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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Hardcover – 1 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler; First Edition edition (1 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576753018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576753019
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 559,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


It is rare to find a book that takes your breath away. This may be one such. The author tried five times to start writing this book but was threatened or bribed to desist. He remains optimistic. You may find reading this book, either entertaining, or provoking rage, apoplexy or intense depression. Judge for yourself. Business Economist (Business Economist 2005-07-11)

Book Description

The word-of-mouth bestseller that has swept America - A true insider reveals the shocking inner workings of America's global imperialism --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By V. Brean on 19 Oct 2008
Format: Paperback
Perkins has probably made alot of money from this book as it is written in the first person narrative style of an autobiography, and as such draws the reader in and carries him/her along with the "storyline"
Even if some of the accounts in the book are exaggerated (and I have no reason to say that they are), there is so much personal and historical information in this account of Perkins life, that it could easily have been disproved were it not largely my knowledge, he has not been discredited yet, and so we must assume that it is largely true.
I thought this book was rather brilliant actually, and is ideal for anybody who has misgivings, but has not really ever thought about or faced up to the nature of big corporate exploitation of developing countries, the globalization of the world and ...and this is the big one...the consequences for us (the western capitalists), if we continue as we are....we have got it coming to us...big time !! if we carrty on the way we are going
Read it, its a good book that deals with some big issues.... I shall read his follow on book next "the secret history of the American Empire"
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Tim Burness on 14 April 2006
Format: Paperback
Brilliant, in an odd kind of way! The paradox of this book is that it often reads like an unbelievable and corny spy thriller, while simultaneously dealing with probably the most real and important issues facing humanity and the planet today. I am sure the author is well aware of this - a more academic, or more "credible" account would have reached far fewer people. Regardless of how much artistic license John Perkins may have used, the essence of this book has a sobering ring of truth about it.

Perkins takes us through his autobiographical account of life as an economic hit-man or EHM. "We are an elite group of men and women who utilize financial organizations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks." From 1971 to 1980, this found him working in developing countries (eg. Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Panama), subtley and not-so-subtley building the global American Empire. The real-life politics is interesting.

Perkins eventually quit his job, finally finding the greed and hypocrisy too difficult to deal with. This was partly a result of getting to know the natives of each country he worked in and his social life makes entertaining reading. Although he left the EHM job in 1980, it took the events of September 11th 2001 to finally inspire him to come completely clean and publish this book.

The epilogue is a nice little wake-up call in itself.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By SmokeNMirrors on 23 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
John Perkins is a man obviously tortured by his part in the erection of a financial empire he identifies as American. Whilst this is a trifle simplistic one can excuse the author this gaffe simply because it is not his intent to explain the workings of our economic and monetary system but rather to explain his own part in it. His humility and willingness to look at his own failings as an impressionable and ego-driven young man are commendable, as is his courage in writing a book which was always guaranteed to be controversial.

As someone who knows how our economy (such as it is!) truly works, being fully conversant with the workings of fractional reserve banking and the whole house of cards built upon it, as well as being aware of the real workings of the World Bank, BIS and similar organisations, I find Perkins' account all too depressingly believable: the thought that otherwise well-meaning but similarly young, impressionable and ego-driven people of today are furthering this empire, believing they are doing good in the process, is disturbing to say the least.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By GJ Glass on 25 April 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is so eager to unmask the imperial project of the last 35 years that it has prompted USINFO.STATE.GOV to put up a page about it in its 'Identifying Misinformation archive'. So far, so good.

Much of what the book says about the shared imperial aspirations of state and business flows logically, with a capitalist eye for self-interest, profit and market dominance. Therefore, the author's frequent early references to feeling guilty about his deeds does tend to sensationalize his role in an approach to money-making which is still current - in occupied Iraq, for example.

For me, the book really comes alive when Perkins recounts the sights, sounds and smells of Indonesia - his first destination as an economic hit man. Perkins writes very well here and draws you into his world. I actually finished the 225 page story in a day, but frequent breaks in the narrative do break its intimacy. That said, this book is full of little-reported insights, personalities and acts from history which crystallize a truth. Government, military and intelligence services serve the interests of big business and profit.

Who benefits from this deceit? Well, there in lies the dilemma; arguably most Western citizens... through cheap oil.

'For every $100 of crude taken out of the Ecuadorian rain forests, the oil companies receive $75. Of the remaining $25, three-quarters must go to paying off the foreign debt. Most of the remainder covers military and other government expenses - which leaves about $2.50 for healfth, education and prgrams aimed at helping the poor.'

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
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