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Gangsters of Capitalism


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About the Author

Jonathan Myerson Katz received the James Foley/Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for reporting from Haiti. His first book, The Big Truck That Went By, was shortlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction and won the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award, the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, and the WOLA/Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America. His work appears in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere. Katz was a New America national fellow in the Future of War program, and received a fellowship from the Logan Nonfiction Program. He lives with his wife and daughter in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Lively, deeply researched ... Katz's engaging style brings history alive.
--Associated Press

Like Butler himself, Katz's book is singular and hard to pin down ... an exhilarating hybrid of studious history and adventuresome travelogue.
--Jacobin Katz's realism may shock many readers, but they would be well served to join him in pulling back the curtain, tipping over the jugs of institutional Kool-Aid, and taking a long, cold hard look in the proverbial mirror. Like watching a train wreck in slow motion, this is a raw historical perspective that will both fascinate and unsettle.
Task and Purpose "A sensational read"
--Mike Duncan, New York Times bestselling author and host of the Revolutions podcast Engaging ... Gangsters of Capitalism is not only a biography of Butler. The long-dead Marine also serves as Katz's Virgil, leading him on a journey around the world and through the inferno of empire's afterlife.
--The New Republic Immensely readable.
--The Federalist

A real page-turner.
--Noam Chomsky A perfect marriage of author and subject...Blending first-person reportage and analysis with impressive historical detail, Katz uses Butler's story to explore war and capitalism in the United States, and to assess the gap between our morals and the lives we actually live.
--Emily Tamkin
, The New Statesman A superb book.
--Responsible Statecraft Stellar.

--Pod Save The People

Surprising and very well-written... Smedley Butler emerges in Katz's book as a kind of tragic villain. An idealistic boy grown into a monster, he served his country by ruining other countries beyond repair, and eventually seeing how much harm he had done. If the Americans today fret about migrants from Central America and Haiti, or the revived hostility of China, they can now see the origin of those threats.
--The Tyee

A clear-eyed assessment of the United States' experiment with empire and its legacy, as well as a journey through the life of a celebrated military leader.
--U.S. Naval Institute Magazine In an unsettling era in which Americans have been forced to contemplate the possible demise of their global empire, the remarkable life story of Smedley Butler is a primer on how that empire was wrought out of a string of long-obscured 'small wars, ' coups and interventions a mere century ago ... A clear-eyed, excitingly-told look at that history, and a bracing, necessary read for our times.
--Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: a Revolutionary Life
An excellent, excellent book. Katz writes really beautifully about very ugly things. I couldn't recommend this book more highly.
--Spencer Ackerman, author of Reign of Terror
"A relevant, readable effort to link past American colonialism to the present impulse to install homegrown leaders for life."
--Kirkus Searing...An eye-opening portrait of American hubris.

--Publisher's Weekly "A taut, unnerving account...By following Butler's bloody trail around the world, Katz thoughtfully reckons with empire's true cost"

--Daniel Immerwahr, professor of history at Northwestern University and author of How to Hide An Empire

Butler was the Forrest Gump of US imperialism, in all the good and bad ways implied by that statement... Traveling in Butler's footsteps, Jonathan Katz devastatingly documents the toll of US interference around the globe from the late nineteenth century well into our own.
--Andrea Pitzer, author of Icebound and One Long Night A stunning book, part secret history and part globe-spanning journalism. ... Deeply reported and masterfully told, this book is indispensable reading from one of America's most important foreign correspondents.

--Christopher Leonard, New York Times bestselling author of Kochland Katz is a wonderful writer and deep reporter who is perfectly poised to tell the story of American Empire.
--Peter Bergen, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt

May well be the most intrepid biography you will ever read... as compelling and colorful as the man himself... For anyone seeking to understand how the modern world came to be, Gangsters of Capitalism is an essential book.
--Ben Fountain, author of the National Book Award Finalist Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

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