March Book Club: "The Brothers" by Stephen Kinzer


Join us for some great Mexican food, fellowship and a thought-provoking discussion of American foreign policy and the REAL post WWII history at our March book club meeting.   We will discuss The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinzer.  And we'll find out the answers to G.W. Bush's naive and ridiculous question, "Why do they hate us?"

The Brothers was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as Best Nonfiction Book of 2013. Rather than obtaining a description of this book from a professional reviewer, I will post this review from an Amazon.com customer, as I think it's lucid, thoughtful and accurate.

Best Political/Historical Book in Years

By Mike Feder/Sirius XM and PRN.FM Radio on October 11, 2013

You know those reviews clips, headlines or ads that say "Must Read" or, "...if you only read one book this year..."

I have to say, with all the books I've read before and am reading currently, this one is absolutely the most eye-opening, informative and provocative one I've come across in many years.

And--after all I've read about American politics and culture--after all the experts I've interviewed on my radio show... I shouldn't be shocked any more. But the scope of insanity, corruption and hypocrisy revealed in this history of the Dulles brothers is, in fact, truly shocking.

Just when you thought you knew just how bad the United States has been in the world, you come across a history like this and you suddenly become aware of the real depths to which "our" government has sunk in subverting decency, freedom and democracy all over the world.

George W. Bush asked the question after 9/11-- "Why do they hate us?" The answer he came up with was, "Because of our Freedoms." When you read this book, you come face to face for the real reasons THEY (most of the rest of the world) hate us. It's because these Bush's "freedoms" are only for the United States, no other non-white, non-Christian, non-corporate cultures need apply.

The missionary Christian, Corporatism of the Dulles Brothers--John, the former head of the largest corporate law firm in the world, then Secretary of State, and his brother Allen, the head of the CIA all the way from Korea through Vietnam--constitutes the true behavioral DNA of America-in-the-world. It's enough to make you weep for the billions of people this country has deprived of freedom and security for the last sixty years.

I grew up practically in love with America and the Declaration of Independence. When I was a kid the USA had just beaten the Nazis. I saw the picture of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. I knew men in my neighborhood that had liberated concentration camps.

But they never taught us the real history of America in high school and barely at all in college. If they had given us a clear picture of our true history, there never would have been a Vietnam in the first place--and no Iraq or Afghanistan either; Global Banks wouldn't have gotten away with stealing all our money and crashing our economy and Christian fundamentalist and corporate puppets wouldn't have taken over our government.

Karma is real. You can't steal a whole country, kill and enslave tens of millions of human beings, assassinate democratically elected leaders of countries, bribe and corrupt foreign governments, train the secret police and arm the military of dictators for decades--you cannot do all this and escape the judgment and the punishment of history.

This book is, in fact, a MUST READ... for anyone who wants to know what their taxes have paid for in the last half century--for anyone who wants to know just exactly why the rest of the world wants either to attack us or throw us out of their countries. And a must read for anyone who no longer wishes their "representatives" in Washington to keep facilitating the stealing and killing all over the world and call it American Exceptionalism.

I'll also add that Stephen Kinzer is also a terrific writer; clear, articulate, factual and dramatic. His inside the inner circle revelations of the Dulles brothers and their crimes is morbidly page-turning.

About Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer is a former New York Times foreign correspondent and the author of Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq and The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War. He teaches at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University


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  • Madeline

    I read the book but couldn't make the meeting (Allison was starring in the high school play!) I keep bringing up those brothers in conversation now. "Did you know John foster Dulles was responsible for that?" Did you know that all began with Allen Dulles?" etc. Those two were like Pan and Pandora! (With John Foster being Pandora, of course.) I wish I could have come. I feel like I know some nasty national secrets, but they aren't secret! They're just unavailable to the incurious and unquestioning, which is most of the population. sigh

    April 1, 2014

  • donna

    I feel the same way karen. We had an excellent group and I am looking forward to the next book club meeting hope to see you all there

    March 31, 2014

  • Karen E.

    What a great discussion! And what great people!
    So glad I found your group.

    March 31, 2014

  • Wilfredo P.

    Excellent discussion of a superb book that should be required reading for all Americans.

    March 30, 2014

  • Mario S.

    Forgot all about it. Please set up the system to send out reminders

    March 29, 2014

  • donna

    Not rude, just hungry, will order when I get there

    March 29, 2014

  • Wilfredo P.

    This book and its author were featured on NPR recently. Here are the NPR links. The second link has an excerpt from the book. http://www.npr.org/2013/10/16/234752747/meet-the-brothers-who-shaped-u-s-policy-inside-and-out http://www.npr.org/2013/09/29/226578486/how-two-brothers-waged-a-secret-world-war-in-the-1950s

    March 27, 2014

  • Lisa

    Looks like a great book and I plan to read it. However, I have a conflict in plans on Mar. 29th.

    March 8, 2014

  • Wilfredo P.

    This was without a doubt the best non-fiction book I read last year. Even if you cannot attend the meeting, you should read it. Highly recommended. By the way, don't worry about parking at Salazar's. It has its own lot with plenty of parking. And this restaurant is QUIET. We will meet at a large table in the back of the restaurant if it's available. Please RSVP if you plan on attending. Thanks.

    March 7, 2014

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