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84 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Valuable and Captivating Polemic
Regardless of your current beliefs regarding free-market capitalism, I believe that most people who actually read this book, (which many of the previous reviewers clearly haven't) will find it to be an important and well-researched book.

This book can be seen as the alter-ego book to Thomas Friedman's 'The World is Flat', covering many of the same issues and...
Published on Oct. 1 2007 by E. Haensel

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Research Suffers From Poor Analysis
"... and so Milton Friedman walked into the flames, sprouted horns and a tail, and chuckled sinisterly to himself about the destruction he had wrought." Naomi Klein would have been better to have ended her well researched but utterly unconvincing tome in this way, as her central premise - that Friedman and the Chicago School of monetarist economists are responsible for...
Published on July 29 2010 by Ian Robertson


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84 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Valuable and Captivating Polemic, Oct. 1 2007
By 
E. Haensel (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Hardcover)
Regardless of your current beliefs regarding free-market capitalism, I believe that most people who actually read this book, (which many of the previous reviewers clearly haven't) will find it to be an important and well-researched book.

This book can be seen as the alter-ego book to Thomas Friedman's 'The World is Flat', covering many of the same issues and specific case studies. Friedman is clearly approaching free-market globalization from an optomistic and appreciative perspective, Klien clearer believes that neo-liberal economics have been imposed on countries around the world against their will, and to great detriment to human well-being.

Whatever your political persuation, anyone who has thouroughly read both books will recognize that the 'Shock Doctrine' boasts far more supportive research, to go along with the journalistic interview that form the bulk of the actual text, than Friedman's. Additionally, Klien display's a much more accurate understanding of the technicalities of capitalism than Friedman, probably due to her education at the London School of Economics. Furthermore, whereas Friedman's book reads as a summary of the ideas the have graced the cover of many large newspapers and television shows (Friedman himself works for the New York Times) Klien perspective is novel.

Clearly, this book is a polemic, it contains strong language and makes a strong argument for a particularily damning evaluation of the role of American Academics, the American Government, and many American Foundations in the forced undercutting of democracy around the world for the purpose of creating unpopular neo-liberal make-overs.

But, beyond the political arguments, which I believe are very strong, Klien rings a perspective on such historical events such as the Fall of Communism in Russia, the Dictatorship in Argentina, the Currency Crises in South East Asia that are unknown in North America. Not only does she tell, and rigurously support through documentation, an incredible behind the scenes exposition of past events, she also provides quotes of the status-quo account, including writters such as Friedman, from major news sources and goverment officials.

As a history student who has studied many of these events, and has spent years learning how to evaluate historical source material, I must say I was shocked by the amount of information that I did not know. I went so far as to look into some of the source material Klien uses and found that most of it stands up to the highest academic standards. Of course, as with any journalistic book, some of the details of the accounts come from single interview sources, and must be taken with a grain of salt.

Overall, Shock Doctrine is an incredible book that is easy to read, if stylistically reduntant at times, captivating and incredibly important as an alternative to the corporate media that supplies most of the information that North Americans recieve about world events and history. The documentation of the privatization of the American Security and rescue industry after September 11th, 2001; as well as the mess of corperate misconduct in Iraq is worth the price of the book times ten all in itself. Importantly, many of the statistics and figures that Klien quotes, and there are many, are directly from Government sources, (burried in the middle of a Congressional Hearing, official contract or thosand page restructuring document), while many of the most candid guiding statements are from such people as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Bremmer, Donald Rumsfield...and the list continues.

A stunning book that reads with the energy of a murder mystery and will shake up the way you think about the history of free-market capitalism, as well as the history of CIA funded torture, a major milestone of which took place in Montreal and McGill University.

Even if you believe in free-market capitalism, you can still enjoy this book. More than an argument against a particular system, it is a call for democracy, justice, and fair debate in all forms of political change.

And a note to anyone turned off by a previous reviewers commentary about "leftist only hating capitalist dictators and so on..) Klien spares none of her viciferous anger when discussing the crimes of Stalinist Russia, Mao, or any other leftist dictator. But, the point is that these figures are a) known to the public for their crimes, and b) do not represent a idealogy that is continuing to do violence to people around the world.

That is what makes this book so relevant, all the issues she discusses are important right now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings Order Out of What's Behind the Chaos, Jan. 18 2014
By 
K. S. Puls (British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a scholarly, exhaustively-footnoted work by a brilliant author. Klein's underlying premise is that disciples and acolytes of neocon economist Milton Friedman and his "Chicago School" have launched an ideological crusade against the underpinnings of the progressive and developmental societies and economies that emerged after the Great Depression. The simplistic notion of the Friedmanites that if you destroy all regulation, the market will produce freedom, good and plenty, and the series of economic, social and political disasters that have swept the world as these knee-jerk crusaders have prevailed, is clearly and convincingly explored.

But far beyond being a mere chronicling of the human and economic cost of Friedmanism in countries ranging from Chile to Argentina to Russia to China to Iraq to America, "Shock Doctrine" shows how the disasters Friedmanism causes have burgeoned into a bubble that is in fact one of the fundamental drivers behind the rapid division of the world into a superwealthy superminority, and an increasingly fearful, desperate and impoverished general population, all wrapped in growing chaos. Creating fires to profit from fire sales,loot the resources, and steal the economic and political freedom of country after country has become a self-perpetuating growth industry.

Lovers of mindless conspiracy theories will be disappointed. The most chilling aspect of "Shock Doctrine" is the growing realization that unlike an organized conspiracy to promote an aim or vision, the Friedmanites are creating a world where obscenely wealthy sharks tip over liner after liner, and gorge on the victims, not with the intention of replacing what they've destroyed with something better, but with the childish belief that anarchy breeds the best of all possible worlds, because their god the market will make it so.

Klein does a masterful job of taking the shattered pieces Friedmanism has left behind and is still creating, and pulling the fragments into a kaleidoscopic pattern. She has made the "invisible hand" visible, and shown the immense cost of its manipulations. Her book should shock us into stopping our unfocussed jerking as the electrodes are applied, and start us on the mission of pulling the plug to stop the obscene things that hand is doing.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars De-construction of that past 30 years, Oct. 14 2007
By 
James Natu "James" (Toronto, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Hardcover)
Economics is the bed-rock of society, and has precipitated more than a few political ousters. But what if economic shock therapy and regimes the world around were inherently linked?

This is the subject of Naomi Klein's latest novel.

The Shock Doctrine is a whirlwind look at history through the eyes of a dominant school of economic thought, the University of Chiacgo. It goes from South America to Europe, eventually returning home to America in cataloguing the effects of the Chicago School. By extending the Nobel-prize winning Amnesty International Human Rights report on General Pinochet's Argentianian torture regime, it adds necessary context that North Americans have lost out on.

It all came down to a flood of funding to free market think tanks from companies opposed to FDR's Keynesian New Deal, and from the lack of competition from the fall of Communism; she talks about the lack of funding and lack of a Marshall Plan for post-Soviet Russia and post-Saddam Iraq. As any free market-er knows, competition is the foundation for a healthy and innovative market.

Klein happens upon an important idea called the "Davos Dilemma", which contradicts the idea that global trade would bring world peace. She ties this in to the lack of progress in peace between the Israelis and Palestinians since the 1990s, linking that to the burgeoning homeland security bubble that Israel now offers the world with the slogan, "it's our birthright".

In the end, she says no conspiracies are required. It all comes down to companies doing their jobs, to profit their shareholders. The problem is in governments relinquishing their jobs to act in the public interest to companies with countervailing interests.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book for linking . There are many reviews here from people who seemed to only read the back cover of the novel and think of it as an attack on Milton Friedman, rather than what the book really is: an enticing journalistic examination of the Chicago school and it's fruits. Simply put, 30 years of free market history shows that imposing solutions on people is not democratic and is not even pragmatic. What does this book tell us of human nature? Whatver we choose, goes.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll either love it or hate it, Sept. 21 2007
By 
M. Stolte - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Hardcover)
Depending on where you sit on the political spectrum, this is a book you are going to love or hate. Personally, I think Naomi Klein does an excellent job providing a historical lens on some high level political and economic decisions that are being made (largely) behind closed doors. She brings these ideas to the surface where they can be openly debated and I applaud her for that. After all, that is what makes for healthy democracy.

Having living in Korea during the "Asian flu" of 1997-98 I can honestly say that her synopsis of what happened there was exceedingly accurate; and there was no doubt in my mind that the West genuinely took advantage of a country in need to create "trade advantage", force public downsizing, and to force open borders to foreign investment. No matter what you think of her politics, this is definitely worth reading, and I for one, am the better informed for it. Thank you Ms. Klein!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some flawed arguments but a must read nonetheless, Dec 14 2010
I'm giving this book a 4 star rating because even though I think it is a very important work, it is far from presenting a flawless argument.

In The Shock Doctrine Klein describes how "Friedmanite" neo-liberal economic policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization have been implemented over the past 40 years. The book provides a detailed account of many instances where these economic policies have been forcibly implemented against people's wishes through coercion and dictatorship or sneakily introduced during periods of national weakness such as after the "shock" of disasters, natural or man-made.

In fact, the central theme of the book is that neo-liberal economic policies are virtually always opposed by a majority of people in a society and can therefore only be implemented when people are under a state of shock. Klein demonizes Milton Friedman and others belonging to the Chicago School of Economics. According to Klein, the economic policies that these "Chicago Boys" advocate are something akin to pure evil and because they so often have to be implemented by force, Klein puts some of the blame for many atrocities on the people that have advocated those policies. This interpretation of events will seem far-fetched to some but Klein does bring a new and interesting perspective that shouldn't be ignored.

Unfortunately, The Shock Doctrine is very much a one-sided argument focusing on historical facts that strengthen the "shock and awe" theme that is central to the book while for the most part totally ignoring potential counter-arguments. For example, Klein is quick to point out how neo-liberal economics is often forcefully imposed on people and then praises social-democratic initiatives such as ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América) in countries such as Cuba, Venezueala, Ecuador and Bolivia ignoring the authocratic character of these regimes (especially Cuba and Venezuela).

Notwithstanding these shortcomings, The Shock Doctrine provides a new way to look at important events in world and economic history and also draws interesting parrallels between physical, political and economic violence. So overall well worth reading.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and thrilling read, Oct. 15 2007
By 
David Barnes "LightTouch" (Kelowna, B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I had never heard of Noimi Klein before this book was released, and had certainly never read anything written by her. Naomi Klein has delivered an astonishing book; a brilliant piece of research, written with power and excellence; graceful, elegant and eloquent; full of heart and intelligence; insight, understanding and compassion. This book is a must read for all; for anyone who may be put off by its sheer size and volume, fear not, it is a riveting and fulfilling experience; can't put it down! It should be required reading for all students: under-graduates, graduates, and post-graduates. This book is an extraordinary wake-up call; and if she never wrote another word, Naomi has, with this book alone, done more than most in fulfilling service to all of humanity. Thank you Naomi!
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breathtaking Book, Sept. 15 2007
This review is from: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Hardcover)
It's been many years since I have read such an original argument about the global economy. Most recent mainstream writing on the subject seems to merely rehash the old debates over globalization that Ms. Klein contributed to so insightfully in No Logo seven years ago, debates that were effectively sidelined by the clamor over 9/11 and the Iraq War. In The Shock Doctrine, Klein brilliantly points out that corporate globalization is at the core of the "War on Terror," and indeed, of a 30 year string of attacks on left-of-center governments around the world. The Shock Doctrine is a must read for anyone who wants to understand how a far-right economic agenda became the global norm and what we can do to fight back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely incredible!, Dec 29 2011
Of countless books I have read on economics over the course of the last 20 years, The Shock Doctrine is undoubtedly the most outstanding.
Given the current political climate, the issues raised by the book will be relevant for many years to come. As the future unfolds, we will see the exact same predictable and well-orchestrated pattern repeated in different countries over and over again. The greatest value of the book is that it enables you to see dramatic, disastrous events in their true light, and not what media reports would try to steer you away from.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could it be... a novel and interesting thesis?, Sept. 14 2008
By 
Jack Blatant (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
I've enjoyed Naomi Klein's writing ever since No Logo, but I must admit that I find that she can be hit and miss. In this book, she scores a straight-out hit. What I enjoy so thoroughly is that she manages to do so with a fascinating thesis: comparing the effects of electric shock on the human mind and body with the effects of disasters upon the collective social psyche, and how the unscrupulous attempt to use this vulnerability to their advantage. Indeed, in some cases, as Klein points out, the people doing the electroshocking are the same people trying to massively alter economic structures.

Reading this book has its own shock value; the section on how tsunami relief money was used to force the victimized fishing villagers out of their homes so that beachfront resorts could be built was particularly hard to take. I can see how some readers can interpret what I see as moral outrage as provocative vitriol. Personally, I see this as true big picture journalism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential book, March 28 2009
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a lucid introspection of how various leaderships conceive, maintain and simply destroy our images about the immediate world. It is thrilling, shocking indeed, hard to digest, but above all it is a-must-have, crash course for everyone who is part of the mankind scenarios, whether at a small scale or a more significant one.
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