I love the image of a ten year old boy sliding in his socks along the long corridors of the Pentagon. But none of us can remain a child forever. Any moral person eschews war. But standing by and doing nothing while others murder innocents is just as immoral. Roosevelt insisted on unconditional surrender because he saw what happened after the Great War and realized that the only way to expunge German and Japanese militarism was to bring the horror of war to their own doorsteps. This was accomplished primarily by the Allied bombing campaign. All and all, it would be a better book if the author provided a more balanced perspective.
First of all there is no in depth at all as to the inner workings of the Pentagon. What there is revolves around a series of condemnations and seconding guessing on everyone from Truman's use of the A bomb to Clinton's ill-conceived gay policy. I consider myself open to both conservative and liberal positions, but all these people he condemns are the same ones that have kept us free and safe from nuclear bombs for 60 years.
This is a fascinating insider's view of the Pentagon and its place in our collective consciousness. It's also a frightening expose of the wartime "heroes", policymakers, and fearmongers who drove - and continue to drive - our foreign-policy agenda. A must-read for anyone who is concerned about the power of government and where, how, and upon whom it is conferred.
Being 66, I can vividly remember how the war and near nuclear war headlines described what was happening. I found James Carroll's research and personal knowledge of "the rest of the story" very enlightening. It makes one think, "how will today's war be described 40 years from now?"
Carroll was there when the Pentagon was built. His father became a major player for years to come and James Carroll writes the first part of this book with fascinating detail and insider knowledge. The history is frightening, but too much so. Seemingly the U.S. was the cause of every ailment in the world from WWII to the present plague of terrorism, and all of the blame lies with nuclear weapons. When he's writing about the people he knew, the decisions and conversations he verifies the book is great. However, when he gets off track and starts assuming and imagining why people in power made their choices, Carroll loses his credibility.
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