Profile - June 2006
"I've actually loved almost all
of the countries I covered."
Kinzer's new book, OVERTHROW published
in April 2006. Photo: Light
Millennium, April 2006
America's Century of Regime Change
From Hawaii to Iraq
in this page:
America's Century of Regime Change
from Hawaii to Iraq
Descriptiont (undetmeath of the interview):
- From book jacket of
the "Blood of Brothers"
A Brief Profile of the Author
by Light Millennium
Fall - 2001
_ When and where did you
start your career?
worked for my high school newspaper and
was always interested in journalism. My first overseas trip was as a
free-lance journalist in Central America in the mid-1970s.
_ What was your very first
job in your profession?
counting at the high school paper, my
first regular job in journalism was writing
a column for a weekly newspaper in Boston
about the press. From there I went to the Boston Globe.
_ What was your strength
to be a foreign correspondent? What country
was your first experience as foreign correspondent
and your best memory there?
always been interested in the world. In college I studied history and
considered becoming a historian, but I
didn't want to be a university professor. Journalism, especially foreign
journalism, seemed to be a way to watch
history being made. The first really big story I covered
was the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua
_ How many countries did
you live in and for how long? What were
the initial difficulties to communicate
and comprehend the people there?
covered more than 50 countries, but only
actually lived in three. From 1983-1989 I lived in Nicaragua, and from 1990 to 1996
Berlin, then on to Istanbul. I got to know Latin American very
well and felt at home there. Turkey has a lot in common with Latin
America, not just in terms of social injustice
and half-developed democracies but also
in terms of the warmth of the people and
the mixture of fantasy and reality that
characterizes daily life.
would you describe the most exciting challenge
of your job? Most difficult ?
correspondents are human beings, and as
such we are shaped by our own experiences
and prejudices. It's impossible to free ourselves
from them because they determine who we
are. But we should at least be aware of them
and try not to let them dominate the way
we see the countries we cover. It's important to see the country from
the perspective of its own citizens.
your overall "foreign correspondent"
career, how would you list the most favorite
three countries you served? What were
the most vivid color or images in those
countries? If you had to choose to live
in one of these countries for the rest
of your life, which one that would be?
actually loved almost all of the countries
I covered. Turkey is undoubtedly the most
interesting because it has so many layers
of culture and history. If you have a nice apartment overlooking
the Bosphorus or a villa in Ayvalik, I'm ready to move in. In Latin America, one country I especially
enjoy is Guatemala. Despite its social and political
troubles, it is culturally very rich. Among European countries I had
interesting times in the Baltics: Lithuania,
Latvia and Estonia. But it gets awfully cold and dark
recent book, "Crescent &
Star" generated various attention
towards to Turkey in America.
Courtesy of the author
_ After living for 20 years abroad in various
countries, did you face
difficulty to re-adjust back to States
each time? If yes, what were they?
The United States is very consumer-oriented
and fad-oriented. Americans are also fantastically
rich, but they don't realize how rich
they are. They have no idea about or interest
in the rest of the world, although that
has begun to change since Sept. 11. Actually Americans hardly seem
even to believe that they are in the world
or connected to other countries at all. We have become terribly spoiled, and that
is a difficult reality to adjust to.
_ What does BLUES mean to you? How did you reflect it to your Turkish
audience and what was their response?
Blues music is a powerful form of emotional
expression. It came out of a specific set of
historical and cultural circumstances,
but the emotions it conveys are universal. I think some of my listeners understood
that and others just enjoyed the music,
which is also fine.
_ What do you miss most
about Turkey since your departure?
Meze along the Bosphorus, along with raki
_ Are you planning or
working on a new book? Your future projects or plans as
national correspondent of NYT?
It's not fun or easy to write a book. The pain of this last one is still
fresh, so I'm not considering another
one just yet.
_ Do you think you received
a satisfoctary response in both Turkish
& American media on your recent book?
I'm very happy with the response. These days there is special interest
in the idea of Muslim democracy, and that
has added some appeal to my book. I'm looking forward to the Turkish
edition, which I hope will appear next
possibility on going back to Turkey and
a follow-up second edition?
Fall-2001 - Light Millennium
* * * *
America's Century of Regime Change from
Hawaii to Iraq
by Stephen Kinzer
Henry Holt and Co.
A fast-paced narrative history of the
coups, revolutions, and invasions by which
the United States has toppled fourteen
foreign governmentsnot always to
its own benefit "Regime change
did not begin with the administration
of George W. Bush, but has been an integral
part of U.S. foreign policy for more than
one hundred years. Starting with the overthrow
of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 and continuing
through the Spanish-American War and the
Cold War and into our own time, the United
States has not hesitated to overthrow
governments that stood in the way of its
political and economic goals. The invasion
of Iraq in 2003 is the latest, though
perhaps not the last, example of the dangers
inherent in these operations. In Overthrow,
Stephen Kinzer tells the stories of the
audacious politicians, spies, military
commanders, and business executives who
took it upon themselves to depose monarchs,
presidents, and prime ministers. He also
shows that the U.S. government has often
pursued these operations without understanding
the countries involved; as a result, many
of them have had disastrous long-term
In a compelling and provocative history
that takes readers to fourteen countries,
including Cuba, Iran, South Vietnam, Chile,
and Iraq, Kinzer surveys modern American
history from a new and often surprising
American leaders might be forgiven
for intervening in countries about which
they were so ignorant. What is harder
to justify is their refusal to listen
to their own intelligence agents. Chiefs
of the CIA stations in Tehran, Guatemala
City, Saigon, and Santiago explicitly
warned against staging these coups. Officials
in Washington paid no heed. They rejected
or ignored all intelligence reports that
contradicted what they instinctively believed.
Americans who think about and make foreign
policy grasp the nature of alliances,
big-power rivalries, and wars of conquest.
The passionate desire of people in poor
countries to assert control over their
natural resources, which pushed them into
conflict with the United States during
the Cold War, lay completely outside the
experience of most American leaders. Henry
Kissinger spoke for them, eloquently as
always, after Chilean foreign minister
Gabriel Valdes accused him of knowing
nothing about the Southern Hemisphere.
No, and I don't care, Kissinger
replied. Nothing important can come
from the south. History has never been
produced in the south. The axis of history
starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses
over to Washington, and then goes to Tokyo.
What happens in the south is of no importance.
This attitude made it easy for American
statesmen to misunderstand why nationalist
movements arose in the developing world.
Copyright ©2006 Stephen Kinzer
* * * *
book jacket of the "Blood of Brothers":
" In 1976, at age twenty-five,
Stephen Kinzer arrived in Nicaragua as
a free-lance journalist, and became a
withness to history. He returned many
times during the years that followed,
becoming Latin America correspondent for
The Boston Globe in 1981 and joining the
foreign staff of The New York Times in
1983. That year he opened the Times -
Managua bureau, making that newspaper
the first daily in America to maintain
a full-time office in Nicaragua.
considered the best-connected journalist
in Central America, Kinzer personally
met and interviewed people at every level
of the Somoza, Sandinista and contra hierarchies,
as well as dissidents, heads of state
and countless ordinary citizens throughout
of Brothers is Kinzer's dramatic story
of the centuries-old power struggle that
burst into the headlines in 1979 with
the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship.
It is a vibrant portrait of the Nicaraguan
people and their volcanic land, a cultural
history rich in powerty and bloodshed,
baseball and insurrection.
his new book, Kinzer finally goes on the
record with all the telling anecdotes,
experiences and deep background that never
made it into the daily paper. Elegantly
written and utterly engrossing, Blood
of Brothers is destined to become the
definitive volume on the country that
remains the focus of the United States
- Central American policy.
his tenure as New York Times bureau chief
in Nicaragua, Stephen Kinzer was called
"the most powerful journalist in
Managua, a reporter whose every adjective
has political impact, who could influence
public policy with an inflection, who
might even have the power to send us off
to war" (Joe Klein in Esquire).
Fruit not only describes a particular
moment in the history of US involvement
in Guatemala, but also is a testimony
to the twisted logic of those immersed
in a culture that sees as a threat
all popular political movements
in Guatemala and everywhere else."
Schirmer, Harvard University, author
of The Guatemalan Military Project:
A Violence Called Democracy.
Brief Profile of the Author:
Stephen KINZER is an award-winning foreign correspondent
for The New York Times who has reported
from more than fifty countries on four
continents. He has served as the paperØs
bureau chief in Turkey, Germany, and
Nicaragua. His previous books include All the ShahØs Men: An American Coup
and the Roots of Middle East Terror;
Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two
Worlds; and Blood of Brothers: Life
and War in Nicaragua. He is also
the co-author of Bitter Fruit: The
Untold Story of the American Coup in
his arrival in Istanbul, Kinzer covered
German unification and other current events
in Europe intensely such as civil war
in the former Yugoslavia, and
the emergence of post-Communist states.
In Istanbul, from which he has covered
Turkey as well as the new nations of the
Caucasus and Central Asia.
spent 13 years writing about Latin America,
first as a contributor to leading magazines
and then as a correspondent for the Boston
Globe and New York Times. From 1983 to
1990, while the Sandinista government
was in power in Nicaragua, he was the
Times bureau chief there. As he was completing
that assignment, Columbia University honored
him with the Maria Moors Cabot award,
a prestigious journalism prize that had
also been given to the murdered Nicaraguan
newspaper editor Pedro Joaquin Chamorro.
In 1991, Kinzer published "Bood
of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua."
Currently, Kinzer teaches in Journalism
at the Northwestern University in Illionis.
lives in Chicago.
"Overthrow: America's Century of
Regime Change From Havai to Iraq."
- April 2006
& Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds"
* The Turkish Times, October 1, 2001,
* "Blood of Brothers"
on the Light Millennium:
-This page updated in June 2006 by Bircan