The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption

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In his stunning memoir, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins detailed his former role as an "economic hit man" in the international corporate skullduggery of a de facto American Empire. This riveting, behind-the-scenes expose unfolded like a cinematic blockbuster told through the eyes of a man who once helped shape that empire. Now, in The Secret History of the American Empire, Perkins zeroes in on hot spots around the world and, drawing on interviews with other hit men, jackals, reporters, and ...
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Overview

In his stunning memoir, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins detailed his former role as an "economic hit man" in the international corporate skullduggery of a de facto American Empire. This riveting, behind-the-scenes expose unfolded like a cinematic blockbuster told through the eyes of a man who once helped shape that empire. Now, in The Secret History of the American Empire, Perkins zeroes in on hot spots around the world and, drawing on interviews with other hit men, jackals, reporters, and activists, examines the current geopolitical crisis. Instability is the norm: It’s clear that the world we’ve created is dangerous and no longer sustainable. How did we get here? Who’s responsible? What good have we done and at what cost? And what can we do to change things for the next generations? Addressing these questions and more, Perkins reveals the secret history behind the events that have created the American Empire, including:

-The current Latin-American revolution and its lessons for democracy
-How the "defeats" in Vietnam and Iraq benefited big business
-The role of Israel as "Fortress America" in the Middle East
-Tragic repercussions of the IMF’s "Asian Economic Collapse"
-U.S. blunders in Tibet, Congo, Lebanon, and Venezuela
-Jackal (CIA operatives) forays to assassinate democratic presidents


From the U.S. military in Iraq to infrastructure development in Indonesia, from Peace Corps volunteers in Africa to jackals in Venezuela, Perkins exposes a conspiracy of corruption that has fueled instability and anti-Americanism around the globe. Alarming yet hopeful, this book provides a compassionate plan to reimagine our world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Having made a splash with Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins offers similarly entertaining but disturbing accounts of the American government wreaking havoc around the world in support of American business. In Perkins's view, American presidents willingly comply with their CEO masters, distributing foreign aid to corrupt Third World leaders who keep a share and return the rest to U.S. business for major projects, leaving their nations poor and massively in debt, and requiring more loans and slavish obedience to U.S. policy. If any leader objects, the CIA destabilizes his government, by assassination if necessary. Gathering evidence is not Perkins's strong suit. Typically, a shadowy figure pulls him aside, insists on anonymity, then reveals all. Critics will rightfully accuse Perkins of dreadful journalism and a taste for conspiracy theories. Yet economists admit that loans and "expert advice" to poor nations are often harmful. Few deny that America has ruthlessly undermined uncooperative governments and supported dictators including Saddam Hussein. Perkins's assertions that the U.S. assassinated Ecuador's reformist president and connived at genocide in Timor and Sudan are not absurd, merely unproven. This book's greatest value may be to encourage a competent journalist to cover the same ground. (June 5)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In his 2004 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins revealed his role in the 1970s and 1980s in what he described as the ruthlessness with which the United States used economic manipulation and political coercion to extend its power and control over other nations. His job included convincing underdeveloped countries to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development and to make sure that the development projects were contracted to U.S. multinationals. Building on this work's notoriety, Perkins now offers similarly troubling descriptions of his view of how the American government is wreaking havoc around the world in support of American business. Drawing on many interviews with unnamed economic hit men, jackals, CIA operatives, reporters, and activists, the author explores the conditions in world hot spots as he presents his perspective on the "geopolitical crisis." While his effort to delve into the "secret history" that explains why the world is now dangerous and no longer sustainable, who is responsible for the current problems, and what can be done to change things for the better for the next generations is admirable, his lack of cited sources and his broad-brushed approach results in material that may appeal more to those with a taste for conspiracy theories. Serious students, researchers, and journalists will want to use reliable academic political science, business, and economics journals to follow these issues. Thankfully, the author's weak, breaking voice narrates only the introduction, while the remainder of the material is solidly presented by Jonathan Davis. Recommended only for university libraries.
—Dale Farris

Kirkus Reviews
Perkins follows up the bestselling Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004) with a still repentant but now broader view of the unconscionable plundering of the planet and endangerment of its future by the "corporatocracy."That is, powerful, usually American-based corporations in concert with politicians. These unchecked organizations, avers the author, tend to work through the U.S.-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which extend credit to needy nations. There, graft is siphoned off by co-opted local officials, and benefits accrue to corporate contractors of massive projects while downtrodden economies in the long run acquire only debt. Perkins takes on every variation of the corruption model, from keeping labor costs down among sweatshop producers of consumer goods craved by U.S. consumers to maintaining affordable petroleum for the nation that swills a disproportionate portion of the world's supply and generates commensurate climate-threatening pollution. Unfortunately, current events put the author's case in sharper focus than he does. Headlines fresh from the Iraq misadventure, for example, affirm the notion that America doesn't need to win its wars in order for fat-cat companies with no-bid contracts to reap huge profits from them. And the CIA that Perkins pictures once sending "jackal" minions to eliminate South American heads of state at the flick of a conspiratorial finger seems almost preferable to the one that was unable to get a clue on Saddam's WMD situation. Perkins may indeed be "wracked with guilt" (as he chooses perhaps too often to remind readers), but so much undocumented, rehashed innuendo from someone acknowledging a former career in distorting factsdoes not make for compelling penitence. Anecdotal inside info on the dirty deeds of the military-industrial complex, replete with sermons on resisting and changing it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525950158
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/5/2007
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Perkins is the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, a startling exposé of international corruption that spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. He is a founder and chairman of Dream Change, a nonprofit organization devoted to raising consciousness and creating a stable, sustainable, and peaceful world for future generations. Perkins has lectured and taught at universities on four continents including Wharton, Princeton, and Harvard, and is a champion for environmental and social causes.

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