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House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power

Written by:
James Carroll
Narrated by:
Robertson Dean

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2006
26 hours 30 minutes
In House of War, the bestselling author James Carroll has created a history of the Pentagon that is both epic and personal. Through Carroll we see how the Pentagon, since its founding, has operated beyond the control of any force in government or society, undermining the very national security it is sworn to protect.From its 'birth' on September 11, 1941, through the nuclear buildup of the Cold War and the eventual 'shock and awe' of Iraq, Carroll recounts how 'the Building' and its officials have achieved what President Eisenhower called 'a disastrous rise of misplaced power.'

This is not faded history. House of War offers a compelling account of the virtues and follies that led America to permanently, and tragically, define itself around war. Carroll shows how the consequences of the American response to September 11, 2001 -– including two wars and an ignited Middle East -– form one end of an arc that stretches from Donald Rumsfeld back to James Forrestal, the first man to occupy the office of secretary of defense in the Pentagon. House of War confronts this dark past so we may understand the current war and forestall the next.
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Brian W.

I love the image of a ten year old boy sliding in his socks along the long corridors of the Pentagon. But none of us can remain a child forever. Any moral person eschews war. But standing by and doing nothing while others murder innocents is just as immoral. Roosevelt insisted on unconditional surrender because he saw what happened after the Great War and realized that the only way to expunge German and Japanese militarism was to bring the horror of war to their own doorsteps. This was accomplished primarily by the Allied bombing campaign. All and all, it would be a better book if the author provided a more balanced perspective.

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First of all there is no in depth at all as to the inner workings of the Pentagon. What there is revolves around a series of condemnations and seconding guessing on everyone from Truman's use of the A bomb to Clinton's ill-conceived gay policy. I consider myself open to both conservative and liberal positions, but all these people he condemns are the same ones that have kept us free and safe from nuclear bombs for 60 years.

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This is a fascinating insider's view of the Pentagon and its place in our collective consciousness. It's also a frightening expose of the wartime "heroes", policymakers, and fearmongers who drove - and continue to drive - our foreign-policy agenda. A must-read for anyone who is concerned about the power of government and where, how, and upon whom it is conferred.

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John Roche

Being 66, I can vividly remember how the war and near nuclear war headlines described what was happening. I found James Carroll's research and personal knowledge of "the rest of the story" very enlightening. It makes one think, "how will today's war be described 40 years from now?"

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Cary Abbott

Carroll was there when the Pentagon was built. His father became a major player for years to come and James Carroll writes the first part of this book with fascinating detail and insider knowledge. The history is frightening, but too much so. Seemingly the U.S. was the cause of every ailment in the world from WWII to the present plague of terrorism, and all of the blame lies with nuclear weapons. When he's writing about the people he knew, the decisions and conversations he verifies the book is great. However, when he gets off track and starts assuming and imagining why people in power made their choices, Carroll loses his credibility.

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