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Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  557 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
An eye-opening examination of Latin America's role as proving ground for U.S. imperial strategies and tactics

In recent years, one book after another has sought to take the measure of the Bush administration's aggressive foreign policy. In their search for precedents, they invoke the Roman and British empires as well as postwar reconstructions of Germany and Japan. Yet they
ebook, 304 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Metropolitan Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,182)
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Matthew WK
Jul 15, 2016 Matthew WK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grade: B+
A fascinating look at America's foreign policy and imperialist desires towards Latin America and how it shaped the war in Iraq. Grandin draws the line from 1970s America through the 1980s in Latin America and into the 21st century and the Iraq war. The promiment figures from the Iraq war (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Negroponte, etc...) all cut their teeth in Latin America during the 1980s; here they developed the propaganda, military techniques, and economic repression that would be brought to be
Simon Wood
Feb 07, 2014 Simon Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Empires Workshop stands a good head and shoulders above most works of this nature I have recently read. Grandin writes fluently about the relationship between the United States and Latin America over the last hundred years or so, identifying the continuities as well as the innovations. The only innovation that comes across as being halfway sensible is FDR good neighbour policy. The rest of the presidents would seem to require some sort of International ASBO to keep them
Sep 06, 2008 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to know about U.S. involvement in Central America
Shelves: central-america
U.S. policy in Latin America has served as a model for actions throughout the world especially the Middle East according to "Empire's Workshop". Unfortunately Greg Grandin doesn't make his point terribly well, although this book can serve an important function as an introduction to the role of the United States in creating and supporting right wing dictatorships, military coups against democratically elected governments and rule by terror.

El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua became, in Grandin'
Aug 17, 2013 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A number of George W. Bush’s supporters, both during and after his presidency (2001-2009), vocally expressed their belief that history would judge Bush’s polices favorably. In Empire’s Workshop, however, Greg Grandin judged Bush Administration policy in regard to historical precedent. Grandin traced the development and implementation of a new United States imperialism from the late 1970s to the present. In conflicts in Central America and financial crises across the region, Reagan Era neoconserv ...more
Mar 31, 2012 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super useful books for activists and radicals in understanding the extent of US imperial meddling in Latin America. But, this book is definitely a product of drinking too heavily the New Right/Bush Doctrine kool aid and lets liberals and Democratic politicians largely off the hook for their support for and leading of the right of the US government and corporations to push their economic and military might on other countries.
Jason Canada
Just as we are fed propaganda about Islam and the Middle East, so too are we fed lies about Nicaragua, Cuba, and most other Central American countries. Our government seeks to implant democracy in other countries while oligarchic neocapital corporatism is good enough for us here at home.
Jul 09, 2015 Pilar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As juvenile as this may sound, something that kept crossing my mind while reading this book was a lyric from a song in Disney's Pocahontas: "how can there be so much that you don't know you don't know?"

Empire’s Workshop: The United States, Latin America, and the Rise of the New Imperialism strives to explain to its readers how the "current" events taking place in Iraq and the Middle East are not only related to politically but also are extremely similar to the past 60 years in Latin America (thi
Zachary Fletcher
"'We're an empire now,' boasted a Bush staffer after the invasion of Iraq, 'and when we act, we create our own reality.'"
-pg. 237

I try to be sparing with the Orwell quotes and references, since they tend to be overused to the point of meaninglessness, but it would hard to find a more fitting summary for Empire's Workshop than "WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."

An unpleasant, disconcerting, revelatory book. I don't have enough base knowledge of the subject matter to make a
Nov 02, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sobering and impeccably detailed account of how the U.S.'s current nation building spree in Iraq and Afghanistan had its genesis in the neocon awakening of the 60s, 70s and 80s in developing foreign policy and interventionism in Latin America. The insidious and largely clandestine machinery used to usurp democratically elected governments in Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Mexico is illuminated in these pages, and in doing so Grandin's demonstrates how those f ...more
Rachel (OfBooksAndTeaBags)
I just... I don't even know what to do with this book. Read it for my class on Latin America during the Cold War. It was interesting but it took me forever to get through. Example: It normally takes me about an hour to read 60 pages. I had to read about 70 pages this morning to be ready for class discussion today and it took me almost three hours and I still had 14 pages left... But it was really interesting! Though it completely destroys how you look at some of the presidents. America really di ...more
Peter Jana
The central thread of Empire’s Workshop is that the war on terror – including the Iraq War – is an extension of policies pursued in Latin America during the Cold War. Grandin’s historical coverage is broad, but the focus is on the Reagan administration. In the 1980s, Neoconservative secularists and the religious right found common cause in promoting an aggressive foreign policy in El Salvador and Nicaragua – a policy that led to the creation and support of death squads, rural terror, and massacr ...more
Carlos Smith
Empire's Workshop reminds us of the often forgotten or untold sins The U.S. has committed in relation to Latin America for the past two centuries and how our exploitation of the continent evolved to become Bush's preemptive national security policy, the basis for the Bush Doctrine. Sure, there is a lot of history to cover if you consider yourself a novice in South & Central American history, but Grandin fills in the blanks pretty well.

The main lesson learned from this book is provocative and
Justin Evans
Jun 28, 2013 Justin Evans rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-etc
I didn't read this very closely after the first two chapters, for reasons that will become obvious, so I apologize to Mr. Grandin if the latter parts of this book are literary masterpieces. But:

there's a great paper in here on how the Bush administration's foreign policy was shaped by the U.S.'s experience in Latin America from the late '70s through to the present. Unfortunately, that's swamped by ridiculous claims (e.g., U.S. troops ignore human rights because they play video games; Christian m
Demetrius Lindsey
The United States has always believed in practice over theory. Latin America is the practice ground that the U.S. uses to better their ability to be an empire and global power. In this week’s book Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of New Imperialism the author demonstrates how the U.S. used Latin America as a testing ground and workshop for the formation of the American Empire. Greg Grandin is the author of the book, he is a professor at New York University and is ...more
Rob Mills
Jun 10, 2016 Rob Mills rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very well researched with an impressive accumulation of citations, though often they would be as casual as a NYT article. He runs through the history of US / Latam relations but, despite great amounts of detail on certain things and some direct quotes, it isn't really contextualised appropriately and thus falls a bit flat. I didn't leave with a greater understanding of Latin America or how US foreign policy interacted and changed cultures and institutions. This book is more a rant about how vari ...more
Ahmed El
Oct 01, 2015 Ahmed El rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant. Grandin makes the compelling case that current policies adopted by the US in the Middle East are only the natural extension of imperialist attitudes and policies adopted in Latin America (most particularly Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.) My only qualm is I'd have liked to see slightly more focus on the pre-"Good Neighbour Policy" colonization and occupation of Central America and Caribbean Islands.
Nathan  Fisher
Jun 01, 2016 Nathan Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm generally a fan of Grandin, but even so this was an impressive read -- demonstrates remarkable scope and expert perception, flowing freely between analysis and history -- especially recommended for those looking to shed remaining American sympathies, natch. Good on Grandin for keeping his eye on the economic determinations of imperialism as well.
Michael Brickey
Aug 07, 2008 Michael Brickey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: American Empire Project
Grandin does a good job underscoring the hemispheric policies of the US in the last century. His thesis ties the current neo-conservative foreign policy in the Mid-East with that of the Reagan administration's approach to Latin America. He also describes how US efforts toward "economic development" have often led to economic growth, but rarely to development. He does well to introduce the reader to corporate involvement in Latin America and how US policy has worked to preserve and grow corporate ...more
Larry K
good book. a lot of the info can be found in Naomi Klein's book shock doctrine which is a better book. definitely worth reading if you are interested in u.s. empire and crimes.
Jun 12, 2016 Roxana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second half of this book is definitely much better than the first half. Don't expect deep exploration of the issues in any particular Latin American country; rather, this book is a big picture analysis of howU.S. foreign policy tactics, strategies, and the resultant ideological apparatus to support them is being spread into the Middle East. One issue I had with this book was that too much credit was given to ideas, in that, in some passages it almost seems as if it is ideas themselves that a ...more
Zach Vaughn
Engaging book, some good information, and an interesting premise; however, the premise seemed underdeveloped because of the narrow focus on the "New Right."
Jun 04, 2007 Jon-Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read. It's not like any of the history in here is news to me at all, but the frame it's put it is new.

The idea is that the neo-conservative/hyperpower/preemptive foreign policy was first tested in Latin America in the post-Vietnam era, where we more or less always acted according to that policy.

It wakes you up to the reality that a lot of our talk about foreign policy includes a lot of implicit exceptions, and a lot of them include our actions in Latin America.

Americans were ask
Terry Earley
Dec 29, 2009 Terry Earley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very disturbing commentary on US treatment of countries in our own hemisphere. Although critical of both Republican and Democratic administrations, Grandin makes sense when he points out that the same neocons who designed and implemented policy in South and Central America were instrumental in US policies toward the Middle East, specifically in the invasion of Iraq.

The concluding chapter is especially damning when conventional wisdom, however false and exaggerated, of our "successes" in democr
Aug 18, 2012 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whatever policies the US wanted to impose on the world got their start in Latin America. Maybe this is news to some, to those of us who have lived there pay attention to history and the news, this isn't earth shattering. I'm sort of ambivalent about this book. Maybe Naomi Klein did it better, maybe I've already read a lot of this history so it made the book more of a chore to read than something where I felt I was learning something. Having read Silence on the Mountain, Bitter Fruit, and The Sho ...more
Ashley Cook
Mar 08, 2015 Ashley Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memorable-reads
one of my favorite books from my undergrad history classes
Eye opening book on what the US has done in Latin America.
Aug 09, 2011 May rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent overview of why Central and South America has issues with the US. At the same time I can understand why some readers, completely unknowlegeable of Latin America, might get a bit lost.

It is a bit biased, at the same time, it's hard to say the book wasn't fair. Indeed, it could have been much more harsh, but it takes on the difficult task of summarizing 60 plus years of US foreign politics in Latin America. The book definitely inspires me to read more about the various periods and people
Jan 31, 2016 Renee marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
High rating by Dr. S
Apr 16, 2014 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read.
Aug 16, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, book_club
I knew that the US had a hand in many of the violent histories of Latin American countries - but why? This book gets into the motivations behind policy, and how that policy was spun to Americans. It's as horrifying as you'd think, and the creepiest quotes of course are the ones straight from the people promoting the policies themselves. The author's main thesis is showing how the ideas and policies developed in Latin America now permeate national policy, especially in relation to Iraq.
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Obama, the U.S., and Latin America: Interview with Greg Grandin 1 15 Jun 23, 2009 12:34PM  
Bookshelf: Greg Grandin 1 4 Jun 23, 2009 09:02AM  
  • Latin America: From Colonization to Globalization
  • Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America
  • The Heart That Bleeds: Latin America Now
  • Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II
  • Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala
  • The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade
  • Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic
  • Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico
  • Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America
  • Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA
  • Whiteout: The CIA,Drugs and the Press
  • The Tragedy of American Diplomacy
  • Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America
  • The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War
  • The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?
  • Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
  • Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala
  • The Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History with Documents
Greg Grandin is the author of Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. A Professor of History at New York University, Grandin has published a number of other award-winning books, including Empire's Workshop, The Last Colonial Massacre, and The Blood of Guatemala.

Toni Morrison called Grandin's new work, The Empire of Necessi
More about Greg Grandin...

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“All told, U.S. allies in Central America during Reagan's two terms killed over 300,000 people, tortured hundreds of thousands, and drove millions into exile.” 2 likes
“In December 1981, the American-trained Atlacatl Battalion began its systemic execution of over 750 civilians in the Salvadoran village of El Mozote, including hundreds of children under the age of 12. The soldiers were thorough and left only one survivor. At first they stabbed and decapitated their victims, but they turned to machine guns when the hacking grew too tiresome (a decade later, an exhumation team digging through the mass graves found hundreds of bullets with head stamps indicating that the ammunition was manufactured in Lake City, Missouri, for the U.S. government).” 1 likes
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