Arthur Herman reviews the latest volume of the Penguin History of the U.S.

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oddly, "American Empire: "The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home"—contrary to the proud spirit with which so many Americans view their country's postwar success—is a tale of almost unrelieved gloom. For Joshua Freeman, the "rise of global power" is the story of brutal imperial hubris, from the Cold War to the invasion of Iraq and the post 9/11 war on terror. The tale of the "democratic revolution at home" is a happier one in some respects—involving the civil-rights movement, feminism, environmentalism and the counterculture revolution in the 1960s—but the promise of such movements and upheavals, according to Mr. Freeman, has been steadily undercut by corporate power.

The author's views of the Cold War hark back to the hoary "moral equivalence" argument popular in the days after Vietnam, which saw the U.S., not the Soviet Union, as the primary instigator of the Cold War. Mr. Freeman says that it was America's anticommunist "ideological crusade" that turned the Soviet Union into a hostile rival, creating "international tension and conflict and an increasing militarism of American society."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted August 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Through what sort of filter does Mr. Freeman view world history.

Has he ever been informed of the often proclaimed need by communist states to eliminate non-communist states in order to achieve the communist ideal?

Has he ever read about the violent attacks on religious believers by communist states?

Has he ever read about the brutal treatment in the Soviet Union and in Red China of those who disagree with communist ideology?

Doesn’t he understand that the major difference between German National Socialists and Communists is only that the Germans stressed German nationalism along with radical socialism? 
Come on now Mr. Freeman.

August 5, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
2. BlueOntario wrote:

My thoughts as well, AF. I haven’t seen such old-school revisionist history in quite a while. Blatent disregard of Comintern and Cominform and Stalin and Mao’s zones of power projection and the means by which they sought to overwhelm western powers. I don’t know if I’d shake this book at the current administration as the reviewer does, but this scathing review is correct to point out the ridiculous conclusions found in this book.

August 5, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
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