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The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 | [Michael Swanson]

The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963

Today when you factor in the interest on the national debt from past wars and total defense expenditures the United States spends almost 40% of its federal budget on the military. It accounts for over 46% of total world arms spending. Before World War II it spent almost nothing on defense and hardly anyone paid any income taxes. You can't have big wars without big government. Such big expenditures are now threatening to harm the national economy.
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Publisher's Summary

Today when you factor in the interest on the national debt from past wars and total defense expenditures the United States spends almost 40% of its federal budget on the military. It accounts for over 46% of total world arms spending.

Before World War II it spent almost nothing on defense and hardly anyone paid any income taxes. You can't have big wars without big government. Such big expenditures are now threatening to harm the national economy. How did this situation come to be?

In this book you'll learn how in the critical 20 years after World War II the United States changed from being a continental democratic republic to a global imperial superpower. Since then nothing has ever been the same again. In this book you will discover this secret history of the United States that formed the basis of the world we live in today.

By buying this book you will discover:

  • How the end of European colonialism created a power vacuum that the United States used to create a new type of world empire backed by the most powerful military force in human history.
  • Why the Central Intelligence Agency was created and used to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations when the United States Constitution had no mechanism for such imperial activities.
  • How national security bureaucrats got President Harry Truman to approve of a new wild budget busting arms race after World War II that is still going on to this day.
  • Why President Eisenhower really gave his famous warning against the "military-industrial complex."
  • Why during the Kennedy administration the nuclear arms race almost led to the end of the world during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • How President Kennedy tried to deal with what had grown into a "permanent government" of power elite national security bureaucrats in the executive branch of the federal government that had become more powerful than the individual president himself.
  • In this audiobook you will discover this secret history of the United States that formed the basis of the world we live in today.

    ©2013 Michael Swanson (P)2014 Listen and Think Audio

    What Members Say

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    3.8 (6 )
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      ohmie 04-22-14
      ohmie 04-22-14 Member Since 2013
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Surprisingly Good"
      Would you consider the audio edition of The War State to be better than the print version?

      I only heard the audio version and had not read the print so I don't have an opinion.


      Who was your favorite character and why?

      There are no characters in this book. This book is more of an historical narrative and expose so no characters.


      What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

      The performance was okay, not great.


      Any additional comments?

      An old mentor once told me that 'to the naive, things appear to be simple; and to the fool so complex'. The author poses a hypothesis that the federal defense budget is supported by the military-industrial complex. He supports his hypothesis with strong historical facts, written and recorded history and through a complex history of the cold war. His subject is highly complex but he weaves his story very well and with compelling force.

      I for one can't wait for his next book.

      1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Nelson Alexander New York, NY, United States 04-08-14
      Nelson Alexander New York, NY, United States 04-08-14 Member Since 2006
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Cold War, The Cliff Notes Version"

      If you want a good high-school-level summary of the Cuban Missile Crisis with Kennedy as anti-establishment hero, by all means buy this work. As a bonus you will receive three final Chapters 9 to 12, which pad the audiobook out by repeating everything in the previous chapters, then telling you how to sign up for the next book on this important subject by the same author--who apparently, from the five-star reviews here, enjoys his own clique of eager followers.

      Presumably, this next book will contain some new revelations, economic analysis, and original scholarship, though I wouldn't bet on it. The greatest failure of the book, apart from its numerous repetitions, superficial polemic, and slipshod writing (Is there an editor in the house?), is the lack of any economic context. I am actually sympathetic to the author's basic concept of the "war state," but he fails to detail the "industrial side" of the "military-industrial complex," the profits, credits, bond financing, and lobbying that continue to provide the economic inertia behind our immense weaponized Keynsianism.

      Nor does the author take military Keynsianism seriously as a necessary logic of modern capitalism. His approach seems to be more libertarian than left, with the idea that by reducing the executive branch, the military bureaucracies, and large military industries we can reduce oppressive taxes and deficits and return to our roots as an isolationist Jeffersonian democracy of peaceful farmers, small-town banks, and small business entrepreneurs. This ignores not only economic reality, but our own national history since the Indian Clearances, the Mexican War, and the Spanish American War as an outward-rolling commercial-military empire, from Polk to Cheney.

      That said, I thank the author for identifying NSC 68 as an interesting point of departure. There are a few good story details, a hopeful anti-militarism, and the reading is okay. If you really know nothing about this period of U.S. history, the book is worth the time.

      2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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