Empire's Workshop by Greg Grandin

Blatantly partisan, and frustrating more than informative. Was hoping for a survey history of Latin America, with a view towards US interference. Instead I got an overview of US elites' ideology as applied to Latin America, which was not nearly as illuminating.

The book skips around between years and places constantly, making it hard to form a coherent picture of what was happening at each phase. It also doesn’t quote many primary sources, or do more than mention a speech or paper only to summarize and condemn it.

Despite its many attempts to convince with rhetoric rather than facts, I did manage to learn a few things:

  • The US military developed many of its air combat tactics fighting Nicaraguan rebels in the 1920s
  • Reagan's administration established a policy office whose job was not just to present their "positive" side of the Contras but also to get citizen's groups to organize campaigns to lobby Congress, which is illegal
  • US withdrew from the International Court of Justice because it ordered us to pay reparations to Nicaragua for mining its ports and conducting clandestine operations there
Ron Toland @mindbat