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How to Hide an Empire

A History of the Greater United States
Narrated by: Luis Moreno
Length: 17 hrs and 25 mins
5 out of 5 stars (46 ratings)
Regular price: $29.95
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Publisher's 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 50 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 19th century's most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on US soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr reveals how US doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the US 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 fully enjoyable work of history.

©2019 Daniel Immerwahr (P)2019 Recorded Books

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  • Pete
  • Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 03-12-19

Important US history that is little told

In a recent interview Prof Immerwahr said that his approach to research is to find "Holy [Smokes], did you know that?" moments (or words to that effect). This book is peppered with such stories, which are well told, frequently with a touch of humor. Mr. Moreno delivers it in style. This is a book well worth reading.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Countless Great Stories, Told So Well

Immerwahr's central idea is insightful and challenging. No matter whether you agree and no matter whether he is ultimately correct, this thesis is worth knowing. I did not finishing thinking "this is IT," but I did finish thinking "I wish I had been exposed to this idea long ago." Immerwahr is meticulous in developing his argument, but his tone is engaging and without stridency. Indeed, he builds his case in an unhurried way by telling really great stories. The stories build on familiar events, but the context, characters, and narrative skill made each brief story mesmerizing as though wholly new. If you listen to this Audible book in the car, be prepared to sit in the garage for a few minutes after arrival -- and then hit pause quickly, so as not to be drawn into the next story.

So, so enjoyable -- but this book also makes a point. Many points. I'm not sure that I agree with every single point, but nothing about Immerwahr's approach makes genuine disagreement uncomfortable. Like exceptions that prove a rule, a few negative reviews from extremists simply reinforce the currency of Immerwahr's ideas. The tensions he reveals in history yet exist today. And so, I am glad for this new (to me) window on the American experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and suspect I will "use" it for years to come.

Luis Moreno's performance is top notch.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful