The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World [NOOK Book]

Overview

From the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" comes an expos of international corruption. Perkins suggests how Americans can work to create a more peaceful and stable world for future generations.
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The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World

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Overview

From the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" comes an expos of international corruption. Perkins suggests how Americans can work to create a more peaceful and stable world for future generations.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101213735
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/5/2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 356,863
  • File size: 703 KB

Meet the Author

John Perkins is founder and president of the Dream Change Coalition, which works closely with Amazonian and other indigenous people to help preserve their environments and cultures. From 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas.T. Main, where he became chief economist and director of economics and regional planning. Perkins has lectured and taught at universities and learning centers on four continents and is a regular lecturer for the Omega Center.


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Reading Group Guide

NOTE: We recognize that reading is a personal experience, and we hope that the author interview and questions below will provide a springboard to provoke a lively discussion.
INTRODUCTION

The issues that John Perkins tackles in his new book, The Secret History of the American Empire, are both broader and more challenging than those described in his first bestseller, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Perkins makes an appeal for personal action by everyone who reads his book.

Perkins begins by explaining his motives for writing his first book and the reception it has enjoyed. He describes a book signing for Confessions in a Washington, D.C., bookstore, when two employees of the World Bank brought their sons to meet him and confessed that they often took part, incognito, in protests against the bank's policies. One of the bank's employees said to Perkins, "We need more whistle-blowers like you." The other advised him to write another book exposing the evil actions of the corporatocracy, and added, "And also give us hope. Offer our sons alternatives. Map out a way for them to do a better job."

Perkins describes the seven characteristics of empires, and posits that the corporatocracy, which he defines as the individuals who control our businesses, governments, and media, are in fact an empire bent on exploiting the rest of the world for its own gains. He then details experiences he and other economic hit men and jackals (hired assassins) have had in four regions of the world—Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa—which he maintains demonstrate in no uncertain terms the greed and ruthlessness the corporatocracy practices in protecting its selfish interests, often at the expense of the citizens of those regions and the environment at large.

Despite the genuinely horrifying nature of many of the events Perkins describes, he remains optimistic about the possibility that conscientious individuals can help stop the corporatocracy's domination of other cultures and its disregard of the planet's environmental future. He explores how nongovernment organizations and nonprofit organizations worldwide are countering the actions of the corporatocracy, and provides a list of specific actions that individuals can take to thwart the corporatocracy and achieve a sustainable and peaceful world for all its citizens.

ABOUT JOHN PERKINS

John Perkins is founder and president of the Dream Change Coalition, which works closely with Amazonian and other indigenous people to help preserve their environments and cultures. From 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas.T. Main, where he became chief economist and director of economics and regional planning. Perkins has lectured and taught at universities and learning centers on four continents and is a regular lecturer for the Omega Center.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Do you agree with Perkins' statement that the corporatocracy is in fact an empire? If so, why? If not, why not?
     
  • Perkins' characterization of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, is markedly different from the way he has been depicted in the mainstream media. How do you account for these differences? Which, if either, characterization do you find more plausible? Why?
     
  • The United States' war in Iraq is now in its fifth year. Perkins considers this war more dangerous to U.S. interests abroad than was the Vietnam war—he describes the Iraq war as a "clash of ideologies" rather than simply a regional conflict. What is your position on the Iraq war? Which, if any, of Perkins' opinions on the subject do you find valid? Why?
     
  • Perkins contends that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, which report to the executive branch of the United States government, authorized and in some cases carried out a number of assassinations of democratically elected leaders in Latin America and Africa who had refused to allow the corporatocracy to continue to do business as usual. Do you believe that any of these allegations are true? If so, why? If not, why not?
     
  • Perkins says that foreign governments that decline to be intimidated by the corporatocracy are routinely labeled "communist" by the U.S. government. What purpose would using the word "communist" serve in this context?
     
  • He also contends that most such governments, particularly those in Latin America, are trying to ensure that their national resources are used to benefit their own citizens rather than foreign countries and businesses. Would you describe such actions as "communistic"? Regardless of how they are labeled, do you believe that the resources of foreign countries should be fair game for acquisition by those with the most money and/or political clout?
     
  • Perkins says that the increased number of democratically elected leaders in Latin America who are systematically opposing the corporatocracy is proof that nations need not bow to foreign exploitation. What is your view on the subject?
     
  • Perkins charges that international corporations such as Nike are responsible for making the lives of sweatshop workers miserable. He cites the work of documentary filmmakers who have lived in the same conditions as Indonesian workers as proof. Do you think such information is valid? If so, how will it affect you personally?
     
  • Which of the incidents that Perkins describes in his book do you find the most disturbing? Why?
     
  • Several places in the book, Perkins states that male domination of the corporatocracy leads to its indiscriminate raping and pillaging of Third World cultures and the environment. On page 69, he describes the attitudes of the Shuar people of the Amazon, who believe that men are responsible for hunting, gathering firewood, and protecting their people from threatening tribes, and women are responsible for raising children, growing crops, looking after the home, and telling the men when they need to stop what they are doing. Do you think that giving women more say in running corporations, governments, and the media would improve the quality of life for the planet's inhabitants? Why or why not?
     
  • Perkins ends his book with a list of actions individuals can take to thwart the corporatocracy and bring about a more just and peaceful world. Interestingly, most of the items on his list are also recommended by organizations that strive to protect the environment and produce sustainable energy and agricultural resources. Why do you suppose this is so? What, if any, of the actions Perkins lists are you prepared to undertake yourself? Why?
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 6, 2011

    A 5 star read--a must for anyone who wonders what is really going on with our government, corporations, World Banks, the IMF and Politics!

    I have always been curious about why things "happen" or "work" the way they do, against the working class, against the poor, no good health plan for the citizens of the United States et al! John Perkins blows the whistle on the behind the scenes actions taken by the U.S. Govertment, the collusion between the World Bank, the IMF and the Corporations, institutions the U.S. Govt works with behind the scenes--the corporation names used for the U.S. Govt to launder "drug money from Columbia, the Corporations that train the Economic Hit Man types---the third world countries that have lost their democratically elected presidents because of U.S. Jackals ordered to take them "out" due to their lack of cooporation with the U.S. Govt! Any questions you might have could all be answered by reading this Volume by John Perkins. I give it the highest rating as I believe he has risked his life to inform the public on the matters he discusses in this book, along with the others he has written! This information should not be ignored--we all need to know what he discusses has happened and is happening now within our Government and in collusion with Corporations that are in the top 1%, while most of the rest of us are just trying to maintain a "survival" existence!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    The dream of living in a sustainable world with peace and social/economic/environmental justice is possible. "The Secret History of the American Empire" guides us toward such a possibility where in the future, there will be no more empire

    John Perkins wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man several years ago then followed that up with "The Secret History of the American Empire.

    Perkins is an insider that took part in some of the most manipulative and evil events of the 20th and 21st century. When the public believe that our tax dollars were spent to help the developing world, Perkins debunks that understanding by telling the story of how he and others in corporate America undermined democracy by bribing or killing heads of state that would not play along with the corporations that cared nothing about the worlds poor and environmental destruction, but rather manipulated countries into financial disaster so the USA would be able to create a global empire that benefited only the very few extremely rich Americans.

    Perkins books along with Chalmers Johnsons latest three books are important reading for those that want to know the truth about the dark side of corporate America and what we can do about reforming America in a 2nd US Revolution of a Dr. MLK nonviolent approach.

    These books represent the most inspiring and hopeful comments of our time.

    Perkins does not believe that corporations have a choice to help solve the worlds problems or continue on their destructive path. It is more about the culture of corporations that must be reformed to create this sustainable future.

    Those few that that make the big bucks and pull the strings of government and the media will not like this book.

    Those insider technocrats that agree with Perkins will love this book and we can expect more whistle blowing as a result.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2010

    Eye Opener

    This book sheds light on how truly corrupt our government and corporations are.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    A must read

    This is a true account of how our goverment takes adavantage of under developed countries in their early developing stages to gain economic advantages and future political obligations. We provide electricity, water and infrastructure, to poor oil rich countries.This allows us to gain access to future control of their economies,values,assets and political obligations.We destroy the old cultures and traditions in the name of US democracy. The World Bank 'actually US corporation owned' loans the poor countries money, charging large amounts of interest payments they can not every repay. This is when we 'USA' takes over the country from politically to militarliy. John Perkins leaned his trade from the little know supper secret intellegence agency, NSA. The National Security Agency controls the intel on all under developed and weak countries ready to be 'helped' by the World Bank. 'controlled by the NSA and selected member US corporations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Read it

    Read it and start to live your life to make it easier for others to live thiers.

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