Gangsters of Capitalism by 2019 ASU Future of War Fellow Jonathan M. Katz is a groundbreaking journey tracing America’s forgotten path to global power—and how its legacies shape our world today—told through the extraordinary life of a complicated Marine.
Smedley Butler was the most celebrated warfighter of his time. Bestselling books were written about him. Hollywood adored him. Wherever the flag went, “The Fighting Quaker” went—serving in nearly every major overseas conflict from the Spanish War of 1898 until the eve of World War II. From his first days as a 16-year-old recruit at the newly seized Guantánamo Bay, he blazed a path for empire: helping annex the Philippines and the land for the Panama Canal, leading troops in China (twice), and helping invade and occupy Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Mexico, and more. Yet in retirement, Butler turned into a warrior against war, imperialism, and big business, declaring: “I was a racketeer for capitalism."
Tracing a path from the first wave of U.S. overseas expansionism to the rise of fascism in the 1930s to the crises of democracy in our own time, Gangsters of Capitalism tells an urgent story about a formative era most Americans have never learned about, but that the rest of the world cannot forget.
Join the New America Fellows Program for a conversation with Jonathan M. Katz and 2020 Emerson Collective Fellow Clint Smith about empire’s true cost.
Follow the conversation online using #GangstersofCapitalism and follow us at @NAFellows.
Jonathan M. Katz, @KatzOnEarth
2019 ASU Future of War Fellow, New America
Author, Gangsters of Capitalism: Smedley Butler, the Marines, and the Making and Breaking of America's Empire
Clint Smith, @ClintSmithIII
2020 Emerson Collective Fellow, New America
Author, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
Copies of Gangsters of Capitalism are available for purchase here through our bookselling partner Solid State Books.
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