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

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A riveting exposé of international corruption—and what we can do about it, from the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. 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 A riveting exposé of international corruption—and what we can do about it, from the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. 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 exposé 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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A riveting exposé of international corruption—and what we can do about it, from the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. 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 A riveting exposé of international corruption—and what we can do about it, from the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. 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 exposé 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.

30 review for The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals & the Truth about Global Corruption

  1. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Even if John Perkins addressed this book to Americans, I found it worth every minute of my time. Using first person narration, Perkins recounts his experiences as an American economic hit man (EHM). By definition, EHMs are highly-paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, USAID and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet' Even if John Perkins addressed this book to Americans, I found it worth every minute of my time. Using first person narration, Perkins recounts his experiences as an American economic hit man (EHM). By definition, EHMs are highly-paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, USAID and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization. Perkin’s theory is that huge corporations form the bases of what he calls a corporatocracy which is a system of government that serves the interest of, and may be run by, huge corporations and involves ties between government and business. Where corporations, conglomerates, and/or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country, including carrying out economic planning notwithstanding the 'free market' label. The bulk of the book talks about the different countries Perkin went as an economic hit man. It started in Indonesia, Nepal, Bhutan, Iraq, Kuwait, etc in Asia then to countries in Latin American and ended in Africa. Some of these, like the assassination of political leaders and controversies are not new to my ears. However, you would feel that Perkins is not taking you for a ride because of the details that he incorporated in these confessions. What I really liked about the book is that, despite his supposedly controversial exposes as a whistleblower, gloom and doom are not the main focus of the book. Towards the end, he recalls one of his speaking engagements where a lady asks him what she could do as an individual to change this corporatoracy. Perkins explained that all of us can do our share by not making these huge corporations to be more socially aware and responsible especially on the flights of the people in the developing third world countries.. As I said above, Perkins written this book with the American people as target readers. He explained that America is an empire because (1) the country is only 5% of the total world population yet it consumes 20% of earth’s natural resources; (2) it has the most powerful military in the world; (3) its culture and language are not only influencing other countries’ but to some extent are adapted by some; (4) its money, the US Dollar, has been the base currency of all the other world currencies since the end of World War II and (5) as an empire it is governed by an emperor but this emperor is not a single individual but a corporatocracy composed of the government, huge corporations and media. This book calls for the American people to be more proactive and socially-aware of what is happening in the world and not be contented with their comfortable lives. As Perkin stressed in one of his talks: “our children future will not be bright if the children of other less fortunate countries will not be bright too.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Wow...where to start. John Perkins follows up his initial offering, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", with more chilling stories and heartwrenching insights of the activities of the American empire in 3rd world nations in the 70's and 80's. Much of the information in the book was not new to me; I was familiar with the overthrow of many of the Central and South American regimes, as well as those of the Middle East. What I didn't realize was the perspective and thoughts of someone in the middl Wow...where to start. John Perkins follows up his initial offering, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", with more chilling stories and heartwrenching insights of the activities of the American empire in 3rd world nations in the 70's and 80's. Much of the information in the book was not new to me; I was familiar with the overthrow of many of the Central and South American regimes, as well as those of the Middle East. What I didn't realize was the perspective and thoughts of someone in the middle of it all, viewing these horrible actions at the mercy of great pay, scenic views, and beautiful women. Perkins opens up the eyes of the reader to a world that is only talked about in spy novels and fanciful fiction, but these facts and firshand accounts had me on the edge of my seat, and enraged at the behavior of the country that I was birthed in. A great read, a real eye-opener, an outstanding journal of corporate greed, and despite the obvious agenda of a weathered and bitter man, an excellent book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Interesting and compelling, but somewhat dated. Unless you’re a student of recent American history, you’ll probably find a lot of this information “yesterday’s papers”. The optimism expressed in the last section of the book probably had more traction at the time this book was written (late Bush II, early Obama) for serious social change. However, the ways in which the “corporatocracy” (formerly known as the “Military/Industrial Complex” that Eisenhower warned against) and our government (with th Interesting and compelling, but somewhat dated. Unless you’re a student of recent American history, you’ll probably find a lot of this information “yesterday’s papers”. The optimism expressed in the last section of the book probably had more traction at the time this book was written (late Bush II, early Obama) for serious social change. However, the ways in which the “corporatocracy” (formerly known as the “Military/Industrial Complex” that Eisenhower warned against) and our government (with the wiling cooperation of corrupt “strong men”) are to this day happily and busily screwing the huddled masses in Asia, Latin America and Africa I just don’t think is a pressing concern with most American citizens, even those who are not fixated on Making America Great Again. Particularly people who don’t want to acknowledge at all, assuming they even know, the degree to which the USA is both complicit in and the “puppet master” for much of the ongoing strife and political upheaval (and the human misery it creates) of the world - which was as rampant in the Clinton (NAFTA anyone?) and Obama administrations as in the Bush II and Trump regimes. I mean, who wants to be reminded how our own “standard of living” has been paid for in large part by the impoverishment and oppression of others? “Sorry, I gave at the office.” One of the glaring anachronisms in this book is Perkins’ undisguised sympathy for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez who was still riding a wave of international popularity about the time this book was written. Well, we all know what happened to his brand of populism and where Venezuela is now. Nevertheless, one warning in the book that rings true and timely is the concept expressed by many activists and NGO founders that “unless all children have a future, no child has a future.” That, in itself, is a call to action if you’re at all concerned about global warming, environmental spoliation, and human exploitation. Perkins is a valuable voice, but you have to be willing to listen and sort the wheat from the chaff. In these times, that’s not a popular pastime.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    The long and short of how America became an empire. Until the recent declassification of the CIA's "Family Jewels" I would have said that this book is a pile of conspiracy theories held together by a sloppy narrative. In light of the CIA's addmittance to their illicit involvement in South America, this book shines a bright light on all the dark corners of capitalism. The Secret History of the American Empire doesn't cease to shock and amaze. From the sweatshops of india, to the pollution of the j The long and short of how America became an empire. Until the recent declassification of the CIA's "Family Jewels" I would have said that this book is a pile of conspiracy theories held together by a sloppy narrative. In light of the CIA's addmittance to their illicit involvement in South America, this book shines a bright light on all the dark corners of capitalism. The Secret History of the American Empire doesn't cease to shock and amaze. From the sweatshops of india, to the pollution of the jungles of Bolivia you will cringe in horror from the atrocities committed by US corporations. Interesting fact - did you know US engineering firm Bektel owned all the water in Bolivia? They could charge peasants for drinking rain water. When the Bolivian government got rid of Bektel, Bektel sued the Bolivians for lost profits!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Francis

    John Perkins's globe trotting adventures as a self-described Economic Hit Man (EHM) in "The Secret History of the American Empire" is a one of a kind history lesson in U.S. international affairs and economics over the last 40 years. Perkins sheds light on the discomforting close-knit relationship between the U.S. government and corporate America and shakes off any naive, preconceived assumptions Americans may have that their government officials are out to spread democracy abroad for purely the John Perkins's globe trotting adventures as a self-described Economic Hit Man (EHM) in "The Secret History of the American Empire" is a one of a kind history lesson in U.S. international affairs and economics over the last 40 years. Perkins sheds light on the discomforting close-knit relationship between the U.S. government and corporate America and shakes off any naive, preconceived assumptions Americans may have that their government officials are out to spread democracy abroad for purely the noblest of intentions. Perkins's job as an EHM was to secure loans for developing nations in Asia, Latin America, The Middle East, and Africa in order to pay for large infrastructure projects (ex. hydroelectric dam). The loans financed through the IMF or World Bank were intended to supply a developing nation’s citizenry with energy in order to upgrade their lives and improve the country’s economy. In Perkins's experiences, however, the poor never benefited from the project. The money went to a few wealthy individuals and to large Western corporations that oversaw the construction and operation of the projects. The corporations saw the projects as cash cows, funneling profits back to their headquarters located outside the developing nation. Also, the loans were provided knowing full well that the nation would not be able pay them back (think sub-prime mortgages during the housing bubble). It produced a debtor nation, one subservient to the country that provided the loan. The foreign government that supplied the cash would then ask for resources at a reduced rate as payment, resources such as oil and minerals that a foreign corporation would then extract with little regard to the local people or environment. The EHM would sell the loan to government officials by any means necessary, including bribery. If an EHM failed to convince a national leader of his need for the loan, jackals (paid assassins) were then sent in to remove that person from power. The stories initially sound far-fetched to those of us not privy to the discussions in the halls of congress or in the boardrooms of corporate America, but historical examples of U.S. meddling in foreign affairs provides credence to Perkins's stories. For example: Iran-Contra during Reagan's administration; the U.S. sponsored coup to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh; U.S. backing of Saddam Hussein on his rise to power and during the Iraq-Iran border war, only later to be removed from power by U.S. armed forces; CIA leading the overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende in a military coup that brought to power Gen. Augusto Pinochet; The P.R. campaign United Fruit launched to convince the Eisenhower administration to depose the democratically elected government led by Col. Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatamala. Perkins does an excellent job sharing some of America's ulterior motives for overthrowing governments and deposing foreign leaders, ulterior motives that have less to do with communism and unjust rulers then oil and corporate influence. In most cases the people of the nation under siege would have been better off if America had stayed out. Perkins spends most of "The Secret History..." bringing us low, supplying us with philosophical ammunition to wrack our brains with. But over the final few chapters he provides inspiration and a path to lasting change. He says, "At times like these, it is important to be philosophical and to investigate the ethical implications of what we do; however, it is essential that we also apply ourselves in down-to-earth ways, ones that will result in concrete and lasting change." The first thing that comes to mind to secure change is to vote for intelligent, forward thinking politicians. Politicians that support responsible corporate practices, smart environmental policies, and are voices for human rights domestic and abroad can be valuable agents of change in the government. But perhaps the most important thing we can do is spend our money wisely, because how and where we spend our dollars is a vote we can cast every single day for lasting change. It provides the biggest punch for the least amount of effort. It is important to buy local, think sustainable, and support fair trade products. It's a simple effort that will force corporate America to take notice and change their policies of human and resource exploitation. Perkins finishes up his book with a "To Do" list (for those of us that need things spelled out before we'll jump on board). To Do: *When tempted to engage in “retail therapy” instead jog, meditate, read, or find some other solution. *Shop consciously if there is something you must have; purchase items whose packaging, ingredients, and methods of production are sustainable and support life. *Make everything you own last as long as possible. *Purchase at consignment and thrift stores where everything is recycled. *Protest against “free” trade agreements and sweatshops. *Write letters telling Monsanto, De Beers, ExxonMobil, Adidas, Ford, GE, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and other labor exploiters and environment destroyers why you refuse to purchase from them. *Write letters praising Home Depot, Kinko’s, Citicorp, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and other companies that cooperate with RAN, Amnesty International, and other NGOs(NonGovernmental Organizations). *Cut back on oil and gas consumption. *Downsize your car, home, wardrobe, everything in your life. *Send money to nonprofits, radio stations, and other organizations that promote just causes. *Volunteer your time and energy to such organizations. *Support local merchants. *Encourage stores to buy from local growers, producers, and suppliers. *Shop at your local farmer’s market. *Drink tap water (get the water company to do a better job if necessary, but avoid buying bottled water). *Vote for enlightened school boards, commissions, ordinances, and politicians. *Run for office. *Insist that those who use your money – banks, pensions, mutual funds, companies – make socially and environmentally responsible investments. *Speak out whenever forums present themselves. *Volunteer to talk at your local school about your favorite subject (beekeeping, weaving, tennis, anything) and use it to challenge students, to wake them up. *Discuss externalities, the costs of pollution, poor working conditions, public subsidies, corporate exemptions, and other environmental, social, and political factors that should be included in the prices we pay for goods and services but are not (discussed in Chapter 54); let people know that when we do not pay for these very real expenses we rob future generations. *Encourage “taxes” on externalities – higher prices for gas, clothes, electricity, etc., as long as the difference pays to right social and environmental wrongs. *Offer study groups at local libraries, bookstores, churches, and clubs. *Expand this list and share it with everyone you know. There. It's that easy. Small things that when done collectively can make a big impact on the local economy, the global economy, change corporate America, improve the lives of the impoverished, and stop laying waste to the environment. Hey, I'm trying to uphold my end of the deal. So... whose got next?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    What a downer! No wonder the world hates us. We all know corporate greed is out of control and that we as Americans consume way more than our share of resources. But if this supposedly non-fiction confession is even half true, it's a whole lot worse than I for one ever believed. While I don't always agree with his totally far left stance, it certainly is time for the common people to take notice and move that into action. I did find his style of writing a bit difficult to follow. He jumped dates What a downer! No wonder the world hates us. We all know corporate greed is out of control and that we as Americans consume way more than our share of resources. But if this supposedly non-fiction confession is even half true, it's a whole lot worse than I for one ever believed. While I don't always agree with his totally far left stance, it certainly is time for the common people to take notice and move that into action. I did find his style of writing a bit difficult to follow. He jumped dates and countries from page to page...actually a bit dull and dry. His call to action in the last chapter was not strong enough to combat what he and others have done. His confessions may be good for his soul but I'm not sure it's going to do much to help the situation he played (according to him) a big part in creating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ernest

    I liked "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" better, but this was still a great read. While "Confessions" focused more on his personal journey and realization, this book focused more on specific Economic Hit Man experiences in major parts of the world. The book is broken out to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and does a good job of connecting the events that occurred throughout the world. I especially liked the last section of the book which focused on what you can do to change and influence th I liked "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" better, but this was still a great read. While "Confessions" focused more on his personal journey and realization, this book focused more on specific Economic Hit Man experiences in major parts of the world. The book is broken out to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and does a good job of connecting the events that occurred throughout the world. I especially liked the last section of the book which focused on what you can do to change and influence the world. Very motivating and inspirational!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Abdelhamid

    John has a writer spirit, it's very clear at his description/listing of plots, contradictory feelings, and facts. His plots for: Panama's occupation, Ecuador , Iran, Saudia laundry affair... are all nice plots of the book, Moreover, you get some eagle eye insight about the international organizations that are used to cover-up the corporatocracy, the sweet marriage of politics/media/money, more about MR Cheney-Halliburton and Bush-United Fruits relations etc. I would strongly recommend the book fo John has a writer spirit, it's very clear at his description/listing of plots, contradictory feelings, and facts. His plots for: Panama's occupation, Ecuador , Iran, Saudia laundry affair... are all nice plots of the book, Moreover, you get some eagle eye insight about the international organizations that are used to cover-up the corporatocracy, the sweet marriage of politics/media/money, more about MR Cheney-Halliburton and Bush-United Fruits relations etc. I would strongly recommend the book for others...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    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: 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!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Perhaps it is because I have heard his arguments before that I found Perkins’ “secret history” to not be so much of a secret. Take for example his critique of U.S. efforts – through both public and private means – to benefit from a natural catastrophe. "Most U.S. citizens are not aware that national disasters are like wars: They are highly profitable for big business. A great deal of the money for rebuilding after disasters is earmarked for U.S. engineering firms and for multinational corporation Perhaps it is because I have heard his arguments before that I found Perkins’ “secret history” to not be so much of a secret. Take for example his critique of U.S. efforts – through both public and private means – to benefit from a natural catastrophe. "Most U.S. citizens are not aware that national disasters are like wars: They are highly profitable for big business. A great deal of the money for rebuilding after disasters is earmarked for U.S. engineering firms and for multinational corporations that own hotel, restaurant, and retail chains, communications and transportation networks, banks, insurance companies, and other corpratocracy industries. Rather than helping subsistence farmers, fishermen, mom-and-pop restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, and local entrepreneurs, “disaster relief” programs provide one more vehicle for channeling money to the empire builders." The history of the Cold War and the occupation of Iraq certainly contained few unrevealed secrets in this department. (Blackwater, anyone?) Being of the more liberal, progressive persuasion, I found Perkins’ narrative to be less enlightening, and more a recapitulation of the aspects of our empire that are not only less than savory, but quite obvious. Or should be obvious. Then again, maybe I’m not exactly his intended audience. Fortunately, I was saved from being bored to tears by his last and more hopeful and constructive chapter. "…I concluded that change is possible; it is happening in very significant ways. Corporations are bending to our will. We have the power to achieve monumental changes in the way our society is structured." And from there, he gives a detailed prescription of what we can accomplish as a liberal and capitalist democracy. Thank goodness.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Al Bredenberg

    "Secret History" was a surprise in some ways, a disappointment in other ways. John Perkins is the author of a previous book, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman." I was not aware of this previous book or of Perkins's strong political leanings. So my motivation in reading this book might have been different from that of other readers who are already aware of Perkins. So I guess the surprise was to find myself reading an impassioned appeal to concerned Americans to take action against the "corpratocr "Secret History" was a surprise in some ways, a disappointment in other ways. John Perkins is the author of a previous book, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman." I was not aware of this previous book or of Perkins's strong political leanings. So my motivation in reading this book might have been different from that of other readers who are already aware of Perkins. So I guess the surprise was to find myself reading an impassioned appeal to concerned Americans to take action against the "corpratocracy" that Perkins used to work for and is now dedicated to bringing down. I guess the disappointment was simply that the title didn't fulfill on its promise to deliver a "secret history" of the American empire -- at least not from the point of view of a student of history who is not tied in to the anti-corpratocracy movement. Perkins's book includes many fascinating personal experiences and allegations by others, but nothing like a comprehensive history of the corrupt system he is fighting. The only content alert I would include is that the author includes some profanity in quoting the words of others. I listened to an audio version obtained from Audible.com. AB -- 8/6/08

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jolivernz

    Powerful, scary, awesome stories about the evils of our ways. Aside from the style being a bit egocentric (lots of first person narrative and 'watching the decomposing leper from my airconditioned sedan chair really made me question my approach to life') the book is a pleasure to read---packed with the juicy bits of real-life spy stories from all around the world and rollicking adventure and intrigue on an international scale. Most importantly, the this book identifies the ways in which we are a Powerful, scary, awesome stories about the evils of our ways. Aside from the style being a bit egocentric (lots of first person narrative and 'watching the decomposing leper from my airconditioned sedan chair really made me question my approach to life') the book is a pleasure to read---packed with the juicy bits of real-life spy stories from all around the world and rollicking adventure and intrigue on an international scale. Most importantly, the this book identifies the ways in which we are all (to varying degrees, depending on how much we shop at Walmart etc) complicit in the suffering of millions of people around the world, how this situation will lead to the catastrophic downfall of our way of life if we don't change it, and, finally, how we can as individuals help make things better. I would love to see everyone in America read this book, young and old, rich and poor (mostly rich), democrat and republican. Highly recommended. Read it and pass it on.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    Must Read for all conscientious citizens on this planet. (I recommend you read Confessions of the Economic Hitman first.) This book goes into vivid detail about who, how, why controls global events behind the scenes. Just why some CEOs of big corporations are getting billions of dollars in bonuses, while so much of the world population is living on $2/day, and living often subhuman lives. John Perkins, as an EHM for 10 years, was such a man - He went into 2nd and 3rd world countries with develop Must Read for all conscientious citizens on this planet. (I recommend you read Confessions of the Economic Hitman first.) This book goes into vivid detail about who, how, why controls global events behind the scenes. Just why some CEOs of big corporations are getting billions of dollars in bonuses, while so much of the world population is living on $2/day, and living often subhuman lives. John Perkins, as an EHM for 10 years, was such a man - He went into 2nd and 3rd world countries with developing markets and industries, with the intent to deliberately corrupt them, to turn them into the puppets of the Empire. John Perkins rarely failed at his job and as a result many people suffered. Seeing their suffering, is what helped him to 'turn himself around', have a change of heart, and spill the beans.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matt Flynn

    A pretty bland rehash of how America has defended it's economic dominance in developing countries. The author's first book (Confessions of an Economic Hitman) has been highly recommended to me, but I'll have to pass based on this. Perkin's position as an economic adviser, crafting all manner of devious consulting plans designed to encourage a positive flow of dollars out of third world countries, does give him an interesting vantage point. However, he doesn't do much with the opportunity to rede A pretty bland rehash of how America has defended it's economic dominance in developing countries. The author's first book (Confessions of an Economic Hitman) has been highly recommended to me, but I'll have to pass based on this. Perkin's position as an economic adviser, crafting all manner of devious consulting plans designed to encourage a positive flow of dollars out of third world countries, does give him an interesting vantage point. However, he doesn't do much with the opportunity to redeem himself, falling back on well-worn aphorisms to explain his regret and his hope for the future. Example recommendation: we must make our individual choices matter, he realizes as he jets from his western Massachusetts home to a conference in California. Um.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Incredibly fascinating. The author gives an account of his own and his friends' involvement (or rather, the US's involvement, for that matter) in every major international political coup, assassination, economic devastation, etc since the 1970's. Shocking at first, my personal skepticism towards American foreign policy makes the events detailed in this book not so surprising after all. I especially like that after all the doom and gloom of the heinous mess American corporations, government, and Incredibly fascinating. The author gives an account of his own and his friends' involvement (or rather, the US's involvement, for that matter) in every major international political coup, assassination, economic devastation, etc since the 1970's. Shocking at first, my personal skepticism towards American foreign policy makes the events detailed in this book not so surprising after all. I especially like that after all the doom and gloom of the heinous mess American corporations, government, and military have caused abroad, the author offers real and manageable advice for changing the way we think and live which can soften and repair the wrongs committed. It certainly requires one to rethink the human cost behind American consumerism and materialism.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

    Although it starts off like a rewrite of Confessions, The Secret History offers a portrait of American Corporate Empire that is broken into chapters detailing the activities of EHMs, Jackals, and the American military (both public and private) in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Perkins starts off with his own personal history, which is what makes the book all to familiar to readers of Confessions, but soon broadens his narrative into stories related to him by others. By keeping the narrative per Although it starts off like a rewrite of Confessions, The Secret History offers a portrait of American Corporate Empire that is broken into chapters detailing the activities of EHMs, Jackals, and the American military (both public and private) in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Perkins starts off with his own personal history, which is what makes the book all to familiar to readers of Confessions, but soon broadens his narrative into stories related to him by others. By keeping the narrative personal, Perkins is able to detail the history of exploitation without loosing sight of how individual lives are affected. If you liked Confessions and want more, this is certainly worth a read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I haven't read his earlier Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, but this volume should be sufficient to convey the real history of how international corporations, in collusion with the U.S. Government and U.S.-sponsored aid organizations (and NGOs), use pressure - both subtle and overt, including fear, intimidation and worse - to force smaller and less powerful nations to sign deals which serve the interests of multinational organizations before the interests and needs of their own people. Seeing I haven't read his earlier Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, but this volume should be sufficient to convey the real history of how international corporations, in collusion with the U.S. Government and U.S.-sponsored aid organizations (and NGOs), use pressure - both subtle and overt, including fear, intimidation and worse - to force smaller and less powerful nations to sign deals which serve the interests of multinational organizations before the interests and needs of their own people. Seeing the extent to which this happens is truly eye-opening, and this book is a helpful piece of the puzzle in figuring out what is actually happening in the world today, behind the headlines.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    John Perkins' revealing accounts from the inside of a corrupt corporate empire. This book is not a conspiracy theorists rantings, He was an "economic hitman" for some of the top corporations. There are detailed accounts of the greed and corruption from the top of capitol hill. The shady workings of the IMF and the World Bank are detailed as well. I found the insight provided in this book to be indispensable. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a little more transparency in the workings of o John Perkins' revealing accounts from the inside of a corrupt corporate empire. This book is not a conspiracy theorists rantings, He was an "economic hitman" for some of the top corporations. There are detailed accounts of the greed and corruption from the top of capitol hill. The shady workings of the IMF and the World Bank are detailed as well. I found the insight provided in this book to be indispensable. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a little more transparency in the workings of our government.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Devin

    Sequel, of sorts, to Confession of an Economic Hitman. Perkins believed (and had it confirmed to him by reader mail) that the first book offered a bleak outlook on the economics of the world, but offered no ideas for solutions or ways to change it. The purpose of this book is geared more towards guiding a pathway towards activism. Another very entertaining read that contains "confessions" from other economic hitmen and jackals. Again, the legitimacy of his claims are always disputed, but the boo Sequel, of sorts, to Confession of an Economic Hitman. Perkins believed (and had it confirmed to him by reader mail) that the first book offered a bleak outlook on the economics of the world, but offered no ideas for solutions or ways to change it. The purpose of this book is geared more towards guiding a pathway towards activism. Another very entertaining read that contains "confessions" from other economic hitmen and jackals. Again, the legitimacy of his claims are always disputed, but the book serves as an interesting read anyway.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lesandre

    Another thumbs-up and must-read. The appendices alone offer a wealth of information and contacts for organizations and media whose interests are not for the benefit of the corporatocracy. The later chapters' words were haunting and reawakened a gut feeling I've had in recent years: "Africa is the canary in the mine.... Subjugate the Middle East, use it as a staging ground, but be sure you get Africa too."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    A must-read for anyone who wants to better understand United States economic policies of the past 60 years that their impact on nations throughout the world. John Perkins provides insights into US foreign policy that is critical for any citizen to know and understand. He also teaches the reader what he or she can do to make a positive difference in the world.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aaa

    I found most of the stories hard to believe. It read more like a work of fiction and personal fantasy than a book about the way the USA controls the world economically. This is the modern day "confessions of a dangerous mind". Entertaining though but can not be taken seriously.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Socaldave

    If you think you know what has happened in the world and what America's role was, think again. This is a book from one of the economic hit men that did the work that shaped our world today. As an American, it is a must read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Denise Le cornu

    Blew my mind!! I have read some criticisms of it as well, but even if a tenth of it is true, I feel less hopeful about the future of economic and social equality. The real cost of cheap living. I like that he provided some possible solutions as a conclusion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pickett

    I thought Perkins described the areas of the world i had been to very well. He is a bit biased, but an intersting perspective

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather Mcdonough

    Another amazing John Perkins book exposing the corporatocracy. Again, this should be required reading for all Americans.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Thonnings

    Whoa. So far, so good. Kind of scary.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adam Christian

    Sickening. A disturbing book on how our country manipulates countries for better or worse.

  29. 4 out of 5

    C. Scott

    A worthy sequel to Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Perkins does a nice job enumerating the various sins of the American Empire, giving clear, concrete examples. The world of EHMs and jackals is plain to see if you know what you are looking for. I knocked a star off my rating for Perkins's prescribed solutions at the end. I know that he is most earnest in his desire to undo the overwhelming power of the "corporatocracy," as he calls it. But to me, the contention that simply applying democrati A worthy sequel to Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Perkins does a nice job enumerating the various sins of the American Empire, giving clear, concrete examples. The world of EHMs and jackals is plain to see if you know what you are looking for. I knocked a star off my rating for Perkins's prescribed solutions at the end. I know that he is most earnest in his desire to undo the overwhelming power of the "corporatocracy," as he calls it. But to me, the contention that simply applying democratic pressure is enough to change the system is weak and misguided. He even says at one point that he believes in capitalism. To desire to change the nature of corporations and stop at the water's edge of changing capitalism is not enough in my opinion. But please don't let this discourage you from reading the book. If you enjoyed Confessions, you will like this too. It is more specific about what the United States does in our names on behalf of corporations - and you need to know about it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom Li

    A thoroughly entertaining read that will shock you from beginning to end if you're new to this side of reality. Perkins gets a bit preachy at the end, but he provides solid examples of the 'corporatocracy' collaborating with those who want to make a positive change in the world.

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