• by Stephen Kinzer
  • Narrated by Michael Prichard
  • 15 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A fast-paced narrative history of the coups, revolutions, and invasions by which the United States has toppled 14 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.


What the Critics Say

"[Kinzer] brings a rich narrative immediacy to all of his stories." (Publishers Weekly)
"Kinzer's narrative abounds with unusual anecdotes, vivid description, and fine detail, demonstrating why he ranks among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." (The Washington Post's Book World)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Looking at the dark side

Like most countries, the US tends to highlight its successes and downplay its failures, thinking itself an idealistic champion and denying avaricious or base motivations.

This book provides some balance to that PR-driven view by filling in some of the darker chapters of our history, ones rarely taught in our public schools.

As the author states in his introduction, "The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not an isolated episode. It was the culmination of a 110-year period during which Americans overthrew fourteen governments that displeased them for various ideological, political and economic reasons."

The author isn't talking here about the world wars. He describes actions that were often based on a desire to protect American (sometimes multinational) corporations, though the public rationale was spun as protecting our national security or liberation of those in the country whose government was to be overthrown.

Some of these histories are well known, most are not to anyone who hasn't benefited from some college-level exposure to the history and politcs of the 20th century.

There's plenty here that will help put our actions into better perspective.

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- Stanley

Shocking and revelatory

This book should be required reading for any American interested in our real foreign policy and its darker motivations and actions. The facts speak for themselves, and this is a well researched history. However, the author occasionally muses about what might have happened if our politicians had taken another course - this we will never know. Also, I found the reader's intonation to be rather stiff and his Henry Kissinger sounds more like Bela Lugosi. Perhaps intentional! Regardless, Overthrow is a riveting exploration of events, and listening to it late at night felt like being read an evil bedtime story.
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- Martha

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-08-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio