• A True History of the United States

  • Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism (Sunlight Editions)
  • By: Daniel Sjursen
  • Narrated by: Daniel Sjursen
  • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

“Thought-provoking - a must read for [everyone] seeking a firm grasp of accurate American history."  (Kirkus starred review)

Brilliant, listenable, and raw. Maj. (ret.) Danny Sjursen, who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point, delivers a true epic and the perfect companion to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.

Sjursen shifts the lens and challenges readers to think critically and to apply common sense to their understanding of our nation's past - and present - so we can view history as never before.

A True History of the United States was inspired by a course that Sjursen taught to cadets at West Point, his alma mater. With chapter titles such as "Patriots or Insurgents?" and "The Decade That Roared and Wept", A True History is accurate with respect to the facts and intellectually honest in its presentation and analysis.

  • Essential reading for every American with a conscience.
  • Meticulously researched, Sjursen provides a more complete sense of history and encourages readers to view our country objectively.
  • Sjursen’s powerful storytelling reveals balanced portraits of key figures and the role they played. 

"Sjursen exposes the dominant historical narrative as at best myth, and at times a lie ... He brings out from the shadows those who struggled, often at the cost of their own lives, for equality and justice. Their stories, so often ignored or trivialized, give us examples of who we should emulate and who we must become." (Chris Hedges, author of Empire of Illusion and America: The Farewell Tour)

©2021 Daniel Sjursen (P)2021 Truth to Power

Critic Reviews

"An engaging warts-and-all history of the US meant to better educate those who fight for it.... Strongly written and thought-provoking - a must-read for nonhistorians seeking a firm grasp of accurate American history." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

“Sjursen’s analysis compels the reader to think critically, in order to move beyond the half-truths that keep us from collectively solving America’s most persistent and damaging inequities.” (Seattle Book Review)

"Eye-opening and thought-provoking...for anyone wanting a solid and more complete understanding of our shared history, this is a great book to have." (Lily Bartels of The Open Door Bookstore on Northeast Public Radio) 

What listeners say about A True History of the United States

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The raw facts are good but the info is very bias.

The raw facts are good but the info is very bias. As a PhD researcher I love good book full of fact and data to back them up. Sadly this book is full of personal bias and cherry picking info to make a point. I scored it lower then I would have due to this author is a professor and is bosting on his teaching of this information. If you like good clean and non bias info in a historical context this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a point of view from an author who at times seems as if they have an axe to grind then you might like the style and leading commentary of the author.

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For a time such as this

This book truly was a honest look at American history. It was very well researched and written. I also think the fact that it is written and read ( with a few momentary stumbles and restarts) by a West Point grad, combat veteran and professor gives it all kinds of credence and credibility. This man is NOT an arm chair philosopher, pontificating from the safety of an ivory tower. He is someone who has invested and sacrificed for this country, and has more than earned the right to critique it...warts and all. It also includes the scholarship and perspectives of all kinds of Americans. I was impressed by his command of African American history, the history of Native People, and Women's suffrage. Ultimately, he brings more light than heat, working hard to illuminate a path forward that includes us all instead of a privileged few. Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. Daniel is giving us an opportunity to make an informed decision to change course. We should take him up on his offer. Well done, sir.

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Narrator Drones on.

The narrator makes this material unbearable. The incessant necessity to focus on identity with out justification falls flat. I’m not sure who missed this material in school, but most won’t make it through this ear bleeding narrator.

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Wow! Best history book ever!

wow! This is the best history book ever. So insightful, I learned a lot, and I'm a student of History so that's really saying something. I know enough to know that this guy was right on, that he nailed it. Fantastic book. You'll love it!

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A True History of the United States

I have listened to it three times. Excellent work. Every American should read it. Sadly, they will not.

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excellent

excellent, a must listen and the truth about America's past. a worthy moral man in the mold of Noam Chomsky

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Myth makers cover your eyes and ears!

While it is somewhat encouraging to me to learn that we have occasionally lived through worse times I do not feel very optimistic about escaping our present state of delusion.
As the author points out we have missed many opportunities to become a nation that is responsible to and for its citizens so what evidence do we have that this behavior will change?
I do want to thank Mr. Sjursen for writing this book. I hope it helps.

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Need narrator

I'm big on the authors doing the narration but this should have someone else badly.

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An unflinching review of American history

This book puts together the bits of American history we all know but we’re afraid to say out loud In a single narrative. Even if you’re well versed in American history you will probably learn something new or see something in a different light with this book.

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A long shallow walk through history

Any work that takes on 400 years of history has to be pared down for length. So it is not surprising that this work would skim through a great of the history it covers.

While it is the sort of work the CRT panic crowd hates because it does not spend its time repeating the mythical fantasies of sort you got in your grade school or junior high history classes, it suffers from the same lack of depth. It highlights some different facts than what you heard in your early history classes.

But like those classes, it is prone to simplifying the stories by leaving out many aspects of what happened, who was involved, and numerous force at play that fully explain what transpired.

I will pick on one example. The Kennedy presidency chapters presented a beat down of the myth that JFK was a liberal hero and treated it as one of incompetence and malfeasance. The Bay of Pigs, Cuban missile crises, and failure to lead Civil rights are concluded to be critical flaws of the JFK presidency.

But you will not be exposed to the forces that played enormous roles in driving the policies. Dulles, Hoover, and Johnson are barely mentioned as surface characters, the Warren Report is not discussed, or any aspect of the assassination of JFK at the hands of malevolent forces in the government considered. The conclusion presented is JFK was a crappy president. It is easy to make such conclusions when you cherry pick the critique and state opinions unwarranted by evidence presented.
The reader has to be satisfied with ignoring mountains of evidence that are counter to the claim, ignorant of the history such as not able to see the deficiency of the opinions, or not have lived through it to have any sense of the time.

The work is not terrible, and it is not a hack job of the type you get from right wing sources. But if you have more than superficial knowledge of history, you will be disappointed with areas that you know about when discussed in this book. By being a shallow work, you will not enhance what you may already be familiar with, and you have to question the value of topics that you are not that familiar with knowing that this work cuts out significant aspects, and presents conclusions based on partial information, or at least does not demonstrate that the author researched at any significant depth.

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  • Bill Atkinson
  • 02-12-22

Eye opening

A story which puts things into context. Strips away fantasy and sets the US in a more correct light. Exposes the hype and demonstrates that after 240 years, like all empires, it’s on its downward spiral. Whilst not a perfect edit or slick production I enjoyed hearing it from the writer. It gave authenticity

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  • D.
  • 12-29-21

Very good book

In order to fully understand current events and apparent insanity of the political class of the most powerful nation in the world, one first has to understand its history. Well written and concise. Highly recommended.