On first appearance of A True History of the United States my first impressions were that it might be a weighty tome that might be too academic, particularly as the author Daniel Sjursen is a professor at Westpoint. I have to say, however, that this was so not the case, as the book was written in short, digestible chapters the begun in the early days of European arrival, in the country we now know as the United States of America, right through to the Presidency of Barack Obama.
As a non American with a keen interest in American politics, I found the book to be balanced in its assessment of the US – whether domestically or internationally. This was a pleasant surprise given Sjursen is also a retired war veteran, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It would be remiss of me to not comment on the length of the book – 688pp. The first half of the book takes place before 1900 (or thereabouts), whilst the latter half was more detailed in its assessment of the near past – the World Wars, Jim Crow/ Civil Rights era, Korea War, Vietnam and the Cold War. Reading this book against the backdrop of the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and it falling back into the hands of the Taliban was poignant. It also demonstrates that ‘what we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history’.
What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.Warren Buffett
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in history, international relations and also trying to understand why the world is the way it is.
***Thank you Netgalley and Steerforth Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.***
For my 2021 reading challenge, this book fulfils the book I’m intimidated to read (Bookriot) and the longest book on my TBR (Popsugar) prompts.
A True History of the United States: Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism by Daniel A. Sjursen is available NOW from the following retailers, so why don’t you check it out today: