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

by Chalmers Johnson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 4, 2004 0805075593 978-0805075595
Now with a new and up-to-date Introduction by the author, the bestselling account of the effect of American global policies, hailed as “brilliant and iconoclastic” (Los Angeles Times)

The term “blowback,” invented by the CIA, refers to the unintended results of American actions abroad. In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the dangers faced by our overextended empire, which insists on projecting its military power to every corner of the earth and using American capital and markets to force global economic integration on its own terms. From a case of rape by U.S. servicemen in Okinawa to our role in Asia’s financial crisis, from our early support for Saddam Hussein to our conduct in the Balkans, Johnson reveals the ways in which our misguided policies are planting the seeds of future disaster.

In a new edition that addresses recent international events from September 11 to the war in Iraq, this now classic book remains as prescient and powerful as ever.

Frequently Bought Together

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)
Price for all three: $34.50

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

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.

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: #118,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stealth imperialism 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark and masterpiece of foreign policy analysis 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Pull Your Head Out or Die With It In The Sand 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars All Americans need to read this!
If you really want to know what America is really about, read all of Chalmers Johnson's books. He explains in detail how we started our empire, how we got to the point where we are... Read more
Published 13 days ago by D. Denton
5.0 out of 5 stars Blowback
This title and the other two books by the late Chalmers Johnson,which are known as his trilogy, pull no punches about the perils of United States actions and attitudes on the world... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sandra B. Sheldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Radical
Wow, books like this remind us of how important and healthy it is to occasionally have your preconceived notions torn to shreds. Read more
Published 7 months ago by César Chávez
5.0 out of 5 stars "Blowback" - or in other words why did 9/11 and other world-wide...
He is a scholar of East Asian economics and political science. I can't remember exactly what group he was asked to join but it was either the Pentagon, CIA or some other... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sharon C.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great read
There's a lot here that American citizens need to know about. This comes from an experienced foreign service worker, so I believe that he knows what he's talking about.
Published 8 months ago by Donald A. Tevault
5.0 out of 5 stars Age of Empire
Blowback is a wonderful contemporary explanation of how the thirst of power, of establishing hegemony over world and it's consequences work. Read more
Published 11 months ago by D. Timothy Mccoy
1.0 out of 5 stars This is so slanted to the socialist viewpoint.
This author has a disdain toward all American action for the past 50 years. Fortunatly his views are still a minority. God bless Amercia and not this book.
Published 12 months ago by Tom Steer
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless!
A treasure of a book. Very important for today's world!
A total pleasure to read it. Incredible work by the author. Totally recommended!
Published 14 months ago by G. S. Ortiz
3.0 out of 5 stars book
A so-so book as far as reading material goes, I guess it is all dependent on perspective and political views.
Published 16 months ago by Winnie
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical review of American misconduct leading to...
Well documented readale history of American arrogance and misconduct in the military industrial complex. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Steven Roberts
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