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How to Hide an Empire: A Short History of the Greater United States

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The US maintained its empire by codifying standards for everything--from screws to instruments and to stop signs. It even made me actually laugh out loud a few times: Standards—the protocols by which objects and processes are coordinated—are admittedly one of the most stultifying topics known to humankind.

The ensuing guerrilla warfare played to the insurgency's strengths: knowledge of the land and the popularity of the cause. Territorial legislators in Missouri wore black armbands in Boone’s honor, but the eastern papers took well over a month to even acknowledge his death, which they generally did with short notices. I suspect this little fact might come as something of a surprise most of the 95% of the world that are not citizens of the US. This is the story of the United States outside the United States – from nineteenth-century conquests like Alaska and Puerto Rico to the catalogue of islands, archipelagos and military bases dotted around the globe.Rather than dividing the frontier among the states, the republic’s leaders brokered deals by which none of the Atlantic states would extend to the Mississippi, which marked the western edge of the country. Starts with the empire-building in what is now the mainland, moves on to the very relevant history of birdshit and the guano islands, lots about taking over Spanish colonial holdings and the effect especially of WW2, going up to the military bases in Saudi Arabia and how that led in to 9/11. No other book out there has the level of breadth on the history of US imperialism that this work provides. Hey, hey, hey, whoa, you need to hold on up there a second buddy – we’re the land of the free, the home of the brave. And each time they would say things like "those people aren't capable of self-governance" to justify it.

Toward the end of the book, the author gives some space to a relative of his, Fritz Haber, an eminent scientist.The author discusses the water cure in this – something I read about years ago in a much more brutal account than is given here – with US soldiers literally jumping onto the stomachs of their prisoners after they had bloated them with water.

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