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Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World Paperback – 15 May 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Soft Bound Edition edition (15 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099448394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099448396
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Scrupulously, relentlessly...rescues the historical and documentary record from a web of distortion and self-serving illusion" (Noam Chomsky)

"The picture of British policies that Curtis reveals should serve as a call to action for those who hope to understand the world that has been shaped by Western power, and to overcome the injustice and suffering that is, in no small measure, its cruel legacy" (Noam Chomsky)

"A searing indictment of British Foreign policy" (C. R. Sridhar Blogcritics.org Politics)

Book Description

A timely and controversial critical expose of the reality of British foreign policy.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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 shows how the media justifies and supports the government's policies and it's here that a Chomsky-style analysis comes in to play.
For me, this was an important book because there are very few books available that expose the dirty history of the UK but many on the USA; it's too easy to criticise the USA without being aware of our own complicity.
As a society, we have been brought up believing in the benevolence of our country and hearing about all the good things we have done. This book is an important counter-balance and, I believe, is essential reading, not just for us Brits to see what is really going on in our name but also for those in the "developing world" who are on the receiving end of policies.
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Format: Paperback
Whilst the actions of the Bush administration has ensured that the reputation of the United States has taken a battering in recent years, its loyal ally in Europe, Great Britain, has not suffered to the same extent. Until now, there has not been a British equivalent of Wiliam Blum's Rogue State, an account of America's unscrupulous role in the 'New World Order'. Mark Curtis' Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World, remedies this situation at a most opportune time. Although the book has an introduction by John Pilger, presumably to give it critical credibility and sell a few more copies, Curtis should hardly need such publicity - he was the man who uncovered Britain's complicity in the murderous regime of General Suharto in Indonesia, and indeed has already published a pair of books dealing with British foreign policy: The Ambiguities of Power (1995) and The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and the New World Order (1998). Under the leadership of 'Teflon Tony' Blair, Britain has engaged in four major wars in five years: one as a leading member of Nato (Kosovo), one as a former Imperial master (Sierra Leone), and two (Afghanistan, Iraq) in an attempt to maintain something of its former importance in the world by tagging along with Bush's adventures.
In Europe, Britain is usually seen as a harmless, even well-meaning, partner. British popular culture, as manifested by sports or television, and the widespread use of the English language, has meant that Britain appears 'close'. Britain's dubious post-colonial foreign policy is often overlooked.
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Format: Paperback
In Web of Deceit, Curtis draws extensively on formerly secret government files and archive press reports to rescue crucial details from the memory hole. Fastidiously researched and impeccably sourced, this is essentially the missing history book of postwar British foreign policy. From propping up repressive governments to toppling democratically-elected ones and crushing popular rebellions, it's all a far cry from the simplistic and childish narrative of 'Our Boys versus The Evildoers' propagated by Whitehall, Westminster and Fleet Street.

Well organized, including 50 pages of end notes and a chronology of main events, it comes across like a British version of William Blum's 'Rogue State'. As you progress through the chapters on Kenya, Malaya, Rwanda, Iran, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo, Indonesia, Diego Garcia and more, it becomes ever more apparent that our post-9/11 interventions in the Middle East appear to be little more than business as usual. Even recent shocking allegations of torture are essentially nothing new.

This is quite a lengthy and comprehensive book; heavy on fact and quite wide-ranging in scope. Just a little repetitive in parts, but overall Curtis does a good job of preventing it all from becoming too dry, and for me at least, his writing seems to fall a healthy midway between the over-sentimentality that can sometimes threaten to diminish Pilger, and the dry convolution that can cripple Chomsky. Like those two writers, Curtis is not afraid to resort to the occasional caustic remark whenever words like 'ethical' or 'humanitarian' come into play - and in most instances, his sarcasm is justified.

Ultimately then, this does what it promises: it provides concrete evidence of deceit.
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Format: Paperback
This should be essential reading for anyone voting in the up-coming UK elections. In a similar vein to classic texts by Noam Chomsky (and John Pilger) this uncovers the truth behind the rhetoric. But Curtis is more detailed in his research than either Chomsky or Pilger. The evidence is on every page: our politicians lie to us and that lying is endemic and systematic. That they lie is bad enough but when these lies hide the crimes documented in this book, crimes committed with your taxes and in your name, you should be angry and deeply saddened.
Buy this book; read it and pass it on to a friend; it is that important.
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