Verdict: AMERICA'S GREATEST BLUNDER is a powerful and well-reasoned book, well worth a read by anyone interested in American and European history.
A disturbing argument that America, by entering World War I, set in motion a train of events that caused much of the death and destruction of the 20th century.
This is a historical look back at the decision by President Woodrow Wilson and the US Congress to enter World War I, suggesting that it was probably the most disastrous decision this country has ever made, leading directly to substantial costs in human lives and human suffering.
Author, Burton Yale Pines takes the reader on a detailed and thoughtful exploration of the war, pointing out the root causes of American disillusionment with Germany and our eventual alignment with Britain and France. He illustrates clearly the choices and context that led up to our involvement in the war, showing the reader why and how American perceptions of the war were distorted by British propaganda and by American leaders’ uneven reactions to violations of American neutrality by each side. He points out how American involvement contributed to the decisive Allied victory, by providing hosts of fresh young men to relieve the exhausted Allies, while Germany received no such respite. Without our involvement, he suggests, both sides would have been equally exhausted, and would probably have negotiated as equals, rather than Germany being humiliated as a beaten scapegoat. He lists several points at which Wilson, or others, might have turned events in a different direction, giving substantial, reasoned arguments as to why those choices might have improved matters. His arguments are sound and convincing, and rest on substantial historical evidence and a great deal of research.
AMERICA’S GREATEST BLUNDER is not a comfortable book to read. Pines deftly, clearly, and vividly illustrates the brutal cruelty of WWI, with its hosts of young men hurled against barbed wire and mowed down by machine guns. There is no sentimental or overblown language here, and no need for it – the bare facts are enough to break hearts, clearly stated as they are. The thoughtful reader might wish for a time machine, and enough time and eloquence to convince the young, pre-Presidential Wilson to read this.
AMERICA’S GREATEST BLUNDER is a powerful and well-reasoned book, well worth a read by anyone interested in American and European history.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader