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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost certainly a true acount
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...
Published on 19 Oct. 2008 by Mangizmo

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very easy to read book about a very difficult dilemma
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...
Published on 25 April 2006 by GJ Glass


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost certainly a true acount, 19 Oct. 2008
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 truthfull....to 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Price of Oil, 2 Mar. 2012
By 
Niki Collins-queen, Author "author" (Forsyth, Georgia USA) - See all my reviews
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John Perkins the 2004 New York Times bestselling author of "Confessions of an Economic Him Man" helped me understand the questions: "Why is Anti-Americanism growing around the world? How did America become a Superpower with minimal military action like former Empires?"
Perkins'job as the Chief Economist for Chas. T. Main, an international consulting firm, was to convince strategic countries to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development and to ensure that U.S. corporations got the projects. Upon default of the loans The United States Government, World Bank, International Monetary Fund IMF, and other U.S. dominated aid agencies then have access to the countries' resources (especially oil), strategic land and the installation of military bases. Perkins says that international economists are in essence highly paid "Economic Hit Man" (EHM) hired by international corporations to hide the U.S. governments' involvement.
In the 1980s U.S. corporations became legal international companies to minimize rules and regulations. Perkins calls the big banks, corporations and government a "corporatocracy."
He says the majority of people in the debtor countries benefit little. For example when the wealthy ruling families in Ecuador accepted a billion-dollar loan (backed by the promise of oil revenues), to build roads, hydroelectric dams, industrial parks and other power projects they brought the country to virtual bankruptcy. In three decades the poverty level grew from 50 to 70 percent, unemployment increased by 15 to 17 percent, public debt increased from $240 to $16 billion and the natural resources allocated to the poor declined from 20 to 6 percent.
Although oil accounts for almost half of Ecuador's exports since Texaco and Shell discovered petroleum in the Amazon in the 60s the oil companies receive $75 for every $100 of crude oil taken. Three quarters of the remaining $25 goes to pay off the debt by selling Ecuador's rain forest to the oil companies.
The people of Ecuador are afraid of the oil companies as they are destroying the forests and poisoning the rivers. The Trans-Andian pipeline leaked over a half million barrels of oil into the rain forest-more than twice the amount spilled by Exxon Valdez in Alaska. Many people, animals and vast areas of the rain forest have died. Thirty thousand indigenous people hired American lawyers to file a $1 billion lawsuit against ChevronTexeco Corp. for dumping 4 million gallons of oil-contaminated wastewater, heavy metals and carcinogens into the rivers. The 350 uncovered waste pits continue to kill both people and animals.
In August 1979 Jaime Roldós became the first elected president after a long line of dictators. In May 1981 he warned the US foreign interests he would force them to leave if they did not help the Ecuador people and use the natural resources responsibly. He died in the fiery airplane crash a few weeks later. Newpapers blazed "CIA assassination" and Perkins said the circumstances supported the allegations. He says U.S. assassins are called "jackals" by the international consulting firms.
Osvaldo Hurtado took over as Equador's president and launched an ambitious program to increase oil drilling by Texico and other foreign companies in the Gulf of Guayaquil and the Amazon basin.
Perkins says most countries including Indonesia, Guatemala, Chile, Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Panama are beholden to the U.S. global empire and have suffered a similar fate. Third world debt has grown to more than $2.5 trillion. The top one percent of third world households account for 70-90% of the wealth and real estate while over half the people of the world survive on less than $2.00 a day about the same they received in the 1970s.
When Perkins finally admitted that only a few people profit when a country has a debt burden and felt guilt that U.S. foreign policies were alienating many nations and ultimately led to the U.S. attacks on September 11 he left Chas. T. Main.
He decided he could no longer be a part of a system that uses fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, assassinations and war to foster impoverishment of millions of people across the planet, where citizens are used for cheap labor and deprived of health benefits, education and social services.
He recommends that U.S. apply the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all people of the world not just Americans as history shows that communism and terrorism are predictable reactions to oppression and exploitation. In the long run no one benefits from world starvation, diseases, deforestation and water and air pollution. He also believes big corporations, banks and government can decrease terrorism if they used their resources to end poverty, disease, starvation and wars.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fact or fiction, the message deserves serious attention, 14 April 2006
By 
Tim Burness (Brighton, England) - See all my reviews
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for understanding modern economics, 23 Sept. 2009
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
3.0 out of 5 stars A very easy to read book about a very difficult dilemma, 25 April 2006
By 
GJ Glass (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars And the confessions that are still outstanding..., 10 May 2013
By 
John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) - See all my reviews
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I first read this book not long after its publication in 2004. Perkins certainly plays to the liberal "home-town" crowd, telling us what we wanted to hear. Seemingly the right amount of decisions made in the "cigar and brandy backrooms," without going too far out on into the conspiracy realm. Irrefutably, America, particularly post-World War II, is governing its own version of a global empire. And it is easier, more "efficient" even, vis-à-vis previous global empires, if we have less "feet on the ground." Maintain control via a bits and bytes consensus on how "money should flow" as defined by the World Bank and the IMF. The system needs a few "enforcers," and he confesses to be one, an "economic hit man" (EHM). He writes in a fast-paced, punchy, thriller style. He covered areas that I know fairly well, and others were a revelation, such as Ecuador, where he had worked in his youth, in the Peace Corps. He commences the book with the charge that both Jaime Roldos, President of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, President of Panama, were killed in fiery airplane crashes "...because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire... we failed to bring Roldos and Torrijios around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in." I have no doubt that the CIA overthrew the democratically elected governments of Iran, in 1953, and Chile, in 1971, and have been active in destabilizing and overthrowing numerous other governments, so, do we add Ecuador and Panama to the pile? Or is it a case of an easy guilt-by-association, to echo a famous line from the movie Z [DVD] (1968): "Always blame the CIA, because if you are wrong, you are still really right!"

This book is moving towards a 1000 reviews at Amazon, with more than 25% in the 1 and 2 star category, and many of those have been written by that "liberal home-town" crowd that he plays to. In general, the reviews seem to say: Overall, he gets the dominant themes correct, but his "docudrama" style, and heavy narcissism, and first-person "I was there" style ring false.

So, what is there to add? I decided to carefully re-read the two chapters on an area that I knew fairly well: Saudi Arabia. I had lived there over two decades. Was there anything absolutely false? No. And he got some dominant themes largely correct. The "recycling the petrodollars" and JECOR, which was a dominant presence for a number of years, partnering American governmental agencies with their Saudi counterparts. Perkins sees the goats in the streets of Riyadh, in the early `70's, as a fitting symbol. And I notice his bibliography: Thomas Lippman, Robert Baer, and Holden and Johns. All good research, for getting many of the facts right. He claims to have gone there in 1974-75, but never says how long he stayed. However, he had enough time to develop an important relationship with "Prince W." who, "...I never determined that he was actually a crown prince." The phrase does not ring right: there is only one "crown prince," the next in succession to the throne. Perkins says that the place where beheadings took place was informally called "chop-chop square," true enough, and then says he was invited to watch one - but they were never pre-announced. And was it a Friday? Of course, a blonde American woman is involved in keeping "Prince W." happy; Perkins anticipates criticism by saying that yes, it is a stereotype...indeed! Undaunted though, Perkins goes on to claim that it is the woman's husband, a United Airlines pilot, who flies the 747 into Riyadh (could the airport runway accommodate such a plane in those days?) loaded with the company's office furniture, since the ports were clogged (also true, around 1976). A weaver of fantasy around numerous well-researched facts. Perkins managed to be in Iran during the last days of the Shah, and also managed to work in Osama bin Laden, and Perkins also made the pilgrimage to smell the rubble that was the Twin Towers in NYC.

All in all, sufficient to suggest that there are more confessions yet, hopefully to come. The numerous low-star, red flags are flying, and so I settled on the two-star one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but with some gaps..., 7 Feb. 2012
By 
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This review is from: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Kindle Edition)
John Perkins is a complex man. One one hand he manipulated entire countries with the power of numbers, and on the other he marvelled at their culture, peoples and historical values which turned him 180 degrees. He really seemed at odds with himself from the start of the first page.

This is a story of how the Americans built their global empire through seemingly simple strategic planning which involved getting mineral rich or politically beneficial countries to borrow money and be unable to pay it back. This gave the Americans the leverage to 'control' them. Or if all that failed, invade and murder! Both similar outcomes.

Now this isn't a true history lesson from Perkin's, it's a personal one of course. He took the role of facilitator as an economic adviser to make the numbers show that country X would blossom and grow with huge loans from America and American companies. This is the fascinating side of this book. Perkin's outlines the tactics and tricks used to make this happen and the way that the American government is implicit in the game of empire building. It's these tales that really make you turn the page...but...as you go through the stories you realise that there is something rather important missing from the details - figures. Considering the fact that Perkin's life revolved around them, his book does not. In fact, he describes numbers as anything other than in numeric terms [thousands, millions, billions etc...]. For example; he will tell you he was on huge retainers but never mention in any context what that meant at the time - what was it and what was the average wage? And it's this that makes the tale too vague or lessens the impact of the corruption, pay-offs, economic impact that he's so eloquently describing.

The second half of the book, which isn't as interesting to me as the above, is the juxtaposition he attempts to paint about how he really felt in the role of an EHM. Perkin's mentions all through the book that he was always at odds with his role, especially when he fully realised the impact he was having on peoples lives. He quit MAIN but only really half-heartedly (for a variety of reasons) but he seemed to be living the lifestyle of a wealthy man without many problems away from his work.

The back end of the book is mainly about the work he's done since leaving MAIN and the EHM role. A lot of it seems slightly sanctimonious as I was left with the feeling he just didn't want to leave the money that those roles brought him. This just didn't fit in with the message he was trying to put across of 'be kind to your fellow man / respect others / protect the planet / what are we leaving for our children' [I'm paraphrasing slightly but you get the idea]. Particularly when taking consultancy roles to keep quiet about his EHM days or the fact that he was still within the system but not being effective to change anything other than his bank account.

All-in-all an entertaining book which does give you an insight into some major world events and open your eyes as to who is actually running America [if you didn't already guess]. A worthwhile read, if a little light on specifics at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very compelling read., 9 Oct. 2012
By 
Mr. J. MacDonald "beer_fairy83" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I'll keep this short for now as I am just stating very briefly what I think, but I will edit this into a full review at a later date.

This very is as stated, very compelling. It is in equal parts deeply saddening and inspiring. It is a little light on in depth details of certain situations but strikes me as a compromise between the weighty details of historical events and the authors own impressions of them from his very particular standpoint. There are other books which delve a lot deeper than this one; though I will say that most of them have been written since and probably in response to this one.

It does seem as though the subject matter of the book might be a little 'dumbed down' for (forgive me) an American audience. Not that I am in any way inferring that 'Americans' would be any less capable of reading such a book, but that the view of an average 'American' on politics or world affairs may be ever so slightly to the right of ours in the UK and as such, they as an audience be a little less receptive or sympathetic to some of the views presented in this book.

Never the less, I would say that this book was a very good starting for anyone who wanted to get a grapple on why things are the way they are in the world today. I would suggest it as an absolute must read for anyone who feels that the state of the world today is not quite as we all would wish.

As I say, I will tidy this review up and improve upon it at a later date.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book should be compulsary reading for everyone., 20 Dec. 2005
An excellent book, it's entertaining because its' like reading a Spy novel. However, it asks questions about the world we live in and gives some answers from the author's perspective which are quite intruiging. Some bits seem hypocrytical and some sensationalised, but it is a book that has made me look at my life and my world in a new light. I highly recommend it even if you want to look at it simply as an enjoyable spy novel, but do read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and pass it on, 29 Jun. 2006
By 
J. Strong (London) - See all my reviews
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This really should be compulsory reading. It makes sense of a lot of events, wars and interventions that have happened throughout the world and gives you the real story as to why America and The West feel the need to wade in where they are not wanted for 'the greater good'- I was amazed, horrified and educated.
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