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Index » Entertainment » TV » Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States
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Posted: Oct 20, 2013 - 10:51am

2 of 4

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Posted: Oct 15, 2013 - 7:11pm


On Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, Prof. Peter Kuznik, historian and co-author with Oliver Stone of the Untold History of The United States, looks at the ideas that justify American conquest and empire
Part 1 of 4

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Posted: Nov 26, 2012 - 6:50pm

(...) Just a couple of other observations about Kristol’s little essay that I found particularly irritating. He asserts that the “West was saved, primarily by Britain and the United States” from destruction in World War II. Of course, to admit that the Soviet Union under Stalin may also have played a key role in destroying the Nazi regime may detract from the standard neo-con argument that “western civilization” has had to endure a series of deadly totalitarian/terrorist/Islamofascist challenges, one after the other. But, really, to omit any mention of the Soviet role offers yet another example of the neo-con tendency to invent or ignore historical facts when they find it convenient to do so. And then to go on, as Kristol does, to suggest that the “ revival after the war was somehow exemplified by the founding of the state of Israel” is particularly ironic, given Moscow’s critical role — Czechoslovakia was the main supplier of weapons to the embryonic state during and immediately after the independence war — in Israel’s creation. True to the neo-cons’ Trotskyite origins, historical facts can always be air-brushed out of the picture. (...)

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Posted: Nov 25, 2012 - 1:18pm

A fine and recent example of repeating an established narrative supported by a "military historian"...

Truman grandson plants seeds of reconciliation | McClatchy
Daniel had played no high-profile role in the debate that accompanied the 50th anniversary observances of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1995. Some historians had emphasized the numbing number of deaths, both American and Japanese, expected to have had occurred during a traditional invasion of the Japanese home islands. (...)

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/11/23/175421/truman-grandson-plants-seeds-of.html#storylink=cpy

D. M. Giangreco, a military historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, believes Daniel’s efforts likely would benefit if he considered expanding the definition of “survivor.”

As detailed in Giangreco’s 2009 book, “Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947,” estimates of the massive casualties possible during a traditional invasion of the Japanese home islands had been prepared by officials in the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Truman became president upon Roosevelt’s death in April 1945.

By that July, estimates circulating among senior Truman administration officials indicated that the number of Japanese dead could reach between 5 million and 10 million, with the possibility of anywhere from 1.7 million to 4 million American casualties. That included perhaps 400,000 to 800,000 American soldiers killed.

Those who ultimately didn’t have to invade Japan can be considered survivors, too, said Giangreco. Other Truman scholars such as Robert Ferrell and George Elsey recently have expressed similar sentiments, he added.

 steeler wrote:
The title "The Greatest Generation" undoubtedly was selected as a catchy phrase that would sell books, etc. 
.
But, calling a series and tome "The Untold History of the United States" is another such attempt.
.
Just sayin'.     

Of course titles are given quite a bit of thought w.r.t. PR and sales. The difference is that the latter example stands little chance of being picked up as some glorious or mythical meme.
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Posted: Nov 25, 2012 - 12:21pm

 mzpro5 wrote:
After seeing the first installment I thought there is really nothing "untold" in what is being presented. And it was obvious there was a big ideological drive there. Seems I am not the only one.
 
I agree that anyone who is willing to invest time in history will not be surprised by the material that is presented. However, obviously not everyone is willing to invest that time.

"Ideological drive" in historical (re)presentations/interpretations is omnipresent. There is rarely any objectivity, despite claims to the contrary. That doesn't mean subjectivity is such a bad thing. It just means one has to be aware of it, and take it into consideration when constructing the big picture. Regardless, one might come across some interesting facts that deserve further investigation/reading.

It's become a back and forth and back: Oliver Stone Defends His History - The Daily Beast

(...) Second, Moynihan betrays his ignorance by attempting to debunk our accuracy and choice of sources. He questions our description of the U.S. perception that the Soviet economy was booming in the early 1930s, claiming that we base this assessment on “Stalinist New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty.” If one looks at pages 56 and 57 of our book, it is readily apparent that we base this judgment not only upon The New York Times but upon the Christian Science Monitor, The NationBarron’s, and Business Week. In fact, Duranty is neither cited nor mentioned. Moynihan disputes our contention that Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, in committing suicide, was “tormented by his own anti-communist paranoia.” Forrestal was indeed ranting about communists and “Zionist agents” who were out to get him when he was admitted to Bethesda Naval Hospital. And, as we make abundantly clear, it was popular radio commentator Drew Pearson who alleged that Forrestal was found in the street in pajamas shouting “The Russians are coming!” To any objective reader, it would be readily apparent that we describe Forrestal as suffering from “severe mental illness,” not just anti-communist paranoia.

Moynihan is so eager to try to find ways to discredit us that he misreads things that even Groucho Marx’s proverbial 4-year-old child would understand. He says we quote Henry Wallace’s “somewhat overgenerous” statement that “Stalin was a fine man who wanted to do the right thing,” when we state clearly that these were Harry Truman’s words, as anybody even minimally familiar with this literature would know. Shame on the Daily Beast for not conducting even the minimal level of fact checking. Attributing this quote to Truman, as we do, makes the point that Truman was not a blindly unwavering anti-Soviet zealot but a man who grappled with a difficult situation and made, in our judgment, a series of disastrous but not inevitable choices. Moynihan’s misattribution is an example of the blind animus he feels toward progressives like Wallace, and toward those of us today who challenge Cold War orthodoxy. (...)
Omnipresent it is.
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Posted: Nov 25, 2012 - 12:07pm

After seeing the first installment I thought there is really nothing "untold" in what is being presented. And it was obvious there was a big ideological drive there. Seems I am not the only one.

Oliver Stone's Junk History of the United States Debunked

From the link:

"Let’s start with the book’s misleading title. This isn’t in any sense an “untold story”; the authors mine only previously published accounts, having done no archival research. Indeed, this “untold” story has been told ad nauseam by other radical and revisionist historians, most of whom are cited in the book’s footnotes. Their real complaint is that, for the most part, the revisionist narrative has failed to become the dominant narrative. Nor do they attempt a broad survey of American history, instead focusing almost exclusively on United States foreign policy in the 20th century (though there are predictable chapters on the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama). . . .

 . . . There are likely readers who will find this book revelatory, though mostly those who, like Stone and Kuznick, came to a conclusion first and only later sought out supporting evidence. But others should be warned that this isn’t a book of history, but of ideological faith. There are indeed many dark epochs in American history, but there are plenty of well-rendered and honestly researched books that address these without sliding into moral equivalence between the policies of the psychotically brutal Soviet Union and the frequently flawed policy of the United States."


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Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth


Posted: Nov 25, 2012 - 12:05pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
Oliver Stone Rewrites History — Again - NYTimes.com

“Come on, that’s such a canard, you know that,” Oliver Stone said. “ ‘The Greatest Generation?’ That was the biggest publishing hoax of all. It’s to sell books.” This seemingly sacrosanct term was coined by Tom Brokaw for his 1998 book of the same title, in which he recounted the lives of ordinary, World War II-era Americans. “I was in Vietnam with the Greatest Generation. They were master sergeants, generals, colonels. They had arrogance beyond belief. The hubris that allowed Henry Kissinger to say North Vietnam is a fourth-rate power we will break. The hubris of that!”

We were discussing Stone’s latest project, a 10-part Showtime series and a 750-page companion volume called “The Untold History of the United States,” which begins with World War I and ends with the first Obama administration. It’s an Oliver Stone version of a History Channel documentary, one guaranteed to raise the ires of both left and right and where all roads lead to Vietnam. From where Stone sits, World War II begot the cold war, which landed us in Vietnam, a manifestation of American imperialism, which led inexorably to our current battle in Afghanistan. We have, Stone says, been sold a fairy tale masquerading as history, and it is so blinding it may ultimately undo us. “You have to understand what it was like to be a Roman empire and to find some barbarian tribe riding into Rome in 476 A.D.,” Stone said. “It’s quite a shock. And that’s what will happen to us unless we change our attitude about what our role in the world is. Every story out of most newspapers is ‘the Americans think this, the administration thinks this.’ It’s always about our controlling the pieces on the chessboard. I think what the Arabs have shown us is that we don’t control the chess pieces. And this is a shock to many people. But it’s definitely in ‘The Greatest Generation.’ And it’s in Spielberg’s World War II film, and it’s in Ridley Scott’s ‘Black Hawk Down.’ These are wonderful-looking films, but the message is perverted.” (...)



 

The title "The Greatest Generation" undoubtedly was selected as a catchy phrase that would sell books, etc. 
.
But, calling a series and tome "The Untold History of the United States" is another such attempt.
.
Just sayin'.    


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Posted: Nov 25, 2012 - 11:44am

Oliver Stone Rewrites History — Again - NYTimes.com

“Come on, that’s such a canard, you know that,” Oliver Stone said. “ ‘The Greatest Generation?’ That was the biggest publishing hoax of all. It’s to sell books.” This seemingly sacrosanct term was coined by Tom Brokaw for his 1998 book of the same title, in which he recounted the lives of ordinary, World War II-era Americans. “I was in Vietnam with the Greatest Generation. They were master sergeants, generals, colonels. They had arrogance beyond belief. The hubris that allowed Henry Kissinger to say North Vietnam is a fourth-rate power we will break. The hubris of that!”

We were discussing Stone’s latest project, a 10-part Showtime series and a 750-page companion volume called “The Untold History of the United States,” which begins with World War I and ends with the first Obama administration. It’s an Oliver Stone version of a History Channel documentary, one guaranteed to raise the ires of both left and right and where all roads lead to Vietnam. From where Stone sits, World War II begot the cold war, which landed us in Vietnam, a manifestation of American imperialism, which led inexorably to our current battle in Afghanistan. We have, Stone says, been sold a fairy tale masquerading as history, and it is so blinding it may ultimately undo us. “You have to understand what it was like to be a Roman empire and to find some barbarian tribe riding into Rome in 476 A.D.,” Stone said. “It’s quite a shock. And that’s what will happen to us unless we change our attitude about what our role in the world is. Every story out of most newspapers is ‘the Americans think this, the administration thinks this.’ It’s always about our controlling the pieces on the chessboard. I think what the Arabs have shown us is that we don’t control the chess pieces. And this is a shock to many people. But it’s definitely in ‘The Greatest Generation.’ And it’s in Spielberg’s World War II film, and it’s in Ridley Scott’s ‘Black Hawk Down.’ These are wonderful-looking films, but the message is perverted.” (...)


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Posted: Nov 17, 2012 - 12:17pm

Oliver Stone: America is an “outlaw nation” (Salon)
The cinematic renegade talks about Obama, FDR, his new Showtime series and the myth of American exceptionalism

There are a lot of people in this country who are obsessed with what the Founding Fathers would have wanted, and who try to read the Constitution as this inerrant biblical document. And the thing is that what we have now, what you guys are talking about – a state predicated on imperial power coupled with financial power — is so far away from what those people imagined.

P.K.: So far away. Because they had understood that they fought a war against colonial power. Americans were very hostile to Britain until the 20th century, till the World War I period, because that was the empire and we were consciously anti-imperial. John Quincy Adams has a great speech that he made on July 4, 1819, in which he says we don’t go forth in search of foreign monsters to destroy. He says we might become dictators for the world, but we would lose our own spirit as a nation. And that’s what we think has happened, the United States in some ways has lost its soul as a nation. We started to lose that soul in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We lost it during the 1950s with Eisenhower going from 1,000 nuclear weapons when he takes office to 23,000 when he leaves office, to 30,000 when his budgeting cycle is finished. We lost it in Vietnam. We’ve lost it repeatedly, but we think it’s not all gone. That’s why we’re fighting to salvage what we can and turn this around.

I was just reading your chapter about the period right before World War II, when Sen. Gerald Nye – a Republican from North Dakota! – leads this investigation of the arms manufacturers, which came close to forcing the nationalization of the entire arms industry. That really struck me, because it’s so inconceivable now. You have a prairie Republican who was basically a progressive, which is inconceivable now. And today, in the era of Halliburton, we just accept that our military economy is a massive private sector for all these huge and secretive companies.

O.S.: Nye was great! But it is inconceivable. I never thought of it that way, but you’re right.

P.K.: It’s why we stress it in that way, because it’s inconceivable. People have to know that these things were possible in the United States. Americans could think this in the past and do these things.

O.S.: Kids, know that you too can bring a congressional committee! You don’t have to worship military generals with fruit salad on their chest. Congress seems to simply waive the right to war, they essentially believe anything the military says. It’s like the Roman Empire and the Praetorian Guard. Our television has been really revelatory to me the last two or three days, covering Gen. Petraeus. I have never seen such encomiums. It’s assumed that it’s a great soap opera: The guy’s a hero and takes a fall because of a woman. It’s like the story of “Coriolanus,” that’s what they want. But the truth is: What hero? What did he do? (...)


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Posted: Nov 16, 2012 - 6:07pm

Oliver Stone on the Untold U.S. History from the Atomic Age to Vietnam to Obama’s Drone Wars
Academy Award-winning Oliver Stone has teamed up with historian Peter Kuznick to produce a 10-part Showtime series called "Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States." Drawing on archival findings and recently declassified documents, the filmmakers critically examine U.S. history, from the atomic bombing of Japan to the Cold War, to the fall of communism, and continuing all the way through to the Obama administration. Contrary to what’s taught in schools across the country, the filmmakers found the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were militarily unnecessary and morally indefensible. They also suggest the Soviet Union, not the United States, ultimately defeated the Germans in World War II. And, they assert, the United States, not the Soviet Union, bore the lion’s share of responsibility for perpetuating the Cold War. The filmmakers also found U.S. presidents, especially in wartime, have frequently trampled on the Constitution and international law, and they note the United States has brought the world dangerously close to nuclear war by repeatedly brandishing nuclear threats. The first episode of the series aired Monday night on Showtime. For more about this series and the companion book, we are joined by Stone and Kuznick.