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146 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Read
I initially found the book a slow read but, once I was used to the style, I couldn't put it down.
Curtis has trawled through declassified government documents to reclaim our true history. By examining UK foreign policy from 1945 to the present day, he shows that although governments may change, in terms of our foreign policy it's "business as usual". Importantly, he...
Published on 25 Aug 2003 by Graham Knight

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67 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice effort - could do better
This book is basically Chomsky's "Rogue States" written from a British perspective. Curtis criticises the British Government whereas Chomsky has a go at the US Government. The arguments are the same, the vocabulary is the same. I wonder if Curtis and Chomsky were in the same room when they wrote their respective books?
With respect to the arguments themselves,...
Published on 16 July 2003 by P. Adams


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rule Brittannia, 13 April 2014
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Socrates (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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Rule Britannia - at any cost? May God help us . . .

This is John Pilger, as always, at his best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars modern horror story?, 29 Mar 2014
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Informative, provoking, disturbing Not a comfortable read, more so when the sources are considered.
Can this really be our politicians?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding exposé on Britain's use of torture throughout the 20th century, 9 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World (Paperback)
Mark Curtis provides an extremely well- written and thoroughly researched account of Britain's use of torture throughout its empire during the 20th century. He shows how Britain's built, and grew, its campaign if torture, refining its techniques over time, and sharing its knowledge with its democratic allies.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 16 July 2009
By 
William Logue (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World (Paperback)
I've little to say about this excellent book that hasn't already been said by other reviewers. Suffice to say it deserves 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody should learn this.This knowledge might save us from total anihilation., 14 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World (Paperback)
About what happens to politicians, when they get to much Power:They become totally corrupted! And we have to Control their every move!
Very outstanding journalism!
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67 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice effort - could do better, 16 July 2003
By 
P. Adams (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World (Paperback)
This book is basically Chomsky's "Rogue States" written from a British perspective. Curtis criticises the British Government whereas Chomsky has a go at the US Government. The arguments are the same, the vocabulary is the same. I wonder if Curtis and Chomsky were in the same room when they wrote their respective books?
With respect to the arguments themselves, Curtis (or is it Chomsky?) makes many valid points on the hypocrisy and shameful behaviour of the British and US Governments in global affairs. If you think that Britain and the US really are the good guys, that they care about human rights, that they have ethical foreign policies and are prepared to bend over backwards in responding to any humanitarian crisis - then this book may well disabuse you of such opinions, or at least make you view the actions of Britain and the US more critically. If you think that Britain and the US are really the bad guys - then reading this book will feel a little like the proverbial converted being preached at.
Curtis could have laid out his arguments more clearly. At times I found him a bit too verbose; meandering through comprehensive lists of illustrative examples before finally nailing down his point. He even shoots himself in the foot when he criticises Britain and the US for rejecting all the Taliban's diplomatic overtures before they began to drop bombs on Afghanistan - then in almost the next sentence he notes himself that the Taliban's diplomatic offers lacked credibility. If Curtis was able to come to that conclusion, does he not think that Britain and the US were capable of arriving at the same conclusion themselves?
And I wish Curtis would stop wittering on about "international law" and how Britain/the US did such and such in clear violation international law. What international law? On this planet, there may be a strong desire and aspiration for a system of international law amongst those who care for human rights. Unfortunately, there is no such system of international law currently in place that is universally accepted by all nation states, and that is universally applied and enforced without exception and without prejudice. If there were, then there would be a very long queue of individuals and nation states waiting to be indicted.
If you are one of the converted, buy this book if you want to be confirmed in your conviction. If you have an open mind and are capable of reading a book without totally abandoning your critical faculties, buy this book and be challenged to re-think your assumptions. If you are not one of the converted and you don't think you will be converted, buy this book so you can know your enemy's arguments.
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27 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EYE OPENER, 14 Jan 2005
This review is from: Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World (Paperback)
This book gives you the real questions we should be asking ALL our politicians. Now I know why we are a terrorist target in this country
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a little disappointing, 17 Oct 2013
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Let me start off by saying I haven't actually finished this (though I will do at some point). Curtis does a great job of uncovering and organising his material for an alternative account of what lay behind the Iraq War - but (at least in the early part of the book) he seems to generate more heat than light. There's a lot of fuming over violations of international law and human rights, and this legalistic approach to the analysis comes across - at least to me - as a little dessicated. It isn't helped by Curtis's prose style, which lacks impact thanks to a vocabulary restricted to the kind of language I'd associate with a particularly shrill Guardian editorial or press statement delivered by Shami Chakrabhati. The historical context he presents is also rather underworked, consisting mainly of events that will be familiar to anyone who has read Chomsky (who does this kind of thing so much better). In fact, the book overall covers ground that will be familiar to anyone who's read up on the Iraq War, and doesn't really bring any fresh insights. Perhaps if I'd read it when it was first published, it would have been a revelation - but even if I had, at least half of this review would still be valid...
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14 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but limited in focus., 22 Mar 2008
This review is from: Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World (Paperback)
I was told to buy this book for my university course. It is undeniably interesting to read, highlighting the often ignored murkier aspects of British foreign policy. Curtis is damning of our foreign policy, citing blatent cases of human rights abuse instigated or approved by policy-makers, with evidence backed with documentary accounts from FO officials who, in their wisdom, have written all sorts of things advocating violence and subversion in other countries.

Nonetheless, you have to appreciate the fact that he writes with an obvious agenda (arguably every academic does, but not usually to this extent) and seeks to convince you rather than simply narrate on British foreign policy. In this sense, I feel his points are sometimes unduly harsh or hyperbolic. For example, in discussing the British efforts in Malaya in 1948, Curtis clearly abhores the violence that took place, denoucing the actions of the soldiers and implicitely linking their behavior to his criticisms of the policy-makers to emphasise his point. While war is obviously a tragic thing, it is by its very nature a violent affair. To blame policy-makers for the particuarly violent incidents that took place in the field detracts from his point. I feel he should have concentrated on the intellictual argument of why he felt the intervention was wrong as opposed to gory descriptions of executions and individual atrocities to make his point. It seems too contrived and is a problem I also have with Pilger, who, in his documentaries, makes an intellectual argument on how Iraq was an illegial war, but then shamelessly cuts his cameras to a hospital full of dead babies in Iraq. This seems a little tacky in journalistic terms (while obviously being heart-rendering) because I feel it dilutes the argument he is making and opens him up to accusations that he resorts to horrible imagery in case you wern't convinced by his academic discussion.

Finally, Curtis seems to exagerate at times. He argues that the media is inherently biased towards the West (true), but seems to play on this phenomenon by implying that Palestinians (for example) recieve a bad press compared to Israelis. While the language is sometimes pointed to Israel in news reports, it is clear that much of the media has made efforts to highlight the plight of the Palestinians for some time, bringing it into our national consciousness. It isn't a clear cut case of 'Israel = good, Palestine = terrorist'. I've seen many reports highlighting the Palestinian plight on the BBC while being quite negetive towards Israeli policy.

In short, Curtis is passionate, but don't abandon all individual thought and subscribe to his ideas without further reading.
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11 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Parentheses Hell, 25 July 2012
By 
High Seas Drifter (On the road in Mexico) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World (Paperback)
This book should be interesting, though at times it reads more like a tireless rant against Blair, Bush and Western Foreign Policy. I managed to make it to page 134, some of those skim-read, before finally giving up. With the facts at his disposal, it could have been a far better read. His constant use of parentheses to let you know in which chapter he will reinforce his point, and constant referral to his previous books, is maddening. Whoever edited this should be fired. For example, in Chapter 2 he writes:

"Afghans are Unpeople, whose deaths go unnoticed - they join the East Timorese (see chapter 21), the Changossians (chapter 22) and the children of Iraq (chapter 1) as people whose lives are valueless when they get in the way of western policy..."

Yes we know about the Iraqis, Mr Curtis...we'd just read Chapter 1, not ten pages ago. It really is exasperating. I gave it a good go, and tried to ignore the constant cross-referencing of chapters through brackets, but it got to the point where I'd close my eyes, lean my head back against the sofa, take a deep breath and count to ten before commencing reading again. But in the end I had to put this book down. Enough is enough. I have a pile of books as tall as a six-year-old to read, and can't be bothered finishing this one. A book should be enjoyable, not feel like work.

And No, Mr Curtis...despite your constant mentions of your other books, I shan't be reading a single one of them.

If you really want to read a good book on modern imperialism, read Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE; a very well-researched and written book which I couldn't put down, and read in three sittings. On Iraq and Afghanistan from the 1980s to 9/11 I would highly recommend GHOST WARS by Steve Coll.
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