Book Review– America’s Greatest Blunder: The Fateful Decision to Enter World War One by Burton Yale Pines

ww1

The author of this book kindly sent me a physical copy of his work.  I read it over the summer, and now that it has been released, I can post my review.

I am a history buff.  Mainly focused on the U.S. Civil War era and WWII.  But I am always up for learning more about other periods in history.

Interestingly, my great grandfather fought for the U.S. during this war.  My husband’s grandfather fought for Italy.

Prior to reading this book, I had absolutely nothing but a vague knowledge of the WWI.  I did read Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo in high school, but it mainly dealt with the individual horror of war, and not the actual actions.

I also am a fan of Metallica, and their epic song One is about WWI.  I had an awesome A.P. history teacher in high school that screened the music video for us.

This book helped me to see the bigger picture of that war.

Here is the synopsis:

Entering World War One against Germany was America’s greatest blunder of the 20th century. America had no reason to join the 3-year-old struggle. By sending two million doughboys to the Western Front, America shattered the battlefield stalemate, allowing Britain and France to impose a devastating peace on Germany, thus igniting toxic German cries for revenge. Absent America’s entry into the war, the exhausted combatants would have sought a peace of compromise. There would have been no victor, no vanquished, no Versailles Treaty, no German demands for revenge, no Hitler and surely no World War II and even no Cold War. The tale of how America stumbled into war is told by America’s Greatest Blunder. It chronicles America’s journey from sensible neutrality to its war declaration. It then describes how legions of doughboys won the war, giving victory to Britain and France – thus launching the young century on its course of decades of unprecedented violence.

I do have to mention that having no prior knowledge of anything regarding this time period in history, I had to go back and read up on it.  That helped tremendously, but if you already have a working knowledge, you should be fine.

The author has a way of engaging the reader in a very unique manner.  He explains things like he is sitting there having a conversation with you.  I loved it.  It helped me to make connections that I might not have with regards to which nation did what and when.

It is not a dry, rote rehashing of timeline and dates, it is specifically organized to prove his point.  And it is effective.

I particularly enjoyed the glimpse of what America was like in the early 20th century.  The progressive movement, the isolationism.  I was amazed to read about the propaganda employed throughout the war.

I also think that the author made his case.  He provides convincing evidence that had America not entered the war on the side of the Allies, the horrors of the 20th century might have been prevented.  Both sides were heading toward a stalemate.  And had America stayed out, the belligerants might have been forced to a more equal compromise, rather than the harsh peace imposed upon Germany.

The author clearly spells out the groundwork that lead to WWII, and the systemic murder of millions.  It also helped me to understand the reluctance of America to engage in WWII until we were outright attacked.  I understand how fathers who fought in WWI wanted to spare their sons from the horrors of war.

Overall a great read that furthered my interest in this time period.  I’m probably going to read more about it, thanks to this book.

If you love history as much as I do, give this a try.  You will not be disappointed.

My great-grandfather Manuel Amaya

My great-grandfather Manuel Amaya

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Amanda’s Favs for 2013 — Part One | The Eclectic Bookworm

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