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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
4.5 out of 5 stars (268 ratings)

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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.

7 of 7 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.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Primer into the Evolution of the American Empire

Great factual story narrated remarkably well. This primer will get you curious on the topic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Must Read

Anyone who seriously studies the history of the United States must read this book. A real eye opener.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • VB
  • 03-25-19

Fantastic book!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Interesting, engrossing and thought provoking. Highly recommended! The author leaves no stone unturned in telling this multifaceted story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Aaron Burr
  • Blennerhassett Island, OH USA
  • 06-11-19

This how The Beatles happened!

This is an outstanding telling of the American story from a perspective that we often deliberately obscure. The author captures a remarkable amount of detail and weaves together threads to form a compelling and eye-opening narrative.

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Great Book with Excellent Mini Stories

This book was awesome. The author did a great job of telling small stories that built up and explained the origins of American foreign and domestic policies in regard to her possessions. This doesn't read like a dry history book. It is as wet as the oceans around America's island possessions. I highly reccomend.

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The US in a Whole Different Light

Excellent! I teach AP World History, and this will definitely enhance my lectures and class discussion on US territories and their rippling effect on a global scale then and now. The narrator was superb in cadence and timing. I will buy the hardback.

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  • oz
  • 05-03-19

my best book in years

For author: great piece of work! Thanks indeed for all the research and thanks to editors and reviewers for attention to details.
For readers: you'll definitely find more than you'd expect. For a curious mind this book is a box of treasures on American and World history .

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A Totally Absorbing Listen

This is the history all US citizens need to know. It clarifies where the nation is during this time and why. The narration is wonderful, but sometimes his voice will drop on a word rendering it unintelligible. The other 98% of the time his narration is inviting and you feel he shares your incredulity at the outrageous and self serving policies, imperious behavior, and rank racism the US exhibited (and still does) towards nations of color. Most people are aware of the blatant history of racism on the mainland, but here we learn of its pervasive global nature that was largely hidden in plain sight.

This book is so good that I've ordered it in print and will read it again.