Oliver Stone made such iconic films as Platoon, Wall Street, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, Salvador, and W.
Peter Kuznick is professor of history and director of the award-winning Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and is currently serving his fourth term as distinguished lecturer with the Organization of American Historians. He has written extensively about science and politics, nuclear history, and Cold War culture.
The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.
Their dialogue brings to light a number of forgotten—or deliberately buried—episodes of American history, from the US intervention against the Russian Revolution to the dynamic radicalism of the Wobblies; how Henry Wallace's nomination for the vice presidency was deliberately thwarted by Democratic Party machine insiders, to the ongoing close connections between various US presidents and the Saudi royal family.
For Stone and Ali—two of our most insightful observers on history and popular culture—no topic is sacred, no orthodoxy goes unchallenged.
Tariq Ali is an internationally acclaimed Pakistani writer and filmmaker. He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics and seven novels (translated into over a dozen languages) as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review and lives in London.
Oliver Stone has directed, among other films, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, W., World Trade Center, Any Given Sunday, Nixon, Natural Born Killers, Heaven and Earth, JFK, The Doors, Born on The Fourth of July, Talk Radio, Wall Street, Platoon, Salvador, and the documentaries Looking for Fidel, Comandante, Persona Non Grata, South of the Border, and the upcoming Forgotten History of the United States series for Showtime.