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Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    Europhiles will hate this book

    I could not agree less with a couple of the poor ratings of this book. It is well researched and a read worth your time. While it is certainly understandable the French act primarily in their own interest the evidence presented is overwhelming that they are no friend of America.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2005

    MISSING FREEDOMS CALL

    'OUR OLDEST ENEMY' BY JOHN J. MILLER IS A REAL EYE OPENER. ITS ABOUT TIME THAT SOMEONE RESEARCHED AND DOCUMENTED THE MANY CASES WERE FRANCE HAS STOOD WITH THE ROGUE STATES AND AGAIST FREEDOM. I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN THE AMOUNT OF DOCUMENTATION AND RESEARCH THAT HAS GONE INTO THIS BOOK IS TOTALLY AMAZING. ITS A TRUE WAKE UP CALL. THIS BOOK NEEDS TO READ BY ALL ELECTED OFFICALS.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2005

    Not Harsh Enough!

    While the authors may have been disingenous in the first chapter when the French were our declared enemy, they could have hammered more towards the end, especially with the oil-for-buckets-of-money program where the French have made billions. The book is well sourced and comes to conclusions only after the evidence is irrefutilble. An excellent addition to anyone's library be you a francaphile or francophobe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2005

    Let's Be Clear About the Thesis . . .

    The reviews of this book swing between such extremes that I decided to do a little research of my own to see just what is going on here. The Library Journal charged that Miller and Molesky ignore the academic studies published by Henry Blumenthal and Jean-Baptiste Duroselle. So I looked up Blumenthal's 'A Reappraisal of Franco-American Relations, 1830-1871' and found the following: 'Contrary to popular notions, the relations between the two countries were not friendly. Usual references to the historic Franco-American friendship from the times of Lafayette to the present conveniently ignore crucial issues and petty incidents which led to a growing estrangement between Paris and Washington in the last century . . . Franco-American alienation in the mid-nineteenth century gradually developed and deepened as the result of a multitude of conflicting policies and viewpoints.' And in his 'France and the United States: Their Diplomatic Relations, 1789-1914' Blumenthal notes that 'the celebrated friendship between France and the United States has been a historical myth.' This is precisely Miller and Molesky's thesis. So, far from running afoul of Blumenthal's seminal works, Miller and Molesky are precisely on the same page. Duroselle's 'France and the United States: From the Beginnings to the Present', while noting many of the 'crucial issues and petty incidents' mentioned by Blumenthal, tends to whitewash the actions and motivations of French statesmen when discussing their antagonistic relations with the US. Duroselle's book is also a summary history and typically glosses over Franco-American frictions rather than exploring them in detail. Thus, there was probably a good reason for Miller and Molesky to ignore a book that wasn't exactly impartial or exhaustive. The problem, it seems to me, is that reviewers who are hostile to this book totally misunderstand what the book tries to (and does) achieve. The book is NOT a complete history of Franco-American relations and has no pretensions to historical exhaustiveness. Nor is it an attack on France by a couple of angry partisans. What it IS, is an exposure of the MYTH that France and the United States were nothing but close allies for 200 years before -- so the story goes -- George Bush stumbled into town and shot up the Baghdad corral. This myth is incredibly easy to refute and Miller and Molesky marshal an impressive body of evidence (spanning 300 years) to do just that. But they have by no means tried to prove that France has NEVER been our ally (or that it can't be again). What they have given us is the antagonistic side of Franco-American history - a side that is surprising, enlightening, sometimes shocking, and quite relevant to today's frictions between Paris and Washington. We should consider ourselves fortunate that France's worst intentions with regard to the US were never realized - otherwise we might think of it today as a positively hostile nation rather than simply an occasional thorn in our side. If you're looking for a complete introduction to the history of Franco-American relations I would recommend that you do the following: read Duroselle's 'France and the United States' and then read Miller and Molesky's 'Our Oldest Enemy' as a corrective to Duroselle's whitewashing of French antagonism and perfidy. Or read 'Our Oldest Enemy' first. It's a gripping and eye-opening reassessment of 'our oldest ally'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2004

    A great view of the French Fried...

    A very good insight of our history and relationship with France. A very eye-opening book with well thought points. I look forward to their view of the Russians.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2006

    horrid.

    more worthless republican hacks twisting history to fit their objectives. if you love hanitty, o'reilly or coulter, youll love this. however anyone with half a brain will see this book for the peice of garbage it is.........

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    Narrow minded

    A dreadful bigoted book with no real argument to speak of. Save your money.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    someone's hat was on too tight

    The point everyone seems to be missing is who cares if France is or never has been our best buddy. France is an independent nation that has its own Foreign Policy or have we become so arrogant that we have forgotten that. Can you imaging the reaction if the situation was reversed. Neo Conservative and Neo Liberals make me sick with the notion that they have just discovered France¿s role in affecting our foreign policy, anyone with half a brain knew this. Guess what, based upon the logic used in this book Britain really isn¿t our friend either, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, support for the South in the Civil War, closed blockade of Europe that restricted American Trade do you want me to continue, there is some news for yeah all. Just another attempted to sell an over-hyped book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2004

    A Disastrous Analysis

    This book makes some valid points about our relationship with France, but the author's case is seriously marred by numerous errors, omissions and misrepresentations. History should be accurate and objective. This book is neither.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2004

    What We Should Know About France

    Students of diplomatic history will find familiar material here. Their previous reading will have included scattered accounts of French perfidy in the New World and placed them on their guard against the myth of untarnished Franco-American amity. For the non-specialist, however, Miller and Molesky have performed an invaluable service by marshalling the salient facts into one book ¿ and a most engaging and well-written one at that. Their demolition of the aforementioned myth is complete (but restrained) as they guide us through 300 years of French misadventures with the United States. To be sure, the familiar facts of Franco-American friendship and assistance are recounted and form the background of the narrative. As these are well known they are explored in detail only when necessary (and perhaps when charity warrants that the authors not make France look as bad as it might deserve). The book, naturally, accentuates the negative but is hardly a litany of complaints. Facts are facts - and any student of Franco-American relations should understand how American friendships and alliances with France have been colored by deception, rivalry, and even open (though undeclared) war on the part of the French. The book¿s thesis may seem provocative ¿ but by the time the narrative reaches the First World War most readers should be thoroughly convinced of its truth. Diplomatic history may seem like a musty and pedantic business to most Americans but Miller and Molesky¿s well-paced argument and enlightening revelations successfully elicit the dialectical agility required to think of France as (often simultaneously) ally and enemy. Not, of course, an enemy of the Nazi or Soviet sort, but a persistent one nonetheless. Beginning with French massacres of New England colonists in the early 18th Century, the authors show us the transformation of colonial particularism into a more unified American identity as the several colonies propose a system of united defense against the French military encroachments that would come to be known as the French and Indian War of 1754. French aid during the Revolutionary War is accurately viewed in the light of balance-of-power struggles and France¿s wish to weaken its traditional rival Great Britain. The story of French assistance at Yorktown (which is not omitted, as the Publisher¿s Weekly reviewer mistakenly claims) is supplemented by an account of France¿s arrogant and often incompetent military ¿support¿ prior to and following that battle ¿ an account that would strike many Americans as ridiculously comical if it didn¿t at the same time demonstrate how French hauteur and stupidity nearly aborted the nascent American republic in its struggle with Britain. America¿s first naval victory, against France in the Quasi War of 1798-1800, is highlighted. Napoleon¿s sale of the Louisiana Territory to the United States is placed in its proper context and his chicanery in getting America to declare war on Britain (rather than France) in 1812 is detailed. Napoleon III¿s designs on weakening the US by supporting the South in the Civil War, his Mexican adventure, and his follies in general are well-handled by the authors. American military aid to France in the First and Second World Wars is juxtaposed against French¿s self-defeating nationalist intransigence during and after these conflicts. The authors take note of Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa during which French Vichy troops mercilessly attacked the Americans who were coming to liberate them. (Tip of the hat to the authors: I have not noticed an account of this episode in any of the other major histories of Franco-American relations.) Vietnam, the Cold War (during the latter stages of which France proved to be a considerable help to the US ¿ a fact which has not escaped the authors), and Iraq ¿ all these conflicts are dealt with expertly by Miller and Molesky. Two things need to be added, however. When diplomatic h

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