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Blowback, Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0805075595 ISBN-10: 0805075593

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Blowback, Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire + The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project) + Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (January 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805075593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805075595
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Blowback is expansive thinking . . . a straight-talking analysis of America’s global conduct during the Cold War and since, and what we’re going to pay for it.” —The Nation

“Johnson is on to something . . . It is indeed a new post–Cold War ballgame, and Johnson’s warning, if it were heeded in Washington, would help keep America safe from the temptation of untrammeled power.” —Newsday

About the Author

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times and The Nation. Author of the forthcoming The Sorrows of Empire, and numerous books on Japan and Asia, including MITI and the Japanese Miracle and Japan: Who Governs?, he lives in southern California.

More About the Author

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blowback and The Sorrows of Empire. A frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, and The Nation, he appeared in the 2005 prizewinning documentary film Why We Fight. He lives near San Diego.

Customer Reviews

This book was a very interesting read.
A very interesting reading, highly recommended to all.
Francesco Lovecchio
The power of the US Military is one example.
C. B Collins Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this hard-hitting analysis, Chalmers Johnson explains the goals and the hidden (from its inhabitants) functioning of the US hegemon: an empire based on military power and the use of US capital and markets to force global economic integration on US terms at whatever costs to others.

On the military front, the US population forgot G. Washington's warning: `avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.'

The US intelligence and military establishment is close to being beyond civilian control and becoming an autonomous system, whose colossal budget with its juicy cost-plus contracts is only controlled by vested ideological and financial interests. This book shows clearly that US presidents, like Carter or Clinton, had not the power to oppose the Pentagon's designs: perpetuate and develop the Cold War structures in order to consolidate its power. The ends justify all means as numerous intelligence or military interventions in the world show, which sponsored dictatorships, genocidal campaigns, war crimes, state terrorism and paramilitary death-squads. 90 % of all US weapons were sold, not to democracies, but to human right abusers.

On the economic front, globalization US style provoked economic disasters in South-Asia and South-America, throwing millions of people into poverty. However the US still urged its `allies' to buy weapons! This kind of globalization, which provoked still more economic inequality, will not be forgotten for a long time (see W. Bello: Dilemmas of Domination.).

By overstretching its financial means (weapon systems are profligate economic waste), the US risks a long lasting downfall of the dollar.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By C. B Collins Jr. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow, this is a great book. Chalmers Johnson has written a major foreign policy critique that is well documented, well reasoned, and well written. The book deserves more than 5 stars. The next President of the United States, be he/she a Republican or Democrat, would be well advised to read this book.

When I read, I underline unique and insightful observations by the author. In this book, over 85% of the book was underlined when I finished the last page.

I would like to give you just a few of the points that Johnson offers in the book:

Johnson believes that our recent foreign policy has been handled poorly and that in fact our policies are stimulating our enemies around the globe to organize against us. Johnson produces considerable amounts of evidence and analysis to indicate that our foreign policy has come to be dominated by our Department of Defense and the CIA at the expense of the State Department. Though Johnson never brings us the subject, it reminded me of the argument presented in Margaret Tuchman's Guns of August that this happened in World War I, where military actions were taken unilaterally with little diplomacy prior to the war. The generals out-maneuvered the diplomats and was was the result.

Johnson shows careful documentation and analysis to indicate that this faulty foreign policy is a holdover from the Cold War, which the Soviets lost 15 years ago, but which the United States may lose in the future because of our clinging to Cold War military, foreign, and economic policies.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bobby W. Miller on July 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book deserves five stars, but I can tell you it's nothing like listening to this man speak in person. As in "Blowback" he lays it all out on the table. Sadly he says, "We just may have gone pass the point of no return." Americans now know that authors like Chalmers Johnson, Norm Chomsky, Webster Griffin Tarpley and Paul Waldman are not just over-educated nay sayers. We know that we're in real trouble, we just don't know what to do about it. If 9/11 proved nothing else, it proved that aircraft carriers, F16's, and smart bombs are useless against terrorists and apathy.

Dr. Johnson summarizes the status quo: "We have a strong civil society that could, in theory, overcome the entrenched interests of the armed forces and the military-industrial complex. At this late date, however, it is difficult to imagine how Congress, much like the Roman senate in the last days of the republic, could be brought back to life and cleansed of its endemic corruption. Failing such a reform, Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, waits patiently for her meeting with us."

I am without the education to travel in the circles of the aforementioned authors, but I can in my own way address my fellow blue collar workers... The media has dubbed me one of America's most controversial writers. I think it's because I criticize my own party, the Republican Party, instead of the Democrats. This unorthodox approach of mine gives people the wrong idea about me. I don't hate predators. If there weren't hawks in this country, those in other countries would show up here. Do not misinterpret "Hawk" to mean I approve of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney and their Hermann Goering protégés in the Pentagon. Bush is a mouth and a pen; he's in a different league altogether than his vice president. Cheney is a vulgar, immoral, sadistic subhuman. Does that make me a Libertarian?
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