“History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors, and issues.” T.S. Eliot
Those of you who have read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present (Perennial Classics) or Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Revised and Updated Edition will devour Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s The Untold History of the United States. These two intellects bring fresh insight to a benighted past. Minor footnotes and characters, like Henry Wallace, in our history’s drama are bought to the forefront for once. The reader becomes Dante to Oliver Stone and Professor Kusnick’s Virgil, taking us through the gates of Hell in our personal history. In these pages, the real Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan are exposed, not extolled or lionized. It is inscrutable and unconscionable what Truman did in Hiroshima. The truth behind who really defeated Germany. Terror bombing in WWII to terrorism in the present day. As Historian Henry Steele Commager once pointed out, “From the beginning of our history, we’ve been rather casual about our crimes.”
Although the book is a companion to the documentary series on Showtime, which is highly recommended, the book stands alone and independent; it covers, in 14 chapters, the most important moments where we got history wrong. Cognitive dissonance will kick in. A certain sciolism exists in our culture as we whistle in the dark.
This book reads like a modern-day version of Thucydides, the Greek historian, The History of the Peloponnesian War and the corruption of language.
As a culture inculcated by an embellished history, remember this:
If we do not choose our leaders carefully and become more engaged and stop viewing history in hindsight, then we risk our nation becoming either a kakistocracy or catastrophe – you decide. You have more power then you think.
Think independently. “Question everything” as Marx once said.
Read this book.
Tell it right for once.
Warning: This book will keep you up all night… save it for a weekend read.
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