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  • 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
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (26 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Important book on legacy of US Cold War tactics

Depressing but important read on the legacy for the Global South and world of the brutal tactics adopted by the US in the Cold Way. The degree of their obsession with communism is extraordinary but still visible today.

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Wow, Just Wow

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

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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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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.

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  • Prof. Neil Larsen
  • 03-08-2020

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.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew Southern
  • 13-11-2020

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • R. Moore
  • 31-05-2020

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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  • Kei
  • 28-05-2020

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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  • Jacob
  • 12-06-2020

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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  • Buretto
  • 03-08-2020

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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  • Paul
  • 22-07-2020

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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  • Brandon
  • 25-05-2021

Impressive, and even more important.

Thoroughly documented, Bevins has provided an invaluable testament to the utter savagery and destruction that was implemented globally by the US and its client regimes behind a red, blood soaked mask of 'anti communism'. The more we dig into the history between 1910-1990, the more apparent it becomes that the "death toll of communism" is not only a pathetic fabrication of "the victors who wrote the history books" but additionally a tally of millions that they truly do not want to start comparing. I will never blindly support the crimes of dictators posing as socialist saviors, but I will also not go to my grave blindly blaming them for the crimes of attempting to hold together states being pummeled daily from the outside by the US and its actors, physically, economically and psychologically. It's rather convenient that the crimes of socialist regimes have always been taught so thoroughly and exaggeratedly while almost never even speaking of the criminal actions by western Capitalist nations, to the point where one is almost tempted to entirely disregard those accusations; but with writers like Bevins, we don't have to do that, and can continue into the future with well documented accounts of exactly what crimes we can look back on to try to guide us into a more humanitarian focus on the actions we take to develop our own path.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-05-2020

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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  • Mary
  • 04-06-2021

everyone should read this book

I learned more from this book than perhaps any other I've read recently. I tell everyone to read it, this is critical info that people in the US aren't taught.

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  • Elyas
  • 15-03-2021

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-04-2021

A powerful listen

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vai
  • 31-03-2021

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ANEES
  • 12-03-2021

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
  • 09-03-2021

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dinesh Anthony Perera
  • 23-01-2021

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Oliver Balaam
  • 03-11-2020

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?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Phillip Stephens
  • 24-10-2020

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
  • 13-10-2020

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David
  • 26-09-2020

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.

1 person found this helpful

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