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This is perhaps the best political book I have read, certainly the best on US foreign policy I have seen anywhere. Every American needs to get this book and investigate what it says. If they doubt its truthfulness they can look in other places to find further information, but the plain fact is most Americans would not know 99% of what is in this book...and they have to or our "democracy" is a joke. Even if this book is biased, a biased view that can be investigated is better than total ignorance. However I do not think this book is that biased to begin with, most of the actual facts exist in thousands of other books, they have just never been brought together so effectively.
While there are a lot of books out there on the evils of American foreign policy, this is the only one I have seen that goes through country by country, state by state to show how we intervened, year after year. There are other books by authors such as Noam Chomsky that may contain more detail and analysis, but none are as complete or are ordered so well.
After you read this you cannot help but put foreign policy as the main issue you care about in politics. Sure domestic issues are important, but what can that compare to us literally participating in the killing of thousands, and in some cases millions overseas? How can you even weigh domestic concerns compared to supporting torturing dictators for decades? The fact is our foreign policy is not that of the Nazi's, it differs in one very important way: we have gotten away with it for 50 years.
This book will give you as ugly a view of America as there is, but if you want to improve things (if thats even possible anymore) you need to start with the ugly truth.
It's a dense and heavily footnoted book, but turns out to be exceedingly readable. Pick any chapter at random and one can sit down for a smart 15-minute history lesson. I find Blum's book superior to others in the same field such as Chomsky. Blum throws in small doses of sarcasm and black humor even. He is merciless and sharp... I'm sure some would call it "slanted." However, considering the facts (or purported facts), one can see why the author is so relentless. Blum is fighting a tide of Americans growing less and less conscious of history, and this history, which has strongly shaped our present culture and political climate, was always propagandized, obscured, or swept under the rug as it unfolded. It is a subject of the highest importance, and Blum handles it admirably. Buy copies for your friends and enemies.
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Written by a former State Department employee, the author's wealth of knowledge and experience are thoroughly impressive, and this book is very easy to read and follow. Beginning at the end of WWII, the author lists, by country, US military involvement in chronological order. Readers will find the consequences - some of which are being seen today - profoundly interesting. Another reviewer mentioned that the book had a "blame America first" slant, but I sincerely doubt that reviewer read the entire book. While the book does specifically mention US involvement in the overthrow of democratically elected governments in places like Iran, Chile, and Indonesia, these incidents are generally known now. The people responsible are blamed, not the American people who were not privy to such Washington secrets. It is interesting to read why Washington powerbrokers chose military intervention: In some cases bowing to political interests, in other cases with fine intentions, in most cases not foreseeing the negative consequences for the US and the world. This book provides a concise background for the state of the world today.
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Over-all, this is a very precious book, and an essential reference on the history of US intervention, both military and clandestine or covert. I consider it an essential reference, and would like to see a 2014 edition updated to include rendition, torture, and assassination by drone with 2% effectiveness, meaning 98% of the thousands killed by CIA drones are "collateral damage" -- women, children, and other innocents.
As a former Marine Corps infantry office and former clandestine service case officer, and as an avid reader of non-fiction, I will gladly state on the record that this author has it largely right.
There are other books that complement this one--everything by Noam Chomspky, Derek Leebaert's "The Fifty-Year Wound," Chalmers Johnson on "Sorrows of Empire," Robert McNamara et al, "Wilson's Ghost," the DVD "Why We Fight," Ambassador Palmer's "The Real Axis of Evil" (on the 45 dictators we SUPPORT), and--with respect to the ignorance of America about reality, the two books, "Fog Facts," and "Lost History." See also Marine General Smedley Butler's short but hard-hitting work, "War is a Racket."
While I take the author with a grain of salt and do not appreciate his collaboration with Phil Agee, who betrayed his oaths to the US, whatever his reasons, on balance this book is an essential reference for anyone who wishes to understand why the rest of the world is beginning to conclude that we are the worst of all evils in our foreign policy behavior and misbehavior.