This landmark, myth-shattering work chronicles the most powerful institution in America, the people who created it, and the pathologies it has spawned. Carroll proves a controversial thesis: The Pentagon has, since its founding, operated beyond the control of any force in government or society. It is the biggest, loosest cannon in American history, and no institution has changed this country more.
To argue his case, he marshals a trove of often chilling evidence. He recounts how "the Building" and its denizens achieved what Eisenhower called "a disastrous rise of misplaced power" from the unprecedented aerial bombing of Germany and Japan during World War II to the "shock and awe" of Iraq. He charts the colossal U.S. nuclear buildup, which far outpaced that of the USSR and has outlived it. He reveals how consistently the Building has found new enemies just as old threats and funding evaporate. He demonstrates how Pentagon policy brought about U.S. indifference to an epidemic of genocide during the 1990s. And he shows how the forces that attacked the Pentagon on 9/11 were set in motion exactly 60 years earlier, on September 11, 1941, when ground was broken for the house of war.
Carroll draws on rich personal experience (his father was a top Pentagon official for more than 20 years) as well as exhaustive research and extensive interviews with Washington insiders, from Robert McNamara to John McCain to William Cohen to John Kerry. The result is a grand yet intimate work of history, unashamedly polemical and personal but unerringly factual.
©2006 James Carroll; (P)2006 Books on Tape