Christine's Reviews > The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals & the Truth about Global Corruption

The Secret History of the American Empire by John Perkins
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Aug 03, 07

bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended for: Citizens
Read in July, 2007

I haven't read anything this overtly, globally political since my Noam Chomsky/Howard Zinn/"Bananas, Beaches, and Bases" days - though I've retained the worldview those books inspired. This book picks up where those left off - in the early 90's - and discusses the role of the "corporatocracy" in ruling/destroying the world. (One thing learned so far: CitGo gas stations are owned by Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. So buy gas there.)

The book is divided into sections for each part of the world discussed: The Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America. Each section is further subdivided into vignette-sized chapters, and I thought it was chunked up really well to make the density of the information easy to digest. Each region was discussed in overview, given the author's "Economic Hit Man" (yes, he is the author of the earlier book) experiences in specific regions. For example, the current IMF-World Bank-U.S. induced crisis in Asia are put into the context of the author's extensive work in completely effing up Indonesia on behalf of US corporations, beginning in the 70's.

I liked the way connections were made between American corporations and the government that forcefully backs them: what has all seemed hazy to me in the past is now crystal clear.

All in all it only took me about 4 days to read - it is well worth the investment in time. I can see a lot of things people might take issue with: the writing isn't wonderful, the personal pronouns and anecdotes - while certainly making the subject matter "friendlier" - sometimes distract from the meat of the book. However, I found this book to be informative and important, and it has reinspired me to be a more responsible citizen.
No more needless shopping, no more sweat-shop clothes!
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