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

Stephen Kinzer, Author . Times $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7861-9

The recent ouster of Saddam Hussein may have turned "regime change" into a contemporary buzzword, but it's been a tactic of American foreign policy for more than 110 years. Beginning with the ouster of Hawaii's monarchy in 1893, Kinzer runs through the foreign governments the U.S. has had a hand in toppling, some of which he has written about at length before (in All the Shah's Men , etc.). Recent invasions of countries such as Grenada and Panama may be more familiar to readers than earlier interventions in Iran and Nicaragua, but Kinzer, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times , brings a rich narrative immediacy to all of his stories. Although some of his assertions overreach themselves—as when he proposes that better conduct by the American government in the Spanish-American War might have prevented the rise of Castro a half-century later—he makes a persuasive case that U.S. intervention destabilizes world politics and often leaves countries worse off than they were before. Kinzer's argument isn't new, but it's delivered in unusually moderate tones, which may earn him an audience larger than the usual crew of die-hard leftists. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/20/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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