The Secret History of an American Empire

The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hitmen, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption, opens with the author, John Perkins, need to confess. He briefly discusses that this is a sequel to his first book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Throughout the book he discusses his experiences as an Economic Hit Man (or EHM for short). From what I gathered from reading the book is EHMs travel all over the world to find new places for big businesses to take advantage of. Perkins divides the book into five main parts, four of the parts being parts of the world he traveled and the last part about how the world can be changed.

Two of the surprising experiences that Perkins had occurred in Indonesia. First he discusses the use of geishas. He had met two women while in Indonesia that said they work for businessmen to get information from other businessmen. One of the girls say “it doesn’t matter how we get them, as long as we are getting results.” They mention that they mostly deal with men in the oil business, this makes sense because this is one of the largest global businesses to be in. Another surprising fact that is found in this book is the idea of disaster profiteering. Perkins compares the tsunami of 2004 to a war in a sense that both are profitable to big business. US troops were sent in because most leaders and power suppliers were wiped out. They were pretty much pushed towards a treaty with the people most benefiting were from the US government.

I felt that the book read more like a spy novel rather than something that I want to use to gain insight on economics. The way the author states that he is doing a huge favor to the world by revealing what big business and government are doing behind the scenes is annoying. He also talks about many big businesses trying to bribe millions of dollars to not publish his book, if that were the case I think he would have taken the money. What is beneficial though is that he says he experienced all these thing which in my opinion is better than reading something by someone who has the outside perspective. In my opinion I would read this book more for entertainment rather than educational purposes.

The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals and the Truth About Global Corruption is written by John Perkins and Published by Penguin Group, New York, New York. Copyright 2007.




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