• The Jakarta Method

  • Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World
  • By: Vincent Bevins
  • Narrated by: Tim Paige
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (510 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Named One of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, The Financial Times, and GQ

The hidden story of the wanton slaughter - in Indonesia, Latin America, and around the world - backed by the United States.

In 1965, the US government helped the Indonesian military kill approximately one million innocent civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the 20th century, eliminating the largest communist party outside China and the Soviet Union and inspiring copycat terror programs in faraway countries like Brazil and Chile. But these events remain widely overlooked, precisely because the CIA's secret interventions were so successful.

In this bold and comprehensive new history, Vincent Bevins builds on his incisive reporting for the Washington Post, using recently declassified documents, archival research, and eye-witness testimony collected across 12 countries to reveal a shocking legacy that spans the globe. For decades, it's been believed that parts of the developing world passed peacefully into the US-led capitalist system. The Jakarta Method demonstrates that the brutal extermination of unarmed leftists was a fundamental part of Washington's final triumph in the Cold War.

©2020 Vincent Bevins (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"This fascinating book is a meticulous and shocking analysis of a little-known and horrifically bloody battle of the Cold War, but it is also something more. It places the Indonesia massacre of 1965 in its global context, showing how the United States both supported it and used it as a model for repression in other countries." (Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow, All the Shah's Men, Poisoner in Chief)

"In The Jakarta Method, Vincent Bevins argues persuasively that during the Cold War, the U.S. approved of mass murder campaigns to roll back communism in the Third World. This is a provocative, necessary book, an essential guide to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of our imperfect world. Highly recommended." (Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker staff writer, author of Che Guevara and Inside the League)

"The Jakarta Method is a gripping, thoroughly original exploration into the global covert Cold War, the passions it provoked, and the corpses it left in its wake. A full tally of the body count of the transnational counterinsurgency Washington has been waging since the early 1960s is impossible. But Bevins' excellent book offers a different kind of reckoning, of moral costs and ongoing political consequences. 'Jakarta is coming' was spray-painted on the walls of Santiago Chile in 1972, just before that country's CIA-backed coup, a way for that nation's rich to let the poor know the fate that would befall them were they to continue to fight for a more just society. 'Jakarta' did come, leaving hundreds of thousands of dead throughout Latin America. And, in a way, it never left." (Greg Grandin, Yale University, author of Fordlandia and The End of the Myth)

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Great book, but the narration has serious flaws

As with so many Audible recordings, an otherwise able narrator but with evidently zero knowledge of languages other than English, garbles the non-English names and words in this book so badly that listening to it becomes almost painful. Is it really so hard to find professionally-trained readers who either know the non-English languages made use of in the books they are hired to record or who at least bother to take the time to learn how to pronounce the relatively few words and names they know they are going to be required to read into a microphone? As a native English-speaker who speaks and has taught both Spanish and Portuguese, I can't help but cringe every time I hear Mr. Paige mangle these languages beyond recognition. Example: the Portuguese word "aliança," pronounced 'ah-lee-AWNS-ah' but rendered as 'ah-lee-ONK-ah' by the hapless, clueless and evidently lazy Mr. Paige. I don't speak the Indonesian languages, words and names from which also crop up frequently in 'The Jakarta Method,' so I have no way of knowing for sure whether Mr. Paige garbles those as well, but what are the chances? The point is, however, that if I were the one being hired to make a recording of this important book, I'd take the time to learn how to pronounce the non-English names and words in them from a native speaker. How hard can that be? This wouldn't be so bad if it were an isolated problem with the audiobooks Audible sells, but it's all too common. The biggest irony in this case is that Vincent Bevins' 'The Jakarta Method' concerns the history of the disastrous and typically murderous CIA-led covert operations during the Cold War in countries like Indonesia and Brazil, often implemented by U.S. government officials with next to zero knowledge of the countries in whose affairs they were interfering, generally without regard for human life. And yet here is the narrator of the book replicating this same kind of ignorance. This when all it would have taken is the investment of just a little time and effort to learn how to pronounce a word or two in a non-English language. The message that Audible is sending to its customers by marketing shoddy, second-rate products such as these is that such things do not matter.

21 people found this helpful

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Thesis is never proven

Though it illustrates people’s individual struggles well, the thesis is barely touched upon except for brief passing references to an “Operation Jakarta” or “Jakarta is coming”. Little time is dedicate to the School of the Americas or Fort Leavenworth.

Upon first glance, one believes they are reading about an overarching conspiracy orchestrated by the USA but in reality you are reading a variety of stories that appear to be tied only by conjecture.

As such, I feel this did a disservice to the history that happened - a worldwide covert campaign to keep communism at bay by using violence, psychological operations and coercion.

8 people found this helpful

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Essential work for understanding the 20th century

I have met people who spoke of Allende and other collateral damage of cia operations. I thought these Americans just had a perspective off the main stream. Bevin's ties the anticommunist campaign of terror together into a cogent thorough narrative backed up with first person accounts and deep secondary sources. The West's complicity and role as a driving force in systematic worldwide terror is irrefutable. So much went on which we knew nothing about.

5 people found this helpful

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Outstanding book

Loved the book. The story keeps you wanting more and makes you wonder how much of the world history have been manipulated to hide the truth. If not for books like this, one may never even wonder if what we know is actually what really happened. Great job by the author. I was impressed by they way he respect the original names in every language of all the countries he visited for the book.

4 people found this helpful

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New look at the Global South

There is a good balance of firsthand accounts, declassified information, and broader history; which come together to form a cohesive narrative. With good pacing that won't bog down or confuse you. I find that books with this level of depth don't normally come across as accessible.

3 people found this helpful

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Imperial America goes off the rails

Once you get the past the rather simplistic history of the world up to the Second World War in the first chapter, the book becomes a comprehensive account of American machinations around the world, ostensibly in the cause of winning the cold war. (I had feared the entire book would continue with the same lack of depth of the first chapter, but fortunately it did not). Stories of the USA government's entanglement in backing (very often incompetently) right-wing politic movements in Indonesia, mainland Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America, are numerous and well-documented. This book does quite a good job in tying them all together, recounting the willfully misinformed programs suppressing post-colonial freedom movements, in favor of fighting the post-war bogeyman of communism, even when it's greatest advocate, the Soviet Union, was not actively involved. A good book for understanding how imperial America, born in 1898, went so wrong in the latter 20th century.

2 people found this helpful

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A book everybody should read

This is a history that is not taught, in fact is constantly denied. Of course, the documents proving it have been classified, and most of the witnesses killed, whereas propaganda to the contrary has been spread by all media and basic education. But now that it is known, it should be known by everybody. Chances are it changes the way you see the world.

2 people found this helpful

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crucial history

This is important history. A great explanation of how we got to now. highly recommended

1 person found this helpful

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Absolutely phenomenal

this was one of the most effecting books I've read in a while. I'm already more or less in the same side as the author, but even so these stories really shook me and made me reconsider some things. A difficult listen on places, but hugely important. Anyone who wants their views on the United States and our role in the world challenged or sharpened needs to listen.

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intense and disturbing story!!

it was pretty fascinating and a little bit scary but I'd definitely highly recommend it!

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  • Elyas
  • 03-15-21

Eye-opening!

This is an incredible book that exposes the lie of a benevolent West/USA. The world we have now is shaped by horrific events that require a lot more attention and acknowledgement. Highly recommend this book, you'll rewind often as it has multiple double-take instances.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-22-21

A powerful listen

An essential, devastating account of US interventionism in the 20th century. The narrator does a great job too.

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  • Vai
  • 03-31-21

One of the most important books.

This is a critical work, completely engrossing and must be listened to. Vincent Bevins research is presented in a powerful and eye-opening style. I truly feel this book has altered my world view. I only wish I read it 10 years ago.

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  • ANEES
  • 03-12-21

The recording is jumping

The recording is jumping words. This certainly a Good book and very messy and bad recording

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  • Joe Higgs
  • 03-09-21

Mindblowing

This is simply the best book on the impact of US covert interventionism that I have even encountered. It is an emotional rollercoaster that pulls no punches and demonstrates clearly how a bunch of racist old white men led our planet down the path we are still on today. Wow.

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  • Dinesh Anthony Perera
  • 01-23-21

Missed out Sri Lanka

They missed out Sri Lanka in the book.

Taking the angle of various people throughout history was very interesting. Their stories come together nicely to paint a timeline of events.

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  • Oliver Balaam
  • 11-03-20

Gripping, eye-opening & applicable.

Emotionally gripping at a interpersonal level and entirely revelatory on a global political level, this is the most important non-fiction I’ve read since ... The Shock Doctrine in 2007?

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  • Phillip Stephens
  • 10-24-20

Facts, many people didn't know

This is a factual book that details how the US changed the 3rd world

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  • Barry Pace
  • 10-13-20

A remarkable book

A depressing and important read. A round-the-world journey of tragedy told through the eyes of those who experienced it first hand. This book brings a personal humanity to the tragedies of mass murder perpetrated by the US government that few other historical accounts manage to capture.

It delivers the humanity and tragedy of Patricio Guzmán's 'Nostalgia for the Light' and the historical incisiveness of Christopher Hitchens' 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger'. A remarkable book, and a must read for those interested in 20th Century history.

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  • David
  • 09-26-20

Excellent book

I've listened to over 200 audio books in the last 18 months and this one definitely comes in at the top 10%. I was born in 1976 in Australia and knew some of the history of south east asia from the television news but never really had a chance to get a proper understanding of the history of indonesia and the brutality and massacres that were sponsored by the American government. I knew the CIA was involved in deposing democratically elected governments in latin america but I never knew it all began in Indonesia.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-26-21

Wow, Just Wow

This is a story that needs to be told. I’m speechless. What a terrific book.

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  • Samuel K.
  • 02-22-21

One of the most mind boggling books I've read

Being a person that likes Fukuyama and other political science books, and books about geography and geopolitics, this is one of the most mind blowing books I've ever indulged in that shatters preconceived notions and world views. I think is book is a must for every geopolitics or international relations interested person.

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  • Rory
  • 01-17-21

Excellent book.

This book is truly eye opening and depressing, but it is full of information I feel is vital to have. It's a hidden history that has far reaching consequences.