970, I wrote in the New York Times, of all uncongenial places, It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a very short time. Simply make all drugs available and sell them at cost. Label each drug with a precise description of what effect—good or bad—the drug will have on the taker. This will require heroic honesty. Don’t say that marijuana is addictive or dangerous when it is neither, as millions of people know—unlike “speed,” which kills most unpleasantly, or heroin, which can be addictive and difficult to kick. Along with exhortation and warning, it might be good for our citizens to recall (or learn for the first time) that the United States was the creation of men who believed that each person has the right to do what he wants with his own life as long as he does not interfere with his neighbors’ pursuit of happiness (that his neighbor’s idea of happiness is persecuting others does confuse matters a bit).” 2 likes
More quotes…