The American Empire Project (AEP) was developed in 2004 by longtime book-industry editors Tom Engelhardt and Steve Fraser, in conjunction with the New York City-based publisher Metropolitan Books. Condemning the George W. Bush administration for having “embraced imperial ambitions openly,” AEP set out to produce a series of “short, argument-driven books” designed to “mount an immodest challenge to the fateful exercise of empire-building and to explore every facet of the developing American imperium, while suggesting alternate ways of thinking about, confronting, and acting in a new American century.”
• A People’s History of the United States: In 2008, AEP produced an adaptation (in comic format) of the late Howard Zinn‘s famed Marxist tract bearing this title. Zinn’s book describes America as a predatory and repressive capitalist state—sexist, racist, imperialist—that is run by a corporate ruling class for the benefit of the rich.
• We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (2011, by Peter Van Buren): This “tragicomic voyage of ineptitude and corruption” denounces the Bush administration’s Iraq War policies.
• A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (2006, by Alfred McCoy): This “revelatory account of the CIA’s fifty-year effort to develop new forms of torture … locates the deep roots of recent scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo in a long-standing, covert program of interrogation.”
• Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency (2005, by Michael T. Klare): This book explores “the relationship between U.S. policy in the Middle East and the oceans of crude oil that lie beneath the region’s soil.”
• Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2004, by Chalmers Johnson): This book “lays out in vivid detail the dangers faced by our overextended empire, which insists on projecting its military power to every corner of the earth and using American capital and markets to force global economic integration on its own terms.”
• Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (2006, by Robert Dreyfuss): AEP describes this book as a “comprehensive account of America’s misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism.”
• Dilemmas of Domination: The Unmaking of the American Empire (2005, by Walden Bello): This book “systematically dissects the strategic, economic, and political dilemmas confronting America as a consequence of its quest for global domination.”
• Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism (2007, by Greg Grandin): This book “traces the origins of [President] Bush’s current policies back to Latin America, where many of the administration’s leading lights first embraced the deployment of military power to advance free market economics and enlisted the evangelical movement in support of their ventures.”
• Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2007, by Noam Chomsky): This book shows “how the United States itself shares features with other failed states—suffering from a severe ‘democratic deficit,’ eschewing domestic and international law, and adopting policies that increasingly endanger its own citizens and the world.”
• Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (2004, by Noam Chomsky): This book analyzes “America’s pursuit of total domination and the catastrophic consequences that are sure to follow.”
• How to Succeed at Globalization: A Primer for Roadside Vendors (2004, by El Fisgón): This “biting comic-book history of capitalism and globalization” offers “a critique of a planet in which the few ‘globalize’ to their endless benefit, while everyone else suffers poverty, famine, migration, and war.”
• Ideal Illusions (2011, by James Peck): Drawing on documents from the CIA, the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and development agencies, this book “shows in blunt detail how Washington has shaped human rights into a potent ideological weapon for purposes having little to do with rights and everything to do with furthering America’s global reach.”
• Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2008, by Chalmers Johnson): This book “shows how imperial overstretch is undermining the republic itself, both economically and politically.”
• The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2005, by Chalmers Johnson): This book “offers a vivid look at the new caste of professional warriors who have infiltrated multiple branches of government, who classify as ‘secret’ everything they do, and for whom the manipulation of the military budget is of vital interest.”