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Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,623 ratings  ·  104 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 September ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published 2002 by Clairview Books
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Very brave, very unstructured, very eye-opening, extremely passionate perusal of state as it is in the modern times.

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. (c)
One of the problems of a society as tightly controlled as ours is that we get so little information about what those of our fellow citizens whom we will never know or see are actua
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Matthew W
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: german, 2011, 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
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
C. Scott
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. ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Haws
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
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
May 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shaun Secaur
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Dennis Littrell
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vidal against the US government--but is he right?

Some of this book is about Osama bin Laden and the war on terror, and some of it is about Timothy McVeigh. Vidal finds some similarity in their motives. But this is not so much a defense of McVeigh (or bin Laden) as it is an "appreciation"--that is, an appreciation of their frustration with the (sometimes) violent behavior of the United States government.

There are seven "chapters" (they are not numbered as such) amounting to seven essays by a past
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Larry Baumgartner
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: nonfiction
I happened to buy this book just after September 11 while at school in Ireland. It's a good thing I did since it wasn't released in the States until months later, and I've heard that the American version is slightly edited. Vidal cuts right through the bull and gets the heart of what's wrong with American foreign policy. This book is well-written, informative, and intelligent. It's almost a must-read for U.S. citizens who wonder how our country got to the position it's in now. ...more
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more

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.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
EXCELLENT--Vidal is able to transport you back to that very time and place when
a still relatively young nation is on the verge of perhaps dying a premature death and gives the reader and up close and personal view of Lincoln struggling mightily to come up with a "treatment plan" to save the "patient". Gore makes Lincoln and all of the others players in the drama very real and vivid.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I want to believe in a fair democratic process but there is a subworld underneath the surface. What is exposed isn't wholesome or good or even christian. If destiny is written on stone I am not optimistic of the outcome. ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book ... Waco and the Oklahoma bombing feature strongly ... Struggled a little with the American Style of writing ... That's not a criticism of the book ... It's just a little different from the UK ... Much written in journalistic style ... ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You should attend - critically, of course - to all of Vidal's warnings

He always had keen insight and a delightful writing style. It's a shame so few Americans appear to have paid even the least attention.
Josephus FromPlacitas
Tim McVeigh as martyr? Really, Gore?
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gore, politics
Angry at American politics? So is Gore! I like these essays because they can make me laugh and be angry at the sametime.
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? Caustic, brilliant, wise - a small treasure.

It's worth having this book for the extensive timeline Vidal created to show how many wars the US has waged.
Mike Orlowicz
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An excellent description knocking the good guy/bad guy mentality prevalent in the US. There are reasons behind everyone's actions, even all those evildoers out there. ...more
Grant Hodgson
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, concise and witty
Andrea DelaRosa
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
15 years after its publication, it remains incredibly relevant for our time.
Patricia Tennesen
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for all high school students. Perhaps it will help curb our lust for killing.
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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

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“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.” 5 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).” 3 likes
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