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In past centuries, U.S. political leaders described America as divinely founded and guided; some still do. But now leaders generally secularize their language, speaking of American exceptionalism. Whether this idea is endorsed or criticized, the issue is now usually discussed in terms of the American Empire, whether it is benign or malign. The chapters of this book show that the American empire has been more malign than benign, more demonic than divine.

“This sharp, concise history of the American Empire ultimately demonstrates, in Griffin’s analysis, the fraud of endorsing self-praising American Exceptionalism. A must read.”






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In The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic? David Ray Griffin traces the trajectory of the American Empire from its founding through to the end of the 20th century. A prequel to Griffin’s Bush and Cheney, this book demonstrates with many examples the falsity of the claim for American exceptionalism, a secular version of the old idea that America has been divinely founded and guided.

The Introduction illustrates the claims for divine providence and American exceptionalism from George Washington to the book Exceptional by Dick and Liz Cheney. After pointing out that the idea that America is an empire is no longer controversial, it then contrasts those who consider it benign with those who consider it malign. The remainder of the book supports the latter point of view.

The American Trajectory contains many episodes that many readers will find surprising:

  • that the sinking of the Lusitania was anticipated, both by Churchill and Wilson, as a means of inducing America’s entry into World War I;
  • that the attack on Pearl Harbor was neither unprovoked nor a surprise;
  • that during the “Good War” the US government plotted and played politics with a view to becoming the dominant empire;
  • that there was no need to drop atomic bombs on Japan either to win the war or to save American lives;
  • that US decisions were central to the inability of the League of Nations and the United Nations to prevent war;
  • that the United States was more responsible than the Soviet Union for the Cold War;
  • that the Vietnam War was far from the only US military adventure during the Cold War that killed great numbers of civilians;
  • that the US government organized false flag attacks that deliberately killed Europeans; and
  • that America’s military interventions after the dissolution of the Soviet Union taught some conservatives (such as Andrew Bacevich and Chalmers Johnson) that the US interventions during the Cold War were not primarily defensive.

The conclusion deals with the question of how knowledge by citizens of how the American Empire has behaved could make America better and how America, which had long thought of itself as the Redeemer Nation, might redeem itself.

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Weight .5 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 5 × 2 in
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David Ray Griffin


5 reviews for THE AMERICAN TRAJECTORY: Divine or Demonic?

  1. Pepe Escobar

    “David Ray Griffin has done it again. His new book should be read as a prequel to the seminal Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World.

    Supported by extensive research, Griffin thoroughly debunks the myth of an American Empire as a benign, exceptionalist, divinely ordained historical agent. Instead of Manifest Destiny, what reality-based Griffin charters is the ‘malign’ ways of US foreign policy since the 19th century; a trajectory founded by slavery and genocide of indigenous peoples and then imperially expanded, non-stop. ‘Malign’ happens to be a term currently very much in vogue acrossthe Beltway—but always to designate US competitors Russia and China.

    Griffin consistently challenges Beltway gospel, demonstrating that if the US had not entered WWI, there may have been no WWII. He unmasks the lies surrounding the true story of the Pearl Harbor attacks. He asks: If the US was really guided by God, how could it ‘choose’ to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, knowing that ‘the atomic bombs were not necessary to end the war?’ Griffin also shows how the Cold War was actually conceptualized several years before the 1950 National Security Council paper 68 (NSC-68). He revisits the origins of irrational hatred of Iran; the demonization of Cuba; the lies surrounding the Vietnam debacle; the false flags across Europe via Operation Gladio; the destruction of Yugoslavia; the decades-long evisceration of Iraq; and the ramifications of the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine. This sharp, concise history of the American Empire ultimately demonstrates, in Griffin’s analysis, the ‘fraud’ of endorsing self-praising American Exceptionalism. A must read.”
    Pepe Escobar, Asia Times/Hong Kong; author of 2030 and Empire of Chaos

  2. Stephen Lendman

    “Since the turn of the 20th century, through two global wars and numerous others to follow, including current ones raging in multiple theaters, America’s longstanding aim is to control planet earth, its resources and populations. Griffin explains it in lucid detail, America’s imperial history, rarely taught in US classrooms to the highest levels of higher education. Readers can get it all in Griffin’s important new book. It’s vital truth-telling, explaining the American way – responsible for inflicting enormous harm on countless millions at home and
    Stephen Lendman

  3. Edward Curtin

    “David Ray Griffin, in book after book since the attacks of 11 September 2001, has meticulously exposed the underside of the American empire and its evil masters. His persistence in trying to reach people and to warn them of the horrors that have resulted is extraordinary. Excluding his philosophical and theological works, this is his fifteenth book since 2004 on these grave issues of life and death and the future of the world.

    In this masterful book, he provides a powerful historical argument that right from the start with the arrival of the first European settlers, this country, despite all the rhetoric about it having been divinely founded and guided, has been “more malign that benign, more demonic than divine.” He chronologically presents this history, supported by meticulous documentation, to prove his thesis.
    Edward Curtin


    “David Ray Griffin is a master of the art of courageously, constructively and meticulously exposing and debunking dangerous disinfectant for brainwashed minds. Just as his previous book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World, was essential reading to understand the world in which we now live,The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic? is essential reading to understand the true nature of the ‘exceptional’ role of the United States in world affairs—past, present and future.”
    JOHN WHITBECK, International lawyer; author of
    The World According to Whitbeck


    “This new book by David Ray Griffin is essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the dark side of US Imperialism in its global context.“
    DR. DANIELE GANSER, Director Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy
    Research; author of many books, including NATO’s Secret Armies.

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