War is a Racket

This piece has the distinction of being the first non-audio book  I read in years. That's ok, it was written in 1935! 


I first learned about General Smedley Butler in college. He was presented in my history class as a patriot and war hero. He was a 2-time Medal of Honor recipient, and one the most decorated soldiers in US History. He may have been all of those things, but he was also a great deal more. He was also an author and a staunch anti-war activist. After he retired, General Bulter went on a tour across the US to denounce war, in all of it's forms. His speeches were so popular he made them into a book - War is a Racket

If you asked me to read the book and didn't tell me the author's name or time period when it was written I would have sworn that this was written by a modern-day hipster from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Yet it was written in post-WWI America, and just a few years before the US would enter WWII. I find this fascinating! I'm simultaneously intrigued by this book, and deeply disappointed that it wasn't mandatory reading at any point in my 15 years of formal education.

The reason I feel so robbed of the knowledge of this book is that, whether or not you agree with General Butler, it provides a unique perspective about the time period. Here is a two-star general talking about how deeply sad, wasteful, greedy and unproductive war is. He sights specific examples and provides a strong case for his argument. 

This book is short - 51 total pages in length. Yet it's full of insight. I highly recommend reading it, no matter your political leanings.