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Myth of a Guilty Nation

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This was Albert Jay Nock's first great anti-war book, a cause he backed his entire life as an essential component of a libertarian outlook.

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This was Albert Jay Nock's first great anti-war book, a cause he backed his entire life as an essential component of a libertarian outlook. The book came out in 1922 and has been in very low circulation ever since. In fact, until this printing, it has been very difficult to obtain in physical form.

The narrative has incredible staying power. The burden of the book is to prove American war propaganda to be false. The purpose of the war was not to liberate Europe and the world from German imperialism and threats. Today most everyone knows and understands this, but this was not known in 1922. If there was a conspiracy, it was by the allied powers to broadcast a public message that was completely contradicted by its own diplomatic cables.

Nock's book reminds us of what most everyone has forgotten, namely, that this was sold as a war for freedom and self-determination over imperial ambition. Along with that came some of the most rabid war propaganda ever fabricated until that point in time, all designed to make Germany into a devil nation. Nock's brave book took on that idea and demonstrated that there was fault enough to go around on all sides. All through the 1920s, a Nockian-style retelling of the facts behind the war led to a dramatic shift in public opinion against World War I.

As the introduction by Anders Mikkelsen points out, "Nock makes the reader aware of the great extent to which the allied politicians continually lied to blame Germany and justify the war, or at least told stories with no regard for the truth. No wonder Hitler found British propaganda so inspiring. In fact the story at the time made it sound like Germany was trying to overrun Europe the way Hitler temporarily did a few decades later.

"What makes this book worth reading is not whether this is the best explanation for WWI. It is worth seeing how small groups of state officials engaged in secret actions that led to a catastrophic war, and continually lied throughout the whole process to provide themselves ideological cover."

For lovers of Nock's work, this book is a fantastic addition. For those who have never encountered his writing, this book shows how he came to be such a powerful force in the world of literature and letters in the years between the wars.


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(based on 2 reviews)

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by Christopher Gray
on 12/12/2011
from Charlottesville
A very interesting read
It is obvious that Mr Ford has not read this book before he wrote his review, because he would not have made such a general statement about Germany/The German Reich/The Third Reich. 

Nock actually presents facts, and only facts, to make the case that The German Reich was not the war-mongering state it has been marked as pre-WWI. Nothing more, nothing less. He is not talking about "Lebensraum" which was not an issue and as a term did not even exist pre-WWI, but only came up with the rise of the National Socialists a good twenty years later. 

BTW, the reasoning for the implied compulsive aggression of the German Reich provided by Mr Ford could in the same way be applied to Russia, the UK, and with the exception of "monarchial" to France of the pre-WWI-era. Nock provides a more coherent and compelling argument for his point of view. 

The only mistake I found: it was not "Archduke Franz Joseph" who was assassinated in Sarajevo, but Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Franz Joseph was the emperor.
by William Ford
on 8/31/2011
from Chicago
Mises vs Nock
Read Professor von Mises own work on German history,Omnipotent Government.Then consider how naive Nock is.Germany was ruled by a statist ideology,and its government acted in consonance with it.Protectionism and Monarchical Socialism necessitated aggressive war,in place of the undesired free trade that would have precluded such folly.Lebesraum was one of its purpose,as was WWII.
  For a group working under the name L.von Mises,you owe much more to a more naive American folly than Pofessor von Mises sagacityYou presume to be his moral superiors.Read his aforementioned book.You sell it without comprehension.But thanks for his system being part of your enterprise,nonetheless.
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ISBN 9781610166980
eISBN 9781610163835
Publisher LvMI
Publication Date 08/22/2011
Binding PB
Page Length 124
Dimensions 4.25 x 7

Myth of a Guilty Nation - Digital Book
This was Albert Jay Nock's first great anti-war book, a cause he backed his entire life as an essential component of a libertarian outlook.
Price: $5.00