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on 26 April 2009
I happened upon this book by chance and it sounded interesting so I bought it and I couldn't put it down. It reads like a good thriller and even moreso because it is true.

The first part about the shock treatments in the Canadian hospital was a little slow but when she really gets into the meat of the book you'll see how that fits in. It is a real roller coaster ride and very disturbing, yet it is a book that should be required reading in all secondary schools and/or universities.

If everyone read this book it would change the world, and for the better. This book makes you understand all the chaos, endless invasions and wars, assassinations, and coups that have gone on around us in this world for so many decades and why. It is extremely well documented and resourced.

Other books ("Confessions of an Economic Hitman", by John Perkins, books by Chalmers Johnson and Noam Chomsky et al) give excellent backup to this book, but "The Shock Doctrine" is the most "shocking" and comprehensive of all.

BUY THIS BOOK AND READ IT! You'll never think the same about this world again.
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on 30 October 2008
This is my first ever review on Amazon. No book has ever moved me to want to take action before like The Shock Dcotrine. Ok, so writing an Amazon review isn't going to change the world but getting as many people as possible to read this book is a step in the right direction.

A friend who recommended the book to me said it was powerful, but I wasn't prepared for just how powerful. Page after page I felt real physical rage and disbelief at how these horrific and world changing events have been happening for decades (and continue to happen) and yet have remained so under the radar of most of us.

Describing the contents of the book has been done very eloquently in other reviews, so I won't repeat that here. But I will just say PLEASE, whatever your political colour, however sceptical you are, PLEASE read this book, it will change how you view the world.
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on 9 November 2009
Everyone should read this book.

If you have ever wondered about the contradictions in the received explanations of Western policies, or of why our taxes seem to be handed over without question to private companies, then read this book.

If you want a scholarly, rigorous explanation for the madness of the free market that has so intoxicated ruling elites across the world, then read this.

Everything falls into place, contradictions become consistencies and the finger of truth points to the very few super-rich who wield power through trans-national companies and control governments around the world. This is not paranoia though you may feel a bit paranoid; this is not Marxism though you will despise Friedmanism and the Chicago school capitalists who spread the doctrine.

I was angry, sad, disillusioned and despairing at times, wondering about even my small involvement in British politics and the time I had wasted. However I now feel empowered by the truth thanks to Ms Klein. I hope that if you read this review that you go on to read the book and share my experiences. Truth does set us free!
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on 22 June 2008
It's the economy, stupid.

Do you have any idea of how much terror represents as a business?. Well, I didn't. After the economic "e-bubble" ended some years ago, the option at hand to push the economy was terror...

In this latest, well documented N. Klein's book, beginning in Montreal with the CIA's mind experiments back in the 50's, you'll be taken by the hand in tour from the University of Chicago campus to Buenos Aires, Santiago, La Paz, Caracas, New Orleans, New York, Beirut, Tel Aviv, etc. and to practically every place on Earth, that from those days, has represented an opportunity to put into practice what the author calls the "destruction capitalism" practices or M. Friedman's ideas on how to end (once and for all) with keynisian economics in the world, thanks to natural or man's created catastrophes.

An interesting interpretation to the most significant economic, political, social, cultural, etc. events in our world for the past 50 or 60 years... and a brilliant analogy between 1950's CIA's attempts to "erase" the mind of individuals to "recreate it" and attempts to "shock" economic systems to profit out of them...

Also shocking is Klein's disclosure of Latin America as an "economic shocking therapy" laboratory beginning with Chile's coup / Allende's killing back in '73.

Then, I found particularly fascinating Klein's explanation on the consequences (political and economic) of the Berlin's wall fall back in '89 (trust me, it's nothing to do with what thought you knew).

The upcoming described world, is to say the least, scary as hell. A kind of "Big Brother" world divided by walls, monitored by state of the art devices, and most of all, composed of very rich and very poor people... being only the first the ones who can pay for efficient healthcare, security, decent food, etc.

You cannot miss this book.
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on 11 February 2014
I will just go ahead and add to the din of approval out here. This is a total tour-de-force: thematically and historically. I have yet to come across a more comprehensive and concerned summary of the economic-political sphere post second world war. Had begun the book with some trepidation as Klein enlisted in detail the torture tactics perfected and exported by Dr Cameron in Canada thinking this seems like an over-written account of an analogy she is forcing down my throat. But I was completely wrong. There are no analogies here, just informed deductions. Deductions from accumulated evidence of systematic use of force and shock to impose free markets on the world-in-transition. All the bloody political coups, the failed wars, the pig-headed Chicago Boys driven foreign and economic policies, the freewheeling profiteering in the now-established disaster complex: all a result of those three pillars of neoliberalism: privatisation, deregulation and spending cuts: just watching them unfold here in country after country had my head spinning.

Lucid, gripping, laced with hard evidence and references, if this impassioned, yet objective account (no! it is not a Leftist rant!) does not lead you to have a political conscience or give you a perspective of the underlying web of economics on which our society of borders and institutions functions, nothing will. Klein's book is a wonderful springboard to understanding world politics as they just unfolded and continue to unravel. Spotting the patterns in seemingly disparate news items and the hidden capitalist agendas become that much easier after dipping into the particulates of the misery and mayhem designed and unleashed on countries the world over from South America, Asia, Middle East, Europe and finally, the home-ground US of A. A cracking document of our times!
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on 9 March 2014
I always take the time to read the worst rating of reviews on Amazon to try and get a balanced perspective of the books I read; especially when I think the book was as well documented and argued as this one. Ultimately, I have to give a 5-star review to this book (I would prefer 4.5, but this is not possible), not necessarily because I agree mostly with Ms Klein, but more because the writing is fluid, the content interesting and well-documented (not only by herself, but by a whole team that worked for her) although I tend to think the latter parts of the book are mired with rhetoric that is meant to please a left wing readership: a kind of "power to the people" chant that is more a political (-correct) statement than the detailed and researched evidence that seems to constitute the majority of the book and seems to be a sentiment echoed by a growing sub-section of Western population worldwide.

It is a pity she didn’t portray this book as a documentation of modern ‘neo-colonialism’ – the servitude of the many for the increased benefits of a super-rich few, irrespective of what country they live in today. But having lived in Southern Africa and India and travelled all through Asia, Africa and South America, her perspective seems to be extremely close to the perspectives of those locals, notably in terms of the “current events” and historical information that they seem to relay, which is not part of our mainstream Western news. Notably, she states these 20th Century historical facts, not merely stating names, dates and events, but by providing the reader with a compelling motive for the actions of Western countries’ governments. In this sense, it seems to be an interesting reference of the 20th Century history of developing nations.

All in all, I reckon for those interested in this book, the central thesis she defends and argues in this book is (p. 87): "[... Pinochet's] Chile under Chicago School Rule was offering a glimpse of the future of the global economy, a pattern that would repeat again and again, from Russia to South Africa to Argentina: an urban bubble of frenetic speculation and dubious accounting fuelling superprofits and frantic consumerism, ringed by the ghostly factories and rotting infrastructure of a development past; roughly half the population excluded from the economy altogether; out-of-control corruption and cronyism; decimation of nationally owned small and medium-sized businesses; a huge transfer of wealth from public to private hands, followed by a huge transfer of private debts into public hands."

Her book efficiently documents the following causal relationship. Social democratic tendencies in the developing world were painted as “communist”. Most of these nations have had natural resources which these soc-dem (“social democratic” or ‘pink’, i.e. not red/communist, using the official term) governments wanted to use for the benefit of their people, rather than for the benefit of enormous multinational companies. The US then spear-headed the toppling of these governments and their replacement because they constituted a “communist threat” and were replaced with bloody dictatorships where the beneficiaries of the new “free trade” agreements were the multinationals and a handful of “elite” dictators and their close entourage and “partners in crime”. These agreements with dictators were sealed with loans to develop the country (rather than using the money from the commercialisation of the said natural resources) that were ultimately paid (and are still being paid) by those individual tax-payers that were suppressed by their imposed dictatorships. All in all, it is a beautiful documentation of how western industries have been developed on the blood of the people and natural riches of these developing countries.

It would have been interesting if Ms Klein would have looked at the protectionist soc-dem of India (disregarding temporarily its inner inequalities due to their undying and archaic caste system) and how it was able to build into a now modernising and strengthening economy. Since an overwhelming part of the natural resources had already been extracted by the time the British declared its independence, the US and other nations did not see India as a country worth trying to “take over” by covert means. Furthermore, when India was looking for developmental aid, it often turned to communist nations, notably Russia, since the US was trying to tie aid with the inception of military bases in India. The latter was unacceptable to the Indian government and this perceived leaning towards Russia for aid was often viewed as India being pro-Russia or pro-Communist. Nonetheless, the protectionism stance of the Indian government has allowed its domestic industry to grow by-and-large through its own domestic demand, then they started opening up the economy in the late 80s early 90s through joint ventures of foreign and domestic companies into finally what we see today as a free, capitalist market we see in many Western countries (once again, to be considered with a good pinch of salt, considering there is such an enormous difference in wealth and income in India’s population).

On the other hand, there are several points I think she does not note of and might be important for readers for trying to reconcile her perceived “extremist” standpoint, as noted in some of the 1-star valuations of this book:

1. There seems to be a quite big chasm between the attitudes of American individuals, who in my experience have a good, kind and moral nature and the truly brutal, murderous and ‘profit-mongering at the price of indigenous foreign citizens’ 20th Century foreign policy the US has conducted post WWII.

2. Having read about Milton Friedman’s opinions and listened to many of his interviews, it seems that free-trade policies (based on Adam Smith's absolute and comparative advantages) and monetarism has been hijacked by an elite (worldwide, not just the US) in order to grant big companies an unfair advantage over any smaller or less powerful individuals or groups by means of open competition in a market where there isn't equal means/capacity. Milton Friedman seems to be an individual whose theories had the benefit of individuals at heart, including their freedom. The individuals that claim they have implemented his theories have done nothing more than just found an academic to build a smokescreen of excuses to implement a shadow agenda. I believe the problem with practical implementations of Friedman’s theories, is one I have notably seen for the last 5 years of last century in South Africa: individuals’ advocacy and claims to rights without the acquiescence of related responsibilities. Friedman, unfortunately, considered humans to be “rational”, which might have even underlying assumptions of maturity, open-mindedness and civic responsibility, foregoing the notion that profit-maximising might also entail the desire and use of power to obtain “a free lunch”, rather than make an effort and work in order to increase or gain profit. In his own words, using also the appropriate econometric jargon, Friedman states that capitalism is a necessary condition for freedom, but not a sufficient one. This is where practical applications of his theories have completely deviated from the theory, something that Ms Klein makes no mention of or allusion to.
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on 29 August 2008
Read and weep - Klein exposes the real power behind the world throne and the shoddy, extraordinary greed of the few who are happy to make money from the world's poor. Oh actually - BY making the rest of the world poor. The compelling story of how Milton Friedman's Chicago Boys realised that catastrophe gave them a vital window of opportunity in which to snatch and grab, in countries worldwide, starting with some "experiments" in Latin America. It's no news to economists, but it is to the rest of us - governments in "transition", such as Poland under Solidarity, were forced to seek help from the World Bank and IMF, only to be told that essential loans came with unbearable hardship and economic ruin for their citizens. Forced privatisations of state companies, all price controls lifted, so that essentials like bread and milk became unaffordable, and massive layoffs/unemployment. But the deal was always: accept our terms, or forget about securing loans - which these countries (like S.Africa, like Russia) needed to deal with the inherited debts of previous dictatorships. A rock and a hard place indeed. And guess who was controlling the IMF? And making all the money from buying up ex-state companies, only to sell them on for huge profit, or close them down so there'd be no competition for the American companies coming in? And that's before Klein even gets to discussing Iraq. Essential reading. Especially in the Big Brother age, when politicians would like us all to be looking the other way.
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on 15 April 2009
Many years ago, I read Milton Friedman's book "Free to Choose". At the time I thought it made a lot of sense, but I came away with the impression that Friedman was a one-trick pony - believing that the private sector held the answer to everything.

Now, having read "The Shock Doctrine", I realize that "Free to Choose" was written after Friedman got the chance to try out his theories in real life. The fact that his free market reforms lead to massive unemployment and spectacular inequality in societies that practice them didn't seem to give Friedman pause for thought. What is particularly striking about Naomi Klein's book is her assertion that the free market has nothing to do with democracy. Effectively, the neo-liberals and later neo-conservatives are actually neo-colonials out to get their hands on countries' public utilities for the greater good of massive multi-nationals.

"The Shock Doctrine" is that rare book where scholarly research is presented in a readable formet. If some of the things that have happened in recent times don't make sense, read this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on 13 January 2014
To be honest I bought this book thinking it was going to be a lot of hearsay and miscellaneous information that would be hard to digest. I can admit that I was completely wrong. The book is both written and researched in a manner which instils belief in the reader. There is nothing worse than reading a book and thinking - 'sounds good but is it really true?'. Throughout this book I have never thought this once, which, for me, made the read even more enjoyable. It is such a cliché but I could not put this book down. Even some of the more 'heavy' sections were painstakingly navigated.
As for the book I am not going to go into detail but for anyone disenchanted with the world, society or even with and inquisitive mind this book ticks all of the spots. There are no conspiracy theories just the truth. To be honest I am able to understand a lot of things after reading this book. If you are in doubt, pick it up, I am sure it will not disappoint.
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on 21 March 2014
Many books can just be dismissed as conspiracy theory. Even many good books get that thrown at them from their detractors just to lump them together with crap books by nutters and looneys. Klein doesn't try to show any sort of 'hidden' group of people in secret rooms who mumble strange mantras together, but highlights various political figures and events, from Pinochet's Chile through Reagan and Thatcher, to Iraq, and shows a common ethos and philosophy that will shock you. There are some links between these people but not like they all belong to some secret club. Their agendas just happen to be from the same mindset and political stable.

If you're hunting for the Illuminati, go find another book. This is just real politics, and stranger and worse than any 'conspiracy' I've come across. Fairly easy to read, too.
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