Deterring Democracy is Professor Noam Chomsky's cutting analysis of the 1980s, the decade that filmmaker Oliver Stone (in the film Wall Street) sarcastically wrote as being defined as, "Greed is good."
Though Chomsky's book looks at many aspects of post-World War II United States foreign policy, such as how Germany and Japan were reshaped to suit the needs of exporters, it's primary focus is on Central America. Chomsky chooses this geographic region for logical reasons: the U.S. has, through the centuries, marketed - branded, even - itself as being a fearless promoter of peace and justice; this has, in many ways, been its raison d'etre. Even today, the U.S.'s Manifest Destiny can still be seen in action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Throughout the 1980s, the U.S. had a relatively free hand in Central America (beyond the reach of the Soviet Union); therefore, how the U.S. acted in it's own 'backyard' when given carte blanche should be most instructive. Following the argument, if the U.S. actively promotes democracy, then countries like El Salvador and Honduras et al should have flowered into democratic paradises.
This did not happen. Using independent research, eyewitness testimony and the official internal planning record, Chomsky conclusively demonstrates that these countries became death-squad democracies, under U.S. tutelage. Tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of people were routinely tortured and executed, as government policy. Intimidation and brutality were common-place. Millions were displaced. The mainstream mass media colluded in surpressing these unpleasant facts from the U.S. public, whilst promoting an image of President Ronald Reagan as a great and fearless promoter of democracy, unafraid to stand up to the imperialist communist aggressors.
Perhaps most revealing is the comparisson Chomsky draws betwixt how dissidents were treated in the Russian dominated Eastern European countries like Poland and how dissidents were treated in the U.S. dominated countries like Guatemala; and also, how the media portrayed the struggle for democracy against the Kremlin-backed thugs of Eastern Europe, compared to how the media portrayed the struggle against Washington-supported gangsters of Central America (the former were brave people to be celebrated and courted by the Whitehouse, the latter were assassinated or otherwise 'disappeared').
Written on the eve of the first Gulf War, Deterring Democracy also has a few chapters on the Middle East, Iraq and Israel/Palestine specifically.
More in-depth than Hegemony or Survival, easier to read than Year 501, Deterring Democracy covers pretty much all the bases you would expect, including a brief look at the media, adapted from his (and Edward Herman's) previous excellent book, Manufacturing Consent. Whilst this lacks the immediate contemporary relevance of Hegemony or Survival, Deterring Democracy might well stand the test of time of time better.