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Light Millennium TV

Updated Profile - June 2006

Stephen KINZER:
"I've actually loved almost all of the countries I covered."
Stephen Kinzer's new book, OVERTHROW published in April 2006. Photo: Light Millennium, April 2006 Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq
Also in this page:
- OVERTHROW: 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

A Brief Interview
by Light Millennium
Fall - 2001

_ When and where did you start your career?

_I 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?

_Not 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?

_I've 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 in 1979.

_ How many countries did you live in and for how long? What were the initial difficulties to communicate and comprehend the people there?

I've 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.

_How would you describe the most exciting challenge of your job? Most difficult ?

Foreign 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.

_In 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?

I've 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 up there.

Kinzer's recent book, "Crescent & Star" generated various attention towards to Turkey in America.
Photo: Courtesy of the author

_ After living for 20 years abroad in various countries, did you face any 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 and palamut.

_ 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 year.

_  Any possibility on going back to Turkey and a follow-up second edition?

I hope!

-- Fall-2001 - Light Millennium

* * * * *

OVERTHROW: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
by Stephen Kinzer
Henry Holt and Co.
April 2006


A fast-paced narrative history of the coups, revolutions, and invasions by which the United States has toppled fourteen foreign governments—not 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 consequences.

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 perspective.


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

* * * * *

From 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.

Widely 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 the region."

Blood 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.

In 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.

During 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).

"Bitter 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."
-Jennifer Schirmer, Harvard University, author of The Guatemalan Military Project: A Violence Called Democracy.

A 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 Guatemala.

Prior 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.

Kinzer 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. He lives in Chicago.

* "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Havai to Iraq." - April 2006
* "Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds"
* The Turkish Times, October 1, 2001, page 7
* "Blood of Brothers" , 1991

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