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on 30 January 2009
In this book, Perkins makes several contrary things hang together. He tries to give an eyewitness account of secret intrigues, but also a big picture of recent world history. He damns both the American establishment and himself, but then gets motivational for changing the powers that be.

At first the book reads almost like a spy novel. Perkins wants to convey the glamor of high finance conspiracies, with the posh hotels, the geisha girls, the jackels, and the mirror sunglasses. How else did a man of conscience get sucked into all this? But then he meets more and more local leaders from countries around the world, who tell him the real scoop on the effects of US "development" policy. These people often need to remain anonymous, which sometimes leaves Perkins to vouch for his own testimony. Still, the accounts build up to an overwhelming case, which checks with lots of things we all know.

Then Perkins tries his hand as a motivational writer for global change. And here he gets downright authentic. A lot of this section comes from rather spontaneous speeches, where he set out to talk from the heart without notes. His stories of activists influencing corporate policy are practical, inspiring, and challenging to all disengaged critics. By the time he's done, you wanta be on this guy's side.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 November 2008
After a life of `robbing from the poor and giving to the rich' as an economic hit man, thereby pocketing his commissions, John Perkins became an environment activist and a militant for change in the policies of the corporatocracy.

Corporatocracy
The author delivers in this book many well directed punches into the face of his former employers, transnational companies which act as imperial dictatorships in the global economy.
Together with their long arms (controlled or corrupt governments, the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, intelligence services, infiltrated or outright controlled NGOs and the military) the corporations are building an empire for the wealthy few. Behind the rhetoric of `free trade', `free markets` and `free choice' the author discovers disinformation, corruption, oligopolies and market and export protection.
This empire claims to defend democracy, but ousts or assassinates democratically elected presidents like P. Lumumba, S. Allende, O. Torrijos, D. Roldós).
The corporations profit heavily from the empire's War Machine (a trillion dollar business) which invents its own enemies. After the fall of the Berlin Wall Islamic revolutionaries took the place of the Communists in order to justify bulging military budgets.

A few examples
In Nigeria, the great writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged for opposing environmental havoc in the territories of the Ogoni people.
In Diego Garcia the entire population was forced out of their country without compensation in order to build a military base.
In East-Timor, the slaughtering of the population by Indonesian troops was approved by the US government.
In Columbia, the drug war is a subterfuge for protecting oil interests.

Change
If the many want to change the world, they must force change on the corporations. The latter are vulnerable because they need us as clients and consumers. We should impose on them policies of ecological sustainability and social responsibility. Governments should be elected by `real' democracy.
The ultimate goal of all policies should be `a stable, sustainable and peaceful world for everybody.'

Although this book is sometimes too anecdotic, it is a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
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on 22 October 2008
If you read and enjoyed Perkins "confessions of an Economic Hitman", then you really should read this book as well, it is a different type of book as it does not have quite autobiographical style of confessions and I was not carried along by the narrative in the same way....but its a good book IMO

I think the over-riding emotion that I am left with after just finishing this book is a general feeling of "ill at ease", I am also just a little angry too, there is so much detailed personal information in this book...somewhat similar to "confessions" that I can only conclude that it must be largely true otherwise it would be easy for detractors to blow holes in the account, and to date I do not think that Perkins has been substantially discredited...and what a corrupt and unplesant world we live in do we not ?

In my heart I already knew that the business of international politics is a dirty business and that many human beings can be cruel, greedy and evil, and this book just spells it out, and lists so many specific instances of the manipulation of power to stregnthen and enhance the grip of the corporatocracy

One thing that I had never considered and I think Perkins makes this point well...is that whilst I knew that the corporatochracy in league with the US state work together to spread the tenticles of empire....even when miliatary policy is a failure as in Vietnam or possibly now Iraq...the corporations still win out, the US state might suffer lack of pretige and/or influence, but the corporations still benefit from reconstruction contracts, the spread of demand for western products and in many other ways...but eventually, if we continue...the empire itself will ultimately fail

For me it was a good book...if a little depressing...will humans ever change ?, many of these techniques for empire building and access to resources are now being used by states such as China....we all need to change if we are to survive on this planet...can we do it ?
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on 6 August 2011
It's always a bad idea to shape your beliefs and views of the world from reading one book but The secret history of the American Empire is an exception. Instead of being an eye opening study of all the corporate machinations that shape our world it exposes the dirty little secrets that we all suspect are happening around us. The U.S. dealings with cruel dictators because it suits the corporations, the casual lies told to the public, the U.S.A.s willingness to send young men and women to fight and die and kill and destroy other people in the interests of corporate power and the way we the people are manipulated into supporting these endeavours is shocking but not entirely surprising.

I urge everyone to read this book. It is essential reading for anyone wishing to appreciate the truth behind the American empire and some of the reasons for the global crisis that we find ourselves in at the moment.
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on 26 April 2009
A must read for anyone who seeks to understand the chaos and violence that has gripped much of our world for decades; how it has happend, who is behind it, and why.

This is a good follow-up to his book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" and both books should be read with "The Shock Doctrine", by Naomi Klein, the most comprehensive expose of the corrupt, greedy and violent imperialism of USAmerican-style predatory Capitalism.

You'll never look at the world the same again.
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on 13 September 2011
This book is an amazing eye opener to the secrecy of the American Empire that has stolen the world.
Changes in the world, the way things are done.
What an eye opener!
Following Confessions of an Economic Hitman and then Hoodwinked, this is my 3rd favorite book!
I've read this book 3x times as I did the two above, just mentioned, and I still cannot get enough of it!
Thank you John Perkins!
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on 14 January 2011
I read the paperback edition of this book by John Perkins.
Whilst the subject matter is certainly very much believable, I was disappointed by the sheer lack of references and corroboration. There are also very few names being mentioned. This makes it difficult to unequivocally buy into the narrative.
True, Perkins does gives us some names who worked at MAIN at the same time as he did. His time at MAIN is beyond dispute. What critics may say is that it's far from clear from his narrative that he did actually work as an economic hitman rather than just as a consultant. In other words, it's open to debate whether there was actually a malevolent design behind the many infrastructure projects which were foisted upon the 3rd worlds over the decades.
For those of you who are interested in analysing the world from an alternate perspective, there are many books out there that are far richer in details and analysis than "Confessions of an Economic Hitman".
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on 4 August 2014
This, and it's predquel 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman' are must reads!
everyone needs a heads-up on these activities.. only then will you get a reality on the skullduggery of the 'Superpower's' activities and dubious intentions..!
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on 18 July 2013
Any other great book by John I read Confessions of an economic hit man & this follows on nicely MUST READ
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on 23 December 2015
Great. Thanks :-)
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