1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
American Exceptionalism and American Innocence  By  cover art

American Exceptionalism and American Innocence

By: Roberto Sirvent,Danny Haiphong,Ajamu Baraka - foreword,Glen Ford - afterword
Narrated by: Timothy Andrés Pabon
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $29.99

Buy for $29.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Did the U.S. really “save the world” in World War II? Should black athletes stop protesting and show more gratitude for what America has done for them? Are wars fought to spread freedom and democracy? Or is this all fake news? 

American Exceptionalism and American Innocence examines the stories we’re told that lead us to think that the U.S. is a force for good in the world, regardless of slavery, the genocide of indigenous people, and the more than a century’s worth of imperialist war that the U.S. has wrought on the planet.

Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong detail just what Captain America’s shield tells us about the pretensions of U.S. foreign policy, how Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates engage in humanitarian imperialism, and why the Broadway musical Hamilton is a monument to white supremacy.

©2019 Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Foreword © 2019 by Ajamu Baraka. Afterword © 2019 by Glen Ford.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about American Exceptionalism and American Innocence

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    64
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    47
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Still processing

Challenges everything, however; you're left with the question of whether a permanent change in the situation is possible because of the impossibility of the total system change that is called for in the book. Capitalism isn't the end of history but there should be some care in how to dismantle it. Understanding that the uniquely United States form and it's barbarism is so closely tied with it founding in slavery comes with a new understanding when the role of inherited wealth is explained. When you understand that the bigotry and violence is from the favored group in this country to every other group, you see how concentrated power amongst people with a shared identity is an idea that is unhealthy for the species survival. Any form of government that wishes to sustain itself as a gift to all mankind will have to focus on removing or checking the unhealthy urge that drives our species death instinct. This seems to be much simpler than philosophers have made it, as it is the want to push others beneath us or the singular ego. You see this destructive urge so strong that it destroys all from top to bottom. Might be a bit over simplified, as this is only my first read. The book has thrown many of my previous thoughts into question.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

You’re not going to like it.

And that’s exactly the point. If you start to listen to this book and you begin to feel offended by the notions put forth by these authors, then you’re in the group of people who needs to hear this message the most. If you decide that the contents of this book are too offensive to your sensibilities, I implore you to continue listening. I did not particularly enjoy this book myself. I even wanted to give up on it a few times, but I’m glad I didn’t because each time after some contemplation and a nights sleep I found myself in agreement with many of the sentiments expressed in these pages. Having said that, I’d recommend this book to anyone!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

a 1968 teach-in on a cellphone

The utter arrogance of youth is on public display. It is not that America is unaware of past and present flaws- it is more important to find that Darwinian solution needed for today's environment. Howard Zinn has done a much better job making the alternative stories of history evident, and these fellows attempt to show us the "right" way is impressively both prolix and lightweight.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Lackluster scholarship, shout-y performance

I made it as far as chapter 17 before accepting I had wasted my time. Given the subtitle of "a people's history of fake news," I was expecting a systematic examination of bad journalistic practices or propaganda efforts. Instead, this is a survey of U.S. imperialism with references to U. S. pop culture loosely tied in by relentless repetition of the words, "American exceptionalism and American innocence."

There wasn't a coherent thesis. The words of the title were repeated every other paragraph but there wasn't much explanation of how the U.S. used the events recounted to describe itself as innocent or exceptional, or who specifically wanted to use the events in this way. It also wasn't explained why the concepts of innocence or exceptionalism would be the preferred narrative of an imperial power when, for example, narratives of gritty conflicted heroism or being part of a team are popularly used in fiction (and, I think we'd find, in U.S. culture and politics itself) to sanction violence. The repetition of "innocence and exceptionalism" further came to sound like a conflation of those terms. They weren't examined independently of one another, leading to the impression that the terms could be interchangeable. When "exceptional" means the same thing as "innocent" it's not clear what the point of either word is. The thesis might as well be, "The U. S. thinks of itself as good," which is not much of a revelation.

These on their own would have been minor complaints if the history of imperialism they recounted contained anything new, but the authors provided no unique scholarship or perspective aside from that one phrase they kept repeating.

With favorable quotations from the anti-trans and anti-cancel-culture Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi, and with casual reference to debunked accusations that Hillary Clinton sabotaged Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary, the U. S. "ruling class" (against whom their criticism is supposed to be primarily directed) is poorly defined. If the concept of American innocence is a problem, I would expect that anyone with aspirations of taking over the U. S. war machine would share in American guilt. I can't fathom Bernie's exception from criticism, unless the fantasy is that such a pure soul in a seat of power would have dismantled it. I have no idea how they conceptualize imperialism if it's not a thing all U. S. senators and for that matter citizens contribute to and benefit from.

I stopped listening when they started criticizing Black U. S. citizens for being less progressive than white U. S. citizens to prove that Barack Obama's election wasn't necessarily good. If you can look at poll results showing a marginalized group of people values different social priorities than you and conclude that this marginalized group shouldn't therefore get to dictate the priorities of the revolution, you're not doing a people's revolution and you're not telling a "people's history."

My annoyance at the poor scholarship, vague premise, droning repetition of the title, and conflicts with my values were all greatly exacerbated by the reader, who frequently raised his voice and made me feel as though I had invited a Bernie Bro into my kitchen to rant at me while I washed the dishes.

I gave the book two stars because it contains a fair introduction to the history of U. S. imperialism and its pop culture references might help this history resonate with audiences without much point of reference for international relations.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

still have more to listen

so far this book has been absolute trash but I will do another review after I finish like it's just constant whining and complaining that's all I've heard so far


I'm further into the book and it's still a bunch of loaded words salads mixed with opinions and accusations. nothing to support what the author is trying to claim and everything is painted one-sided

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential reading

The content of this excellent book should be mandatory learning material right across the colonial settler United Starship Trooper held territories of America, for there really are just two endings possible to this brief period known for its rabid exceptionalism and cognitive dysentery before humanity can progress to a paradigm of mutual cooperation and friendship. The warm, fuzzy, civil wrought wrap up of the violent thrashings of the Washington apparatus that’s been inflicting carnage on the World without remorse far too long, or the hot, radioactive Washingtonian hellscape, imposed with the regret of a rational State from afar.
The world has indeed had enough of this disgusting hegemon.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

sloppy history

I really did not like this book. I'm in agreement with the basic idea that we're fooling ourselves thinking we're better than anyone else and that we never do anything wrong but this book ignores the wrong in the rest of the world and the things we've done right. I'm not going down the "what-aboutism" path here, I'm just saying that history and politics don't occur in a vacuum. our country reacts to what else is happening in the world just as other countries do. Sometimes we're right, sometimes we're wrong and frequently it's hard to say.
the authors claim the U.S. knew about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor before it happened. we might have, or we might not have. there are convincing arguments on both sides but no definitive proof. So don't state it as fact. The authors also conviently ignore the atrocities of the Soviet Union while ranting about all the hideous things we've done. Again, I'm in no way saying we, the U.S., hasn't done some hideous things, but I think it's a consequence of being humans who've not yet reached a state of civilization. And all countries are run by humans.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought Provoking Perspective on America

At the crux of this book, the author points out the many fallacies associated with the perception that America is a beacon of hope and a force of goodwill for all countries to follow. Simply put, America doesn’t practice the values and democratic views externally through its foreign involvement, internally. The very foundation of America was of exploitation to promote the expansion of American capitalism. It’s always been a matter of protecting and expanding the system. Any perceived threat to it, has and still is moved to be eliminated.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply Brilliant!

If you do not understand the myth of “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence” (also known as the BIG LIE) everything you do understand will only confuse you.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

incoherent, repetitive, whiny

this snide, sanctimonious long form tantrum of a book is about as much fun as being lectured by a hall monitor.