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How to Hide an Empire

How to Hide an Empire

2019 . History, United States, Military, Political Science, Colonialism & Post-colonialism . Daniel Immerwahr

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How to Hide an Empire
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About the book


Named one of the ten best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune A Publishers Weekly best book of 2019 | A 2019 NPR Staff Pick A pathbreaking history of the United States’ overseas possessions and the true meaning of its empire We are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is an “empire,” exercising power around the world. But what about the actual territories—the islands, atolls, and archipelagos—this country has governed and inhabited? In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr tells the fascinating story of the United States outside the United States. In crackling, fast-paced prose, he reveals forgotten episodes that cast American history in a new light. We travel to the Guano Islands, where prospectors collected one of the nineteenth century’s most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on U.S. soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr shows how U.S. doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the U.S. Congress. In the years after World War II, Immerwahr notes, the United States moved away from colonialism. Instead, it put innovations in electronics, transportation, and culture to use, devising a new sort of influence that did not require the control of colonies. Rich with absorbing vignettes, full of surprises, and driven by an original conception of what empire and globalization mean today, How to Hide an Empire is a major and compulsively readable work of history.






Farrar, Straus and Giroux




0374172145 (ISBN13: 9780374172145)

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Fernando Torre

2 years ago


Excellent book in a topic that is seldom mentioned anywhere: the imperialist expansion of the United States and its impact on many of the territories and the people impacted by that expansion. The book deserves a lot of credit for an objective and thorough account of topics that are usually swept under the carpet by mainstream publishing. The author is an academic in the history field and provides a very extensive list of references, including primary sources. My main criticism is that his account is not complete enough. I found the discussion on the impact of the US intervention in the Philippines extremely interesting, and the space dedicated to Puerto Rico both accurate and objective However not enough attention is given to the treatment of native Americans, to the war with Mexico, or to the US opportunistic intervention in Cuba’s war of independence.

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