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Summary

War Is a Racket is Marine General Smedley Butler's classic treatise on why wars are conducted, who profits from them, and who pays the price. Few people are as qualified as General Butler to advance the argument encapsulated in his book's sensational title. When War Is a Racket was first published in 1935, Butler was the most decorated American soldier of his time. He had led several successful military operations in the Caribbean and in Central America, as well as in Europe during the First World War. Despite his success and his heroic status, however, Butler came away from these experiences with a deeply troubled view of both the purpose and the results of warfare.

©1935 Smedley D. Butler (P)2018 Dauphin Publications

What listeners say about War Is a Racket: Original Edition

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Mostly on point and worth 45 minutes of your time

This book takes the view point that the driving force behind war is profit. I would say I mostly agree with this statement.

One issue I had with some of his examples, such as how steel producers profits increase dramatically, is more down to market forces than anything else. You will use vastly more steel during a war and so a steel producer will make vastly more money. That doesn't mean a war was started because a steel tycoon wanted to increase his profits.

A really good point made was how military personnel pay a lot out of their own money for things that should be provided such as extra medical compensation. And 80 years on this is still the case!



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Brief

Interesting, depressingly to the point. It ended before I even realised it and I was a bit disappointed.

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  • AJC
  • 09-10-19

REQUIRED READING FOR AMERICA BEFORE RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Smedley Darlington Butler was a Major General in the United States Marine Corps. "Butler had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (along with Wendell Neville and David Porter) and the Medal of Honor, and the only Marine to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions." He was no armchair general. This small tome is Butler's showing of the futility of continued American military meddling and going to war. The book written in 1935 shows how industrialists aka Defense Contractors do very well, profit wise, with every U.S. Military adventure. With facts and figures Butler shows how, since the McKinley Administration, Corporations with their Amen Corner U.S. Generals and Admirals instigate conflict for their own gain. It's detail is eye opening when it comes to war profiteering. The performance by William Dougan is excellent and the story is a lesson for all flag waving Americans.

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  • alexid i martinez
  • 31-10-19

A must read for Military members and Veterans..

The General foresaw the future of the US Military, and Big Corporations.. Nothing has changed..

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  • Bobbie Lakomia-Hayman
  • 14-05-19

War is a Racket

I liked the History lesson and the views from a military background. I wanted more details of the general government big business conspiracy to rob The People using secrecy and propaganda so evident today. The beginnings of the Deep State and Shadow Government can be discerned
Listening to the narration. Really a useful book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-05-21

A great listen

General Butler hit the nail on the head. War is indeed a racket that needs to be smashed.

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  • Steven Kaminsky
  • 18-04-21

Relevant Then, Relevant Now

This is a very short but eloquent treatise on the nature, reasons, and politics of war, first published circa 1935.
Buttler’s historical references might seem obscure to us today, but they were quite well known in his day. But as the nature, reasons, and politics of war are the same now as they were then. This treatise remains as relevant now as it was in 1935.
Much has been written on this subject, all saying basically the same things as Butler said so well back then.
Very quick read, and even quicker to listen to! I highly recommend this book.

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  • IceSageAK
  • 26-02-21

timely read

war hasn't ever stopped. as once said, war only stops to rearm. lies, scams, death, all from the people who say we must get "them" before "they" get us

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  • Luis
  • 27-11-20

Remember or Repeat...

Great book change the scope and focus of the studies of cause and effect to todays issues and it still relates.
Seek truth, and you will find it.

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  • Rocky
  • 08-09-20

facts

great leader that spoke truths that are, sadly, still present today. the reality is the military complex is still getting filthy rich off the blood of young service members.

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  • cpk
  • 15-05-20

The General has a good point...

A general arguing against war is always fascinating, and general Butler is eloquent in his presentation. He is not a convert to pacifism, but outraged against deceit and exploitation. He describes vividly the appalling costs and the paltry benefits of this racket - to all but a few. He offers a solution that may be appear impractical to some, but he gets an A for effort.

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  • Erin Smith
  • 06-01-20

A quick and necessary read

Smedley Butler was the most decorated Marine of his time. His observations on the profitability and risk of war, the former in the hands of a select few and the latter spread amongst the citizenry and soldiers, are so insightful.

Why isn't everyone during wartime paid the same as a soldier risking his life in the trenches? Surely if the cause is just, no one should be making more than the soldier willing to die for us back home, the bankers and manufacturer's profit and risk nothing.