How to Hide an Empire: Book summary and reviews of How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr

How to Hide an Empire

A History of the Greater United States

by Daniel Immerwahr

How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr X
How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr
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About this book

Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A richly detailed, thoroughly researched history...A vivid recounting of imperial America's shameful past." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. This insightful, excellent book, with its new perspective on an element of American history that is almost totally excluded from mainstream education and knowledge, should be required reading for those on the mainland." - Publishers Weekly

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CarolT

Well worth reading - but allow time
Long and involved. Be ready to find out things about the US that you didn't know.

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Author Information

Daniel Immerwahr

Daniel Immerwahr is an associate professor of history at Northwestern University and the author of Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development, which won the Organization of American Historians' Merle Curti Award. He has written for Slate, n+1, Dissent, and other publications.

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