"Detailed, passionate and convincing . . . [with] the pace and grip of a good thriller."--Anatol Lieven, The New York Times Book Review
"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 toppling of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, 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 but the latest 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 foreign regimes. He details the three eras of America's regime-change century--the imperial era, which brought Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Nicaragua, and Honduras under America's sway; the cold war era, which employed covert action against Iran, Guatemala, South Vietnam, and Chile; and the invasion era, which saw American troops toppling governments in Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Kinzer explains why the U.S. government has pursued these operations and why so many of them have had disastrous long-term consequences, making Overthrow a cautionary tale that serves as an urgent warning as the United States seeks to define its role in the modern world.
"Citizens concerned about foreign affairs must read this book. Stephen Kinzer's crisp and thoughtful Overthrow undermines the myth of national innocence. Quite the contrary: history shows the United States as an interventionist busybody directed at regime change. We deposed fourteen foreign governments in hardly more than a century, some for good reasons, more for bad reasons, with most dubious long-term consequences."
--Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
"Stephen Kinzer has a grim message for those critics of the Iraqi war who believe George W. Bush to be America's most misguided, uninformed, and reckless president. Bush has had plenty of company in the past century--presidents who believe that America, as Kinzer tells us, has the right to wage war wherever it deems war necessary."
--Seymour M. Hersh
"Stephen Kinzer's book is a jewel. After reading Overthrow, no American -- not even President Bush -- should any longer wonder 'why they hate us.' Overthrow is a narrative of all the times we've overthrown a foreign government in order to put in power puppets that are obedient to us. It is a tale of imperialism American-style, usually in the service of corporate interests, and as Kinzer points out, 'No nation in modern history has done this so often, in so many places so far from its own shores.' "