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Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  564 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The long-awaited final volume of Chalmers Johnson's bestselling
Blowback trilogy confronts the overreaching of the American empire and the threat it poses to the republic



In his prophetic book Blowback, Chalmers Johnson linked the CIA's clandestine activities abroad to disaster at home. In The Sorrows of Empire, he explored the ways in which the growth of American militaris
...more
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Metropolitan Books (first published February 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,229)
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Trevor
Stunning! This is an even better book than Blowback, which I thought was mind blowing. I am going to have to track down part two of this trilogy. This was almost painful to read. The detailed retellings of US involvement in torture at the start left me once again reeling in disbelief – no matter how often I hear this story I still find it hard to believe. The lies, deceptions and shameful punishments handed out to those who went against the President and told the truth reads like the most improb ...more
Beth
This book was both hard and easy to read. I thought it was going to be very difficult to get through but in fact, by reading just one chapter a night, I was able to get through it quickly and easily, time-wise that is. There are only 7 chapters and each one is only 30 pages or so in length.
On the other hand, this book was very difficult to read because, as an American, I read it with such a heavy heart. I have read many books now about how horrible our government has been and the terrible deeds
...more
Matthew
I've read a few books like this--leftist critiques of American foreign policy--in the last few years, and I often find them problematic. Many of them have good information, and good research, and good writing. But in the end don't really amount to anything.

I feel like Nemesis is one of these. I already know that American foreign policy is arrogant, aggressive, and short-sighted. I already know that the CIA tortures people. I already know that the Bush administration has drastically increased exe
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Ron
If you want a book that deeply explores why America seems to be (I'm being hopeful) headed down the wrong river, this is it -- with discussions on the rise of militarism; a comparison of Rome, Britain & America; the sordid history of the CIA; the basing of soldiers anywhere on the globe America pleases; the drive to militarize outer space; and more. To really get the full impact of what Chalmers Johnson is saying (and warning us all about), you should read the whole trilogy: "The Sorrows of ...more
Chloe
I've been a big fan of Johnson's past two books, Blowback and The Sorrows of Empire and have been looking forward to reading this most recent work since I first heard of it. However, where the previous two books clearly positioned US' foreign policy as an off-shoot of the militarism which infects every level of our economy and warned that the US' overseas adventures (everything from overthrowing unfriendly governments to funneling arms to other governments) would eventually lead to a blowback ag ...more
Nick
Chalmers Johnson's third book about the pernicious influence of militarism on our country is excellent. I was a participant in or observer of many of the incidents Dr. Johnson discussed in his first book, "Blowback", and worked with him when I was the US Information Agency's Japan desk officer from mid-1985 through mid-1987. Dr. Johnson, a patriotic, Republican economist with extensive international experience, raises interesting questions about the extent to which "the military-industrial compl ...more
Eric Gulliver
This book is the the third installment from Chalmers Johnson that was preceeded by Blowback and The Sorrows Of Empire. It is the continuation of his thesis that spans the three books contending that militarism and a permanent war economy are incompatible with our republican form of government. In Nemesis (with a subtitle of "The Last Days of the American Republic," Johnson's primary objective is to demonstrate his fear of what the future will hold in terms of current patterns of preventive war a ...more
AC
This book is not as rich or as original as "Sorrows of Empire" -- it is more journalistic, and less sustained. The material is also largely familiar to anyone who has read the newspapers or any books over the period concerned (Iraq). Finally, written before the Financial Crisis -- the GFC, aka, "The Great Fuck-up" -- the perspective has been somewhat overtaken by events.

Johnson, for example -- with the image of the collapse of the Soviet Union in mind - thought that the extension of empire woul
...more
Kevin
I thought this book was great. A brilliant argument of the absurdity of the war on terror and really interesting history of the CIA. An interesting side note: I listened to part of this book on audiobook (sorry, i downloaded it for free) at work in the hospital cafeteria, not on headphones (because they are prohibited) but on loud computer speakers. other people would listen for a few seconds and then remark on how sad it made them feel. I'm pretty sure the rest of the staff thought I was insane ...more
Kohl Gill
Jan 28, 2011 Kohl Gill rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All U.S. citizens, and folks who question militarism, imperialism
Recommended to Kohl by: Bill Moyers
Shelves: audible, listened
Phenomenal. I already plan on reading this again in a while. What surprised me most were the parallels with thinkers like Thomas Barnett, as well as the notion of completely disbanding the CIA.
Eduardo
Reading this in 2014, after reading Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, both of which were published before the full effects of America's most current interventions in the Middle East, gives the reader a chance to process how our country has arrived at this point in history.

This is not a pleasant tale and it does not have a happy ending (although, Johnson gives us a way out: Dismantling the Empire: A
...more
Ebadur
I didn't read the earlier books (The Sorrows of Empire & Blowback) by Johnson who recently passed away (see http://nationalinterest.org/node/4457). This one was quite detailed in its documentation of military bases our country has around the world, the money that goes into 'defense' and space 'star wars' programs, the CIA...way too much power to the executive branch which is not checked at all, and the move in the direction of a dictatorship, if not in name, certainly in practice...it's all ...more
Aaron Crossen
Johnson has been maligned in the past for shoddy research and a conspiratorial bent, but I found shades of neither in his this most recent work. In fact, the military archives are cited more frequently in his notes than any other source and his overarching thesis is hardly conspiratorial: militarism and imperialism threaten the constitution of the United States and the liberties it grants; not some shady Deus Ex syndicate. Like one of my professors said, it feels good to read an old-fashioned le ...more
Bruce Sanders
This book is about the end of the U.S. as a republic. Early on the book looks at the death of the Roman Republic as it turned to empire to keep the lands it conquered, and conversely the decision of the British to disengage from empire to keep their democracy. It compares the current situation in the US and argues that we are at that tipping point where we must choose empire or democracy. The book then begins to detail the horrors of our post-1945 imperialism. I was not ignorant of most of this, ...more
Vintagejunkeedotcom
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Alex
Sep 12, 2011 Alex marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
By now I have watched interview with Chalmers Johnson devoted to this book.
http://blip.tv/eons-video-blog/declin...
Chalmers Johnson, author of "Blowback, Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic" talks about the similarities in the decline of the Roman and Soviet empires and the signs that the U.S. empire is exhibiting the same symptoms: over-extension, corruption and the inability to reform.
This interview was done in 2007 ? during Bush presidency times and being
anti
...more
Andy
Phenomenal research and historical accounts of past and present empires, their key players and the schemes that make them rise and fall. I listened to the audio book as I travel daily and it was outstanding. Governments are the scourge of mankind and only attract the worst of the human race with Amerika leading the way in the 21st century. They aren't going to teach you any if this in your public school curriculum.
Kevin
Interesting book. I checked it out from the library on the recommendation of Bill Moyers. Very critical of the United States' imperialistic tendencies with particular detail on the George W. Bush administration. Most, if not all, of the criticism is warranted, but the book tended to go on and on and not really provide any solutions except for the U.S. to change its ways lest it end up crumbling like the Roman Empire.

I skipped a number of the middle chapters because it just wasn't moving along. T
...more
Jay
I really liked this book, though it seemed to wander at the end. I feel that the author could have consolidated the last few chapters a bit, and flesh out his summation a bit more. The author has some very profound points, and his sources seem credible. While obviously on the left hand spectrum of the political debate, there was little partisan rhetoric in the book, which is something all authors must strive to achieve in this delicate political landscape. With that in mind, I find that both sid ...more
Dave Mac
Dec 27, 2007 Dave Mac rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Interesting read. Chalmers Thesis is the American Republic is in danger of collapsing due to the rise of it's military industrial complex, the presidents power growing to resemble that of a pseudo-dictator and the governments attempts to expand their hegemony around the world. Nemesis is very well written and Chalmers makes a provocative argument. For those who are read up on American secrecy and foreign policy might find this a little redundant at times. I will say that Chalmers seems to tout f ...more
Joey
to be honest, all three books kind of repeat themselves, verbatim at times. it was definitely provocative and shocking to see some of the blatant atrocities of the executive administrations, as well as clear imperialistic tendencies of our country. chalmers' thesis sort of hovers around the following point: you can have an imperial empire, or you can have a democracy. he offers rome as an example to what happens to democracy when you keep the empire, and britain as a counter example, who forwent ...more
Hollowman
One is not an America or USA basher/hater for reading and recommending Johnson's books. He -- like Zinn, Chomsky and Vidal -- I think genuinely wants to protect his homeland from opportunistic exec-level intellectuals (= certain upper-level politicians in govt. and/or corporate execs [often they are one and the same!]) with either deliberate imperialistic agendas ... and/or self-interest agendas that result in imperialistic consequences. It gets complicated! But the results are not: expensive wa ...more
Nilesh
It makes sense in the overall sense but the point is too small and to a degree even obvious to fill such a large book just proving it. There are other drawbacks: too many facts, too stretched comparisons with the previous two empires, inability to see "everytime is largely different", and any thorough analysis of what's next. I guess this is a book worth reading if you have been a huge fans of American wars or CIA or Rumsfeld for an alternative view, otherwise there are better books on the dark ...more
Chammon
Dec 17, 2007 Chammon added it
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in preserving democracy in the U.S.A.
Johnson draws interesting parallels between the rise and fall of the Roman, British, and American Empires. Best statement of the book is that democracy and empire are incompatible. The people, given the truth, will not support the repression abroad and the drain of maintaining massive military at home that is necessary to maintain an empire. The last chapters are an excellent reference on the strategic defense initiative and weapons in space and on U.S. military bases abroad.
TheTyee.ca
May 20, 2008 TheTyee.ca added it
Shelves: reviews
One unexpected consequence of the Internet's avalanche of online information has been the rise of the book -- especially in the field of politics.

Day-to-day news increasingly appears on the web, massively annotated by bloggers and their readers. A given person or event may pop to the surface of the flood and then disappear -- only to reappear days or weeks later, in a totally different...
Read more...
http://thetyee.ca/Books/2007/06/26/Ch...
Jef
Feb 09, 2009 Jef rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio
America maintains an imperial set of military bases throughout the world, many of which are the source of intense hatred of Americans (as in Okinawa) We can not maintain this empire without loosing our democracy and going broke. Since W has been in power, the militarization of space has been of prime importance. The rest of the world is banding together to attempt to overcome American hegemony of space.
Brian
Chalmers Johnson has some good points about how the CIA does whatever the hell it wants and how the military industrial complex is out of control. But he fails to look at the bigger picture, that the United States is a force for peace and has brought global stability even if it has screwed up many times along the way. This book is entertaining but does not show the whole truth of the matter.
Robert Brents
Scary what's already been lost...
Chris
This book gave me a whole lot to think about. While I'm not sure the US is going the way of the Roman Empire, he makes a strong argument for how our global military over-reach has stretched us too far, fiscally and otherwise. A worthwhile read for anyone concerned about America's place in the world in the 21st Century.
Carmen
Dec 18, 2007 Carmen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
I'm not done with it yet, but Chalmers Johnson is as incisive as ever in accounting for the missteps that the U.S. has taken and in rendering ourselves more isolated and hated in the world. He gets to the core of the matter in very lucid and interesting prose, citing facts and engaging the reader with his wit.
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Chalmers Ashby Johnson was an American author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He fought in the Korean war, from 1967-1973 was a consultant for the CIA, and ran the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley for years. He was also president and co-founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute, an organization promoting public education a ...more
More about Chalmers Johnson...
Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope Blowback, Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (American Empire Project) An Instance of Treason: Ozaki Hotsumi and the Sorge Spy Ring

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