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Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Written by Stephen Kinzer

Narrated by Michael Prichard


Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Written by Stephen Kinzer

Narrated by Michael Prichard

ratings:
4.5/5 (30 ratings)
Length:
15 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 29, 2006
ISBN:
9781400172399
Format:
Audiobook

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Description

A fast-paced narrative history of the coups, revolutions, and invasions by which the United States has toppled fourteen foreign governments-not always to its own benefit.



"Regime change" did not begin with the administration of George W. Bush, but has been an integral part of U.S. foreign policy for more than one hundred years. Starting with the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 and continuing through the Spanish-American War and the Cold War and into our own time, the United States has not hesitated to overthrow governments that stood in the way of its political and economic goals. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 is the latest, though perhaps not the last, example of the dangers inherent in these operations.



In Overthrow, Stephen Kinzer tells the stories of the audacious politicians, spies, military commanders, and business executives who took it upon themselves to depose monarchs, presidents, and prime ministers. He also shows that the U.S. government has often pursued these operations without understanding the countries involved; as a result, many of them have had disastrous long-term consequences.
Publisher:
Released:
May 29, 2006
ISBN:
9781400172399
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Stephen Kinzer is the author of many books, including The True Flag, The Brothers, Overthrow, and All the Shah’s Men. An award-winning foreign correspondent, he served as the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, and writes a world affairs column for the Boston Globe. He lives in Boston.



Reviews

What people think about Overthrow

4.4
30 ratings / 10 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Easy to understand; the descriptions are detailed and enable the reader to visualize. After reading this piece of History, I will not get surprised anymore, with what is happening in the world currently.
    The pictures available with the hardcopy give faces to some of the key players in Overthrow.
  • (5/5)
    Comprehensive and highly detailed account of United States regime change efforts. This book is a must listen for any student of world history.
  • (3/5)
    Stephen Kinzer's "Overthrow" sought to illustrate a trended pattern of regime changes driven by the United States government on foreign land. He detailed specific situations and defined the categories of coups coupled with commonalities of the countries in which the USA initiated overthrows of key politicians.

    Blatant coups took place in countries with rich, natural resources that fell under foreign (namely, American) control; or in scenarios where nationalization of those resources were attempted, America stepped in to protect its corporate interests.

    Covert coups, typically of the Cold War Era, seemed to be conducted differently because they were based on an assumption that Communism need to be stopped. "Far easier was to categorize nationalism simply as a disguised form of Communist aggression and seek to crush it wherever it reared its ugly head" (pp. 215-216).

    "What distinguishes Americans from citizens of past empires is their eagerness to persuade themselves that they are acting out of humanitarian motives. For most of the "regime change" era, the United States did little or nothing to promote democracy in the countries whose governments it deposed" (pg. 316). The consistent, Immediate effects of US-driven coups led to "larcenous frenzy" (pg. 306), and insufficient troop support to stop fires, looting, and other crimes of opportunity.

    Kinzer's research revealed that The United States has mistakenly believed that in making a foreign country turn democratic that it can be equated with the political position of being pro-American. More often than not, the converse has revealed itself to be true. Coups/Overthrows tend to "bind the United States" to the subject matter countries. It was this form attachment that chiseled our almost inescapable legacy.

    "Overthrow" is the fourth book I have read by Stephen Kinzer, and it my least favorite of the bunch. It was typical for there to be a lack of transition between the chapters (typically representing a separate country), and when he tried to make the chapters connect toward the end of the book, his paragraphs seemed to jump around. The book lacked structural cohesion and seemed to be a rush-to-production book that took his research from previous books and slammed it together to call it a defined work. As such, it is not a book I would recommend to anyone; it was the fact that I am a fan of his that pushed me to read this compendium to completion.
  • (4/5)
    A brisk and interesting chronicle of fourteen instances of U.S. intervention to promote "regime change" -- the ouster of an existing government in favor of one that the U.S. preferred. Well-written and interesting, though it would be nice if he ventured further into the broader implications of U.S. interventionism.
  • (4/5)
    An important book for all Americans. We seem to have no memory of our own history. After 9/11, the President said the terrorists hate us for our freedom. This book suggests that there are many in the world with good reason to dislike the United States.
  • (5/5)
    A very interesting and fascinating history on an American century of regime change--starting with the overthrow of the Hawaiian Queen Liliuokami and ending with our present debacle in Iraq. Kinzer goes behind the scenes to ferret out the characters behind the coups and the more often than not hapless victims of their ambitions. For the most part these are cautionary tales of ambition, greed and deceit filtered through a more often than not blinkered and arrogant view of righteousness and 'good' intentions and more often than not come back to haunt us sometimes 20--30 even 60 years afterwards. Many of these countries are very familiar to us--Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq. Kinzer argues that what may seem politically expedient today can have awful ramifications far into the future if not thought out carefully--a secondary theme being how little Americans in general know (or are even interested for that matter) about world history and how this leaves us unprepared to objectively view the machinations of regime change when one president or another of ours gets an idea in his head.Particularly poignant are the chapters on Iran (the Mossadegh coup), Guatemala (Arbenz), Vietnam (the Diem assassination that JFK unwittingly provoked less than a month before his own assassination), Chile (Allende) and our aid to the Afghan rebels many of whom later will become soldiers for the Taliban or terrorists for Al Quaeda. American foreign policy throughout the century has a tendency to take its eye off the ball after deposing its enemies often leaving a slowly boiling population to suffer under the hands of ' friendly to american interests' military tyrants. Kinzer makes the point also that the aspirations of those people though usually in time come to fruition albeit more often than not with much resentment towards our government--seen afterwards for its cynicism and hypocrisy. Kinzer is an excellent storyteller--who writes skillfully and with much verve. He is able to pare things down without losing focus on the personalities and politics involved. He is able to tie the stories together into a coherent whole. They are easy to read--not hard to understand and give much food for thought. Very well done and very much recommended.