How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States

by Daniel Immerwahr
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States

by Daniel Immerwahr


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Named one of the ten best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune
A Publishers Weekly best book of 2019 | A 2019 NPR Staff Pick

A pathbreaking history of the United States’ overseas possessions and the true meaning of its empire

We are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is an “empire,” exercising power around the world. But what about the actual territories—the islands, atolls, and archipelagos—this country has governed and inhabited?

In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr tells the fascinating story of the United States outside the United States. In crackling, fast-paced prose, he reveals forgotten episodes that cast American history in a new light. We travel to the Guano Islands, where prospectors collected one of the nineteenth century’s most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on U.S. soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr shows how U.S. doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the U.S. Congress.

In the years after World War II, Immerwahr notes, the United States moved away from colonialism. Instead, it put innovations in electronics, transportation, and culture to use, devising a new sort of influence that did not require the control of colonies. Rich with absorbing vignettes, full of surprises, and driven by an original conception of what empire and globalization mean today, How to Hide an Empire is a major and compulsively readable work of history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250251091
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 03/03/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 40,950
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Daniel Immerwahr is an associate professor of history at Northwestern University and the author of Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development, which won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti Award. He has written for Slate, n+1, Dissent, and other publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Looking Beyond the Logo Map 3

A Note on Language 21

Part I The Colonial Empire

1 The Fall and Rise of Daniel Boone 25

2 Indian Country 36

3 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Guano but Were Afraid to Ask 46

4 Teddy Roosevelt's Very Good Day 59

5 Empire State of Mind 73

6 Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom 88

7 Outside the Charmed Circle 108

8 White City 122

9 Doctors Without Borders 137

10 Fortress America 154

11 Warfare State 171

12 There Are Times When Men Have to Die 187

Part II The Pointillist Empire

13 Kilroy Was Here 215

14 Decolonizing the United States 227

15 Nobody Knows in America, Puerto Rico's in America 242

16 Synthetics 262

17 This Is What God Hath Wrought 278

18 The Empire of the Red Octagon 298

19 Language Is a Virus 317

20 Power Is Sovereignty, Mister Bond 336

21 Baselandia 355

22 The War of Points 372

Conclusion: Enduring Empire 391

Notes 403

Acknowledgments 485

Index 489

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