Here, for example, is an incomplete list of Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s historical revisions, mostly concerned—as much of the book is—with the Cold War: If the United States hadn’t been resistant to assisting the Soviet Union in the late 1930s, then in throws of the Great Terror, Stalin would never have allied with Hitler’s Germany. The Nazi-Soviet pact was an attempt at buying time, because “Stalin understood that the Soviet Union’s turn was coming soon.” The brutal details of the alliance—Soviets and Nazi military cooperation, the violent bifurcation of Poland, the Soviet invasions of Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia—are ignored (Stalin, the authors say, “asserted control” over the Baltics and were guilty of “heavy-handed treatment of Eastern Europe,” a rather gentle way of describing an almost half-century of brutal occupation).

Did you know that the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II too was an anti-Soviet provocation, which “exacerbated Soviet fears of both a rearmed Germany and capitalist encirclement”? But the Soviets surely blockaded Berlin, right? No, they “attempted nothing of the sort.” In fact, the 1961 Berlin crisis was also precipitated by the United States, but “the Berlin Wall defused the immediate danger” of war. North Korea invaded the South with Moscow’s blessing, but “believing that a South Korean attack on the North was coming, Stalin decided to act first.” Why did the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan in 1979? Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, an “obsessed anti-communist” who, the authors note darkly, was a member of the Bilderberg Group and Trilateral Commission, “set the trap for the Russians in Afghanistan.”