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Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope (American Empire Project) [Kindle Edition]

Chalmers Johnson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.89
You Save: $7.11 (44%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

The author of the bestselling Blowback Trilogy reflects on America's waning power in a masterful collection of essays 

In his prophetic book Blowback, published before 9/11, Chalmers Johnson warned that our secret operations in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe would exact a price at home. Now, in a brilliant series of essays written over the last three years, Johnson measures that price and the resulting dangers America faces. Our reliance on Pentagon economics, a global empire of bases, and war without end is, he declares, nothing short of "a suicide option."

Dismantling the Empire explores the subjects for which Johnson is now famous, from the origins of blowback to Barack Obama's Afghanistan conundrum, including our inept spies, our bad behavior in other countries, our ill-fought wars, and our capitulation to a military that has taken ever more control of the federal budget. There is, he proposes, only one way out: President Obama must begin to dismantle the empire before the Pentagon dismantles the American Dream. If we do not learn from the fates of past empires, he suggests, our decline and fall are foreordained. This is Johnson at his best: delivering both a warning and an urgent prescription for a remedy.

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Editorial Reviews


"Stimulating and prescient. . ."
Times Literary Supplement
"Succinct, hard-hitting attacks on what the author perceives as America's ruinous imperial follies..."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Concise, clear, hard-hitting. . . Dismantling the Empire is a must read for anyone looking for meaningful information concerning the future of the American Empire."
Foreign Policy Journal
Praise for Chalmers Johnson
“Johnson wants the scales to fall from American eyes so that the nation can see the truth about its role in the world. His is a patriot’s passion: his motive is to save the American republic he loves.”
—Jonathan Freedland, The New York Review of Books
“The role of the prophet is an honorable one. In Chalmers Johnson the American empire has found its Jeremiah. He deserves to be heard.”
—Andrew J. Bacevich, The Washington Post Book World
“Chalmers Johnson’s important new book is something with which everyone who aspires to a worthwhile opinion about this country’s future must contend.”
The Los Angeles Times (on Nemesis)
“Trenchantly argued, comprehensively documented, grimly eloquent. . . Worthy of the republic it seeks to defend.”
The Boston Globe (on The Sorrows of Empire)
“Stunning and shocking. . . Blowback is a wake-up call for America.”
—John Dower, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Embracing Defeat

About the Author

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is the author of the bestselling books Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis, which make up his Blowback Trilogy. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, Harper's Magazine, The Nation, and

Product Details

  • File Size: 317 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books (August 17, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P8Q5OE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
192 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely - August 20, 2010
Chalmers Johnson is professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. Chalmers Johnson minces no words on his concerns with a U.S. overemphasis on the military. "The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will . . . condemn the U.S. to . . . imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union."

The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, we have 99,295 connected to U.S. forces living there. The only purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible. Britain, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Japan have given up their empires, and we should too. Per Nick Turse ('The Complex: How the Military Invades our Everyday Lives') we could net $2.6 billion selling our base assets at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and another $2.2 billion for Guantanamo Bay - just two of those facilities. The Pentagon also has 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals, a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.

Meanwhile, we continue trying to pacify Afghanistan, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Britain and the Soviet Union previously failed. Even Pakistan cannot command the Pashtun tribes in its own area; worse yet, its army trains Taliban fighters in suicide attacks and orders them to fight American and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, while extorting huge amounts of money from Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf emirates, and the U.S. to train 'freedom fighters.
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Professor Chalmers Johnson, a Korean War veteran and former CIA consultant, obviously is well-informed. This review is based on the unabridged audio CD.

Chalmers has the catchiest book titles: Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire; The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic; Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic; and now Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope. His stature as an author, critic of U.S. foreign policy and declinist has grown with his audience.

In summary, Chalmers presents a well-researched and well-reasoned argument that the U.S. has to urgently scale back its commitments around the world, including withdrawal from military bases abroad, to save its democracy. The alternative appears to be bankruptcy and some form of dictatorship. It's not difficult to imagine either when listening to Chalmers' calm presentation of the facts.

Retreat from any type of venture is never easy. Yet Chalmers is calling on the U.S. to retreat from Empire. The listener would have benefited from examples of empires that deliberately and methodically scaled down - if for no other reason than to be assured it is possible. Observance of current events does not provide encouragement that any of Chalmers' recommendations will be followed.

I recommend this book not because there is any likelihood that policy will be informed by it, but because it may help prepare the listener/reader for what lies ahead. The arguments presented herein can't hurt you.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Up to the Nemesis Trilogy October 15, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read, reviewed, and urged Johnson's work on others for years, going back to his work on peasant nationalism vs communism. This time, however, I am saddened to make a case that this book can be skipped. Of course, any critic of Johnson stands on a land mine of his prescience but in this case, I feel quite safe. Why does one read him? In the first place, to learn from his incredibly skillful research methods which are, sad to say, absent here. No footnotes. Check for yourself before you buy, on p197. The footnotes are online only and may have disappeared. Secondly, we read Johnson for his wit and razor like critique, which is here, but for the most part, it has been elsewhere, online at TomDispatch. That is doubly no fair when he criticizes others for the same thing in his Dismantling text. Moreover, Johnson softens in this book his sharp analysis of fascism in the US, which appears all the time elsewhere. Next, we read Johnson for his insider knowledge, perhaps most of it drawn from his days as a CIA asset. This is here too. But it's just not as keen. Dismantle the Empire? Like the British? Probably not. The US does not have the Brits to hide behind. But Johnson, a die-hard anti-Marxist and something of a patriot (maybe he picked that up from mentor Hannah Arendt who could well have recruited him to the CIA and bear in mind that his Marxism is always conflated with Sovietism or Maoism)still insists that imperialism is hubris mixed with militarism. It is far more than that. It is the birth twin of capital. It is necessary to the socio-economic system as it searches for cheap labor, raw material, markets and regional control. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read. A must in any library
Found this book at a local B & N, after a couple of pages I ordered it through Amazon. a great read. A must in any library.
Published 1 month ago by Claudio Bolanos
5.0 out of 5 stars Chalmers has America figured out and tells it like he sees it
Chalmers has America figured out and tells it like he sees it. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has even the smallest interest in understanding where our country is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Wally Emerson
4.0 out of 5 stars good stuff
If you know anything about Chalmers Johnson, then you know that this is a good book. If you do not, let me tell you something... Read more
Published 6 months ago by F. Arboleda
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Up To Others On the Topic, But Worth Reading
This book has lots of interesting information about how wide-ranging U.S. military committments have become (and how irrelevant to our interests) and about some of the many ways in... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Anne Mills
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a collection of articles
Disparate might be the word that best describes this book. I'm a fan of Johnson, but here he seems to have just slapped together a bunch of hardly related treatises, true in... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bill Deef
5.0 out of 5 stars No false hopes raised.
Chalmers Johnson was an observer of the decline of what flawed democracy we once had, and he does not attempt to mitigate the loss even of that by raising false hopes. Read more
Published 11 months ago by goedelite
3.0 out of 5 stars Repetative
he went in circles over and over quoting the number of US military bases at least 10 times in the book but with different numbers each time. Read more
Published 11 months ago by S. Benn
4.0 out of 5 stars Listen to this man!
Author Chalmers Johnson is the president of the Japan Policy Research Institute. I had read his "Sorrows of Empire" and was very impressed with his thinking. Read more
Published 14 months ago by R. Z. Halleson
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the whole blowback trilogy
Collection of short essays not as extended research as blow back series and makes much of the same points. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Petra Calman
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
an awesome book on everything that the US gov has done in the world and the people that it has pissed off.
Published 17 months ago by Jamie Michael Norris
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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.


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