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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Paperback – 1 May 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 211 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1st edition (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141024534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141024530
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Impassioned, hugely informative, wonderfully controversial, and scary as hell (John le Carré)

Packed with thinking dynamite … a book to be read everywhere (John Berger)

If you read only one non-fiction book this year, make it this one (, Books of the Year Metro)

There are few books that really help us understand the present. The Shock Doctrine is one of those books (John Gray Guardian)

Lucid, calm, impeccably researched, gorgeously readable (, Books of the Year Observer)

A brilliant, brave and terrifying book (Arundhati Roy)

Powerful … epic … dramatic (Daily Telegraph)

A brilliant book written with a perfectly distilled anger, channelled through hard fact. She has indeed surpassed No Logo (Independent)

Excoriating … passionate and informed … Her prose packs a punch (Scotsman)

About the Author

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the #1 international bestsellers The Shock Doctrine, No Logo and This Changes Everything. She is a member of the board of directors for 350.org, a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute, and a former Miliband Fellow at the LSE. She holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King's College, Nova Scotia.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ideology aside, I consider this to be one of the most important books of our time. The reason I started off the way I did is that many people will react to Naomi Klein's book based on their political leanings. In fact, before starting this book, I was inclined to disagree with her premise -that Chicago School economics can be directly tied to oppressive regimes in many parts of the world. This book, however, thoroughly proves this disconcerting truth. The Shock Doctrine is also a brilliant expose and an elegant model which enables us to understand modern history in a new way.

I had originally seen a short video online that summarized the ideas of this book, and my first reaction (again, before reading the book) was that this must be a typical leftist rant, making an abstruse analogy between an economic system with which the author disagrees and real life practices like torture and shock treatment. As someone who was raised, or at least self-raised as basically a libertarian, I did not want to believe Klein's argument. In fact, the only reason I bothered to read the book is that I liked her earlier book, No Logo so much. She is one of the few writers on political and economic subjects whom I actually enjoy reading. Her style is so lucid that, even if I don't agree with some of her ideas, I understand where she is coming from and enjoy following her reasoning.

Alas, there is nothing abstract, symbolic or abstruse about The Shock Doctrine. Nor is it any kind of conspiracy theory, as one reviewer oddly remarked. Everything in this book is well documented, and most of the references are anything but obscure. You can find almost everything that is written about here by going back over newspapers of the last few decades.
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Naomi Klein's basic thesis is this:- that the right wing conflation between (A) deregulated, free-market, laissez-faire capitalism (what in this country we would refer to as 'Thatcherism') with (B) basic human freedom is a myth, a dangerous myth.

Naomi Klein wrote this book in 2007 at the dusk of the Bush II era and leads the reader through an alternative version of history which traces the darkly illiberal policies of the Bush II Whitehouse back to Pinochet's Chile in 1973. The thread that weaves together Klein's over-arching narrative is the idea that proponents of what she refers to as 'Chicago School economics' (the ideas of Milton Friedman as articulated in 'Capitalism and Freedom' and which would later form the ideological backbone of Thatcherism, Reagonomics and Neo-Conservatism) have, whilst proclaiming the theoretical indivisability between free markets and free peoples, in actual practice, required more authoritarian governments to implement 'free-market' policies in foreign soil.

Klein' book points to the importance in politics of ideas and of ideology and highlights that the most salient feature of what is often referred to as free-market/laissez-faire capitalism in the last forty years, as it has sought to destroy the post-war consensus, has been the frequency with which it has rode on the back of disasters or 'shocks' so as to ruthlessly implement its basic tenets - whether that be in Pinochet's Chile in the 1970s, Yeltsin's Russia of the 1990s or in Iraq in the Noughties - against the wishes of the common man or woman and through undemocratic means. Thereby exposing as a lie the basic premise of 'free markets' as extolled as an article of faith by its proponents that it is the only truly democratic form of political economy.
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Format: Paperback
This book has shocked me thoroughly. In Denmark, we currently have a liberal government slowly dismantling our welfare system, which some would say is about high time since we have the highest taxes in the world. But reading the Shock Doctrine I have become a staunch believer in a social democratic society. I will happily pay my high taxes if I can trust my government is spending them right. The alternative is not an option for me. A happy society is one where all people have true opportunities, where very few are poor, and where those who are not able to fend for themselves are helped to lead a decent life by the society.
What is so ironic about Naomi Klein's revelations is the fact that the US shout out to anyone who cares to listen that they are defending democracy and want to spread it to the Middle East and elesewhere. Yeah sure. What hypocracy! The Shock Doctrine reminds us that the US have been behind the dismantling of some 12 democracies around the world for pure economic and geopolitical self-interest. My estimate is that most of those countries would today have been well functioning, prosperous democracies instead of poor developing nations traumatized by former cruel dictatorships installed by the US.
I don't know about you Americans, but I'm sure ready for CHANGE :O)
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Format: Paperback
Naomi Klein has written an essential book that examines the ideological origins, and the methods of implementation, of the ideas which have been central to the global economic transformation of the last 40 years, which is often associated with terms such as "globalization," "free trade," and "unfettered free market capitalism." It is an immense and complex subject, and whose eyes do not begin to glaze over when the subject of GATT, or WTO talks is raised, but Klein has done a most impressive job of offering the reader an erudite and lucid exposition of this transformation. She has meticulously researched the subject, and has coupled that with interviews of some key actors in the transformational events. The book is accompanied by 75 pages of footnotes, a few of which I verified for accuracy.

Klein starts her work in an unlikely place: the basement of the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It was there in the 1950's that Dr. Ewen Cameron, an American who was one time was president of the American Psychiatric Association, conducted experiments which were eventually funded by the CIA, on mentally-ill, and not so mentally-ill patients. Klein's interview with one of the survivors of Cameron's experiments was truly horrifying. Purportedly the CIA was funding such experiments "for a good cause," that is, to help captured American soldiers survive "brainwashing," which were conducted during the Korean War. In actuality, the CIA was to adopt many of the techniques that Cameron pioneered in its efforts to maintain "friendly" regimes throughout what was once called the Third World. The pictures of prisoners at Gitmo, with ear-mufflers and thick gloves, all in an effort to reduce sensory stimulus, are a direct result of Cameron's work.
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