“infobox Book “
name Night Shift
image caption Signet Edition
author Stephen King
country United States
language English language
genre(s) Short story
publisher Signet
release date 1978
media type Paperback
pages 326

The Man Who Loved Flowers is a short story by Stephen King, published first in 1977 in Gallery and then as part of the Night Shift collection in 1978.

Character Summaries

The protagonist

The protagonist of the story is unnamed and unreliable. We follow him on his journey to see his girl Norma, but this journey has an unexpected end.

The woman

The woman the protagonist encounters at the end of the story does not seem to be Norma after all. She meets an untimely end.

Plot Summary

The year is 1963, and a young man makes his way down New York City’s Third Avenue. The young man is happy, and the weather is wonderful. His hand is in his pocket as he travels down the street.

Everyone he meets seems to be happy and enjoying the night. It seems the young man is in love – an old lady makes the comment as she passes by him.

The young man continues on his way, stopping at a flower stand. As he is at the flower vendor, he hears a radio broadcast. Among its other items it mentions a woman’s body being pulled from the East River. To the young man, none of it seems real. Nothing seems to matter on a night such as this.

He continues on is way, checking that the thing in his pocket is still where it should be. His face becomes briefly troubled, but then he regains his happiness and continues walking.

The young man decides to return to the flower stand. He’ll buy his girl some flowers. He knows what Norma likes. He has a joking conversation with the flower vendor, makes his purchase and then leaves.

He continues on, seemingly so lost in thought about the one he loves that he fails to notice anything else. His journey takes him into a narrow lane. It’s night time. He sees Norma coming towards him – always a surprise to see her.

He catches up to her and for a moment hesitates. Is this really Norma? Of course. He gives her the flowers but strangely she hands them back. She tells him he’s mistaken. Before she can tell him her real name, he interrupts. Her name is Norma. These flowers are for her. Everything he does is for her.

The woman backs away and there is the sudden realization that she isn’t Norma because Norma is dead, and has been for ten years. The man takes the hammer that has been in his pocket the whole time and hits the woman on the head over and over until he kills her.

He leaves, continuing on his journey. There is a spring in his step. He’ll find Norma eventually.

“infobox Book “
name Lamb to the Slaughter and Other Stories
image caption Penguin 60s Edition
author Roald Dahl
country United Kingdom
language English language
genre(s) Short story
publisher Penguin
release date 1953
media type Hardback
pages 87

Despite arguably being best known for his children’s works, Roald Dahl also wrote fiction for adults. This collection of short works, titled Lamb to the Slaughter and Other Stories comprises five of Dahl’s best-loved short stories for adults.

Lamb to the Slaughter is a tale of murder tinged with black comedy. It was first published in 1953.

Character Summaries

Mary Maloney

An expectant mother who kills her husband Patrick by hitting him on the back of the head with a frozen leg of lamb. She does this because he wants a divorce. Mary then hides the crime from the police.

Patrick Maloney

Mary’s husband. A policeman, he is murdered by his wife.


The grocer.

Jack Noonan

One of the policemen who come to investigate Patrick’s murder.


Another of the policemen who come to investigate Patrick’s murder.

Plot Summary

Mary Maloney is six months pregnant and waiting for her policeman husband Patrick to return home from work for dinner. Mary loves her husband and thinks that his return from work is the best part of the day – so she is blindsided by his wish for a divorce.

Mary goes into the kitchen after receiving this news and begins to prepare the leg of lamb from the freezer for dinner. The leg of lamb does not get cooked, however, it becomes a murder weapon instead. Mary hits her husband on the back of the head with the frozen piece of the meat and kills him instantly.

Worried about what will happen to her and her unborn child if she is caught, Mary carefully tries to stage everything as if Patrick has been murdered by someone else. She goes out to the store so that she has an alibi, and on returning home calls the police and acts as though someone has broken in and killed her husband.

The two policeman arrive at Mary’s house and begin the investigation. She invites them for dinner, and little do they know that the leg of lamb they are eating is actually the murder weapon itself.

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The Glass Castle chronicles the life of writer Jeanette Walls. At the book’s beginning she is three years old and living in a trailer in Arizona where she severely burns herself while making hot dogs. She is hospitalized, but her father, Rex, grabs her and takes her from the hospital before she is released.

Not long after this incident Rex comes home one evening and tells the family to grab only what they need and get in the car. The family then begins a transient existence in which they live briefly in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and various small desert towns. During this time Rex holds various jobs at various mines and seeks to perfect a new device for more efficiently mining gold. He tells his family numerous tall tales about his past, and claims that in the future he will build a Glass Castle that they will all live in. He even draws up blueprints. Mary, Jeanette’s mother has a baby which brings the total of children to 4 (Maureen, Brian, Jeannette, Lori in order from youngest to oldest).

Eventually, the family settles in a town called Battle Mountain. Here, the family lives in a rented home, where the children sleep in cardboard boxes. The children go to school and Rex gets a job at a barite mine. Despite a house full of wayward animals (everything from cats to a wounded vulture) the Walls live a fairly normal existence. There are children to play with and there is food to eat.

When Rex loses his job at the mine things get tougher and Jeanette must steal from other children’s school lunches to eat. Eventually Mary gets a teaching job, which she hates. Rex in the meantime is spending most of his time in bars, drinking and gambling, at one point hiring a prostitute from a local brothel that Jeanette and Brian often pass by and wonder about.

A boy named Billy moves to town who is a couple of years older than Jeanette. He is a juvenile delinquent, thought to have tortured animals, and also proclaims Jeanette his girlfriend. Jeanette does not return his affection but accepts a ring that he gives to her. One day while playing hide and go seek, he attempts to rape her. Fortunately he is unsuccessful. Jeanette returns his ring. That evening Billy comes to the Walls’ house while the parents are away, breaks out a window and begins firing his BB gun at the children. The Walls’ children retaliate by locating their father’s pistol and firing at him. A police car arrives with the Walls’ parents inside of it. The officer informs Rex and Mary that they must appear before a magistrate in the morning. That night, they pack up and leave town.

The Walls then move to a house in Phoenix Arizona that Rose Mary inherited from her mother. The house is large but infested with Roaches. Their neighbors are Gypsies who steal from the Walls. The neighborhood also hosts a number of sexual predators, one of whom enters the Walls house and propositions Jeanette before being scared off by Brian who is wielding a hatchet.

Rex works as an electrician, and the family has money that Mary inherited, but when he loses his job his drinking gets to a dangerous level. Jeanette asks him to quit drinking as her tenth birthday present. He tries and fails.When the money runs out, Jeanette’s parents begin performing petty cons at drive through bank windows for money. One evening after a drunken fight, Rose Mary decides that the family will move to West Virginia where Rex’s parents are.


Jeannette Walls


Jeannette Walls

The protagonist/author who we see from her earliest memory at age 3 to adulthood. Jeanette is very intelligent and driven to overcome the poverty she endures as a child. She is smart.

Rex Walls

Jeanette’s father. A highly intelligent and skilled man whose positive attributes are thwarted by extreme alcoholism which compels him to do things such as steal from his children and use Jeanette as a sexual decoy in a bar-room con.

Rose Mary Walls

Jeanette’s mother, whose dream is to be a successful artist. She occasionally takes jobs as a school teacher when things are particularly bad. She is an extremely loyal person. She is tolerant of Rex despite his destructive, drunken behavior, and clings unquestionably to numerous other ideas that many would find questionable to say the least. She has a habit of sugar coating reality to the extent that it is unhealthy.

Brian Walls

Jeanette’s younger brother. Throughout their childhood Brian is Jeanette’s closest ally, often attempting to rescue and protect his older sister.In his adulthood he becomes a police officer and eventually a detective.

Lori Walls

Jeanette’s older sister, a very skilled artist who is just as driven as Jeanette to overcome her dismal childhood situation. With Jeanette, Lori devises a plan that will land them in emancipate them from West Virginia and land them New York city.

Maureen Walls

The youngest of the Walls children. Little attention is given to Maureen until near the book’s end when she is a very attractive but disturbed young woman.

A Woman on the Street

I Was Sitting In

Jeannette Walls, the author of the Glass Castle begins her writing of this memoir as an affluent woman living on Park Avenue in New York City. One evening she spots her mother through the window of a taxi. Her mother is rooting through garbage cans. Jeannette later contacts her through a mutual friend and arranges to have lunch with her. Jeannette finds both of her parents embarrassing and worries about them. She feels guilty that they are both street people who must scrounge for food.

At lunch, her mother is cheerful until Jeannette explains the shame and worry she feels for both of her parents and offers to help them. Jeannette’s mother responds by saying that Jeannette’s values are confused and that she is the one who needs help.

The Desert

I Was on Fire

Jeannette at age 3 is cooking hot dogs while wearing a pink tutu. She is in the kitchen of her family’s trailer in Arizona. Her dress catches fire and her mother, who was in another room painting, wraps her in an army blanket and goes to a neighbor for a ride to the hospital.

Jennette is hospitalized for the next six weeks. She finds the cleanliness and quiet a pleasant change from life in the trailer, where she shares a room with her brother and her sister.

When her family visits she is informed by her mother that she (Jeannette) won a helicopter ride. She is excited until her mother further informs her that the family has already taken the ride. Her mother is offended by the fact that a nurse gave Jeannette gum. Her father (Rex Walls) is offended by the fact that she is wearing bandages. He threatens to hit the doctor and is thrown out of the hospital by a guard.

A few days later her father appears in her room, picks her up and runs out of the hospital where the car is waiting with the entire family in it.

A Few Days Later

Soon after having been taken from the hospital, Jeaneatte is back to cooking hot dogs on her own. Having been burned does not cause her to have a fear of fire, instead, she is fascinated by it. Her father shows her how to pass her finger through the flame of a candle, which she does over and over. She steals and plays with matches and makes small fires that she stomps out while yelling obsenities that she hears her father use. She enjoys watching her neighbors burn their trash, st˝anding as close as she can to the fire. One day, she takes her favorite toy, a tinkerbell action figure, outside and lights a match. She holds it close to the doll’s face so that the doll can feel the heat. To her surprise and dismay, the doll’s face melts. Jeanette tries in vain to repair the doll. Although it is disfigured, Tinkerbell remains Jeanette’s favorite toy.

Dad Came Home

One night Jeanette’s father (Rex Walls) comes home and tells everyone to grab only what they need to survive and get in the car. Everyone does so, and after Jeanette’s mother finds her buried jar of cash, the family departs (or in the words of Rex, does “the skedaddle”). Jeanette realizes that she has left Tinkerbell behind. Her father tells her that Tink˘erbell will take care of herself, just like he would like Jeanette to do. Jeanette tries to hold the cat for comfort but it scratches at her and begins making noise. Her father throws the cat from the window, it lands and runs away. Jeanette’s mother says that it is better to be a wild cat than a tame one, and tells Jeanette that they can get a new cat. The family spends the night on Army surplus blankets in the desert.

We Were Always Doing

The Walls family (with three children) lived a transient life. They would stay in small western towns where Rex (Jeanette’s father) would work as an engineer or electrician in a mine. He would tell the children that the FBI was after him, when in reality it was bill collectors. At times they would stay with Jeanette’s grandmother until she and Rex would get into a shouting match.

They spent a lot of time in the desert, where Jeanette and her two siblings would play outside during thunderstorms. Jeanette’s mother had grown up in the desert.She knew which plants were edible and had a knack for finding water. Jeanette’s father Rex was somewhat of a genius. He was able to repair nearly anything, was an inventor, and a master storyteller. He vowed that after he found gold, he would build the family a glass castle. In order to find gold he invented a machine called the Prospector that would be able to separate gold from other rocks and dirt by its weight.

Although a fascinating and skilled man, Rex had a penchant for violence. He taught his children to use a gun at an early age, and assured them that he could out fight any man they come into contact with. He was also a drunk. When only drinking beer, he was tolerable, but liquor would cause him to threaten his wife and throw furniture.

The stories he told all cast him as a hero, saving thousands of people by repairing a dam, or killing a pack of wild dogs that were threatening an injured horse.

The stories of his past were matched by ambitious claims for the future, such as the glass castle.

As Much As Dad

Rex Walls’ favorite story is the one in which he met his wife. He and some Air Force buddies were trying to get the nerve to jump off a high cliff into the water below. Jeanette’s future mother and a friend showed up, in bathing suits and made their way through the off duty airmen and went straight off the cliff. Rex fell in love with her the second he saw her, and followed her off the cliff. In the water, he told her that he would marry her some day, and six months later he did.

It wasn’t long before she was pregnant with Lori, who didn’t speak or grow hair until she was three. Next came Mary Charlene, who died of crib death at nine months. Jeanette was born two years later, and a year after that came Brian. Brian was born while having a seizure. The seizures continued until he was one year old.

Jeanette’s mother believes that people worry too much about chldren, and that having to endure some hardships while young hardens them. She doesn’t dote on them when they cry, and was remarkably unaffected by the death of Mary Charlene.

Rex, however, was deeply wounded by the event. He found her in the crib and let out a cry that Jeanette’s mother likens to that of a wounded animal. She also claims that it changed her husband. It maked the begining of his drinking problem and also that of not being able to hold down a job.

At some point he sells her wedding ring, which her mother had bought. Often during arguments she would bring up the ring. He would tell her to quit complaining and claim that he would buy her a bigger ring some day, and also that he’d build a glass castle.

Do You Always

The Walls now have a green station wagon called the Green Caboose. They are on their way to Las Vegas and stop at a bar. While their parents are inside, Lori and Jeanette try to tabulate how many places they have lived, and lose count after 11.

The parents return with snacks, and Rex drives away while simultaneously smoking and drinking. During a sharp turn over some railroad tracks, Jeanette is thrown from the car. Pebbles are embedded in her skin, her forehad and nose are bleeding. The car keeps going. She wonders if she has been abandoned like Quixote, the cat her father flung from the car on an earlier trip.

After some time, the Green Caboose shows up again. While cleaning her up, Rex refers to her nose as a snot locker. The whole faimily finds this hilarious.

We Lived In Las Vegas

The family lives in a hotel in Las Vegas. Rex develops a method for blackjack and buys everyone vests, cowboy hats and numerous dinners out, the most notable being one in an old west themed restaurant which tops off the evening with a flaming ice cream cake. Rex’s gambling method is discovered the next day and1 the family has to perform “the skedaddle”.

They go all the way to San Francisco and stay in a hotel that is also a brothel. Jeanette experiments with fire in the bathroom of the hotel, putting piles of toilet paper in the toilet, setting them ablaze and then flushing. Ironically, a few nights later the hotel catches fire (not due in any part to Jeanette’s experiments). Everyone escapes and waits in a bar across the street while Rex helps fight the fire. While there, Jeanette thinks about fire. She wonders if the fire that burned her when she was cooking hot dogs is related to the fire she was flushing down the toilet and the fire that just burned the hotel.

After the fire, the family lives in their car on the beach until asked to leave by the police. The parents decide they are fed up with civilization and want to move back to the desert.

After We Pulled Up

The family drives until Mother is taken by the vision of a Joshua tree. The car stops so that she can make a painting of the tree, and Rex decides that this is a good a place as any to settle.

The town is called Midland and is in the heart of the desert. Water comes in by train twice a day.

Spooked by the sounds of coyotes howling and gila monsters slithering, Jeanette thinks she hears something under her bed. When she tells her Dad, he becomes very serious about ridding the house of the demon. So, with a knife and a pipe wrench, the two go on a search for the demon, which has allegedly been trying to get Rex for years.After having no luck finding the demon, Rex tells Jeanette that all you have to do is show demons that you are not afraid of them and they will not hurt you.

The family’s dog gets bitten by a rattle snake and dies. But, they have plenty of cats. So many that they have to take kittens to a pond and drown them. Jeanette’s mother explains that they were able to give the kittens a little extra time on earth, and that the kittens should be thankful.

Rex gets a job in a gypsum mine, and Mary (Jeanette’s Mother) devotes herself to art and writing. She is also pregant. The family decides to move to Blythe, a larger city in the desert, when it is time for her to deliver.

I Never Believed

By Christmas, Rex has lost his job at the Gypsum mine. The children have never believed in Santa Claus. The parents being against the whole idea. Christmas with the Walls family occurs several days after the actual holiday so that the family can find discarded trees and usable wrapping paper.

On Christmas eve on this particular year, Rex took the children one at a time outside and told them to pick a star. He said that all you had to do to own a star is to claim it the way Columbus claimed America. Each child chose a star, except Jeanette who chose Venus. Rex knew the names of the stars (Beetlegeuse and Rigel) and gave each child information about their star/planet. The children are happy with their gifts and laugh at all the children who believe in Santa Claus.

At Twilight Once

On the way to Blythe, the parents argue about how long the mother has been pregnant. Rex has been drinking, and the argument gets quite heated. Jeanette’s mother reaches her foot over to the driver side and steps on the brakes, then runs away from the car. Rex follows her in the car, and begins chasing her. It appears as though he is trying to kill her with the car. The children beg him to stop, which he doesn’t do until he corners her and drags her back into the car.

In Blythe, the family lives in an apartment, and Jeanette goes to school. She is a top reader in the class and always raises her hand enthusiastically when the teacher asks a question.

Other students call her a teachers pet and also pick on her because she is tall and skinny. On the way home from school, six Mexican girls jump her and beat her up. The next day, the girls are again waiting for her, but this time Brian, her younger brother helps her with a branch from a yucca tree. The girls are not scared of him or the branch and begin to beat him as well.Jeanette picks up a rock and hits one of the girls in the head. This causes them to leave.

Jeanette and Brian then go to an ice berg lettuce farm where they eat, play and get dusted by a crop duster that flys over.

The baby is born two months later and is called Lilly Ruth Maureen. Lilly coming from her mother, Ruth from Rex’s mother, and Maureen being a derivative of her own name which is Mary (this is the first time we learn Jeanette’s mother’s name).

A Few Months After

Rex outruns a police car that is trying to ticket him for bad brake lights. Thinking the police will recognize the car, he parks it in a garage and the family walks home. The next day, the children find out that they are moving to Battle Mountain, Nevada, where they are sure to find gold.

Mary and Rex rent a U-Haul and the children, including Maureen, who is only a few months old, ride in the back. The children are cold and have to use the bathroom but have no way of telling their parents.

The truck hits a bump and the doors fly open. Brian is almost pulled out of the truck while trying to shut the door. Luckily, a car comes along and alerts Rex, who is angry and scared when he finally stops the truck and comes to the back.

After using the restroom, he double checks the lock on the doors to the trailer and continues with the drive.

Battle Mountain Had

In Battle Mountain, the Walls move into a former depot station that has no furniture. The children sleep in refrigerator boxes and the family uses spools that hold industrial cables as tables and chairs.

In the midst of this, Mary decides that the family needs a piano. So, Rex buys a used one from a saloon owner and borrows a truck to move it. He devises a pulley system to get it into the house, using ropes that go in the front door, through the house, and are attached to the truck which is in the backyard. The plan is for Mary to ease the truck forward while everyone else guides the piano inside. Unfortunately, she is not an experienced driver and takes off, splintering the front door frame, pulling the piano through the house, splintering the back door frame and landing the piano outside. This is where the piano stays. Mary goes outside occasionally to play it.

Dad Got A Job As

Rex gets a job at a Barite Mine, and stops drinking as heavily.Mary (or Rose Mary as Rex calls her) prefers painting to cooking reasoning that a painting lasts forever. Therefore, she usually cooks large amounts of food once a week and the family eats whatever is made for breakfast, dinner and lunch. The most common food at the Walls’ residence is beans.

The family spends a lot of time reading, individually and to each other. They keep a dictionary handy and sometimes disagree with the definitions, which prompts a letter to the publisher. Any letter from the publisher defending the definition is met by another letter from Rex, who will write as many times as needed to get the last word.

Mom and Dad

Jeannette enrolls in second grade and this time is less enthusiastic about answering questions in order to make friends. Rex, sensing that Jeanette needs more of a challenge, makes her do math homework in binary numbers. This confuses the teacher and causes Jeannette to have to stay after school.

The Walls’ neighborhood is full of rough and tumble kids from low income families. Rex enjoys playing with the children.

The Walls children are spanked with a belt for talking back and disobeying direct orders, otherwise the rules are very loose: come home when the streetlights come on and use common sense. Injuries that would alarm other parents, i.e. a gash in the thigh from a rusty nail, do not concern Mary or Rex.

In addition to playing various games with the neighborhood children, Jeanette enjoys exploring the desert. She collects rocks and attempts to sell them for several hundred dollars each (only one ever sold, to Rex on credit). She also enjoys exploring with Brian in a junkyard. She and Brian mix a number of chemicals they find there and light the mixture setting an old shack they deemed as their laboratory on fire. Jeannette escapes but Brian tries to put out the fire. Luckily, Rex is walking by and pulls Brian from the fire. The three watch the blaze and Rex explains that the hazy area around the flame is called the “boundary between turbulence and order”.

None of Us Kids

The Walls children redeem bottles and collect scrap metal whenever they want spending money. Jeanette and Brian meticulously choose the candy they buy with their hard earned cash. Routinely on the way home from the drug store where they buy their candy, they stop and spy on a house knows as the Green Lantern. According to Mary, it is a Cat House. The children don’t know what this means and are only told that bad things happen there. One day Jeanette dares Brian to talk to one fo the women lounging on the porch. He reports back to her after asking what happens inside, saying merely that men go inside and women are nice to them. He also reports that the woman was nice and starts making a habit of waving to the women at the Green Lantern. Jeanette, however, is scared of them.

Our House in Battle Mountain

Numerous animals live at the Walls. Everything from cats and dogs to coyotes and wounded vultures. Mary refuses to kill the flies that inhabit the home reasoning that they are a valid link in the food chain ad that killing them would starve the lizards which would in turn starve the cats.

The family goes to a hot springs in a souped up Ford that Rex buys. Rex teaches Jeanette to swim by taking her to the middle and throwing her in. He does this repeatedly, until, trying to escape him, she begins to swim.

Bad News Lori Said

Rex loses his job at the mine, and the family starts to go hungry. Jeanette steals from the other kids school lunches and from friends’ refrigerator. Brian is caught breaking into a house and is forced to eat the entire gallon of pikles he was attempting to steal.

Rex spends most of his time at the Owl Club gambling in oder to make money to create a cyanide solution that will leach gold from rock.

Rex and Mary have a fight. Mary claims that Rex is doing nothing to help the family while Rex thinks Mary should ask her mother for money to fund his cyanide leaching project.

The fight continues the next morning and neighbors begin to wonder if they should intervene. They decide it is not their place to interfere and instead become spectators. Soon, a painting and then an easel come flying out of a second story window. Next come Mary’s feet. Rex is holding her arms. She claims he is trying to kill her but it is obvious that he is preventing her from falling. The children rush inside to and help pull her back in.

The Next Morning

Mary gets a job as a teacher, an easy job to obtain in Battle Mountain, where teachers are fired for walking the halls with loaded rifles. Mary’s students run wild. They love her, but the principal does not. Mary doesn’t like teaching. To her, it is equated with being a failure as an artist. The children all encourage and help her with everything from getting out of bed in the morning to grading papers. Lori is especially helpful and is the most academically inclined of the Walls children. She is also in Mary’s class and endures a paddling so that Mary can demonstrate to the administration that she has discipline, without hurting any of the other kids.

Once Mom Started Teaching

Mary tries to keep the money she makes away from Rex. He usually manages to get it, and when the family comes up short will claim that she is spending it on art supplies.

Although he occasionally comes through with food, the Walls children are starting to become leery of their father-stating that he spends more on drinking than on the family. Jeanette is not as quick as Brian and Lori to lose faith. Rex has proclaimed her his favorite and shares more details of his schemes and ventures with her.

When passing by the Green Lantern one day, a woman named Ginger makes an attempt to greet Brian, who ignores her. He tells Jeanette that on his birthday Rex bought him a comic book, which he read while Rex and Ginger were in a hotel room together. Jeanette asks if he found out any more about what happens in the Green Lantern. He replies merely that they make a lot of money.

Some People Liked

A Boy named Billy Deel moves to Battle Mountain.He is three years older than Jeanette and claims her as his girlfriend, a title that she does not want. He is also a juvenile delinquent, who is accused by a local woman to have set fire to some of her dogs and to have skinned cats.

He lures Jeanette to his house so that the two can laugh at his father, who has passed out and urinated on himself. Jeanette isn’t amused. He tells her that he will always protect her if she will be his girlfriend, and that if she will not that she will regret it. She doesn’t fear him, but a week later he gives her a ring. It is turquoise and Jeanette loves it. She tells him she’ll keep it but will not wear it, and that this does not mean she is his girlfriend.

While playing hide and go seek, Jeanette finds a shack to hide in. While hiding Billy shows up and attempts to rape her. Luckily the other children find them. She goes to his house the next day and returns the ring.

The next day while the Walls parents are out, Billy comes over, knocks out a window and begins firing at the children with a BB Gun. Lori retrieves her father’s real gun and fires at him, missing. Jeanette also fires at him as he runs away.

A police car shows up, with Rex and Mary in it. The officer informs the parents that they must appear before the magistrate in the morning. This prompts the Walls to leave town during the night. Their destination is Phoenix.

Grandma Smith’s Big

On the way to Phoenix, Jeanette is told that her Grandmother has died. Jeanette loved her Grandmother and the structure she provided whenever the Walls stayed with her. It was a shock to find out she had died.

Mary has inherited a house in Phoenix and some money and looks forward to giving up teaching and buying new art supplies. She tells Jeanette that the episode with Billy Deel was a “blessing in disguise”. Mary is happy about the move to Phoenix and proclaims herself an “excitement Addict”.

When We Pulled Up

The house in Phoenix has fourteen rooms and trees in the yard. The children are thrilled with the house. They go to school and are all put into gifted reading groups. Lori is told that she needs glasses and experiences wonder at being to see clearly for the first time in her life. Rex gets a job as an electrician and buys the children bicycles.

Life seems ideal to the Walls except for the insect problem. The house is infested with roaches, which the family battles with shoes and rolled up magazines. Termites also reside, and the children are constantly putting their feet through soft spots in the floor. When this happens, Rex will flatten a beer can and nail it over the hole.

A Lot of Our Neighbors

The Walls’ neighborhood in Phoenix is inhabited by a family of Gypsies and a host of perverts.

The Gypsies are thieves. They steal Brian’s pogo stick and refuse to give it back when asked. In addition to not yielding the stolen toy they also leave a chicken with a slit throat on the Walls’ doorstep. This prompts Mary to “fight magic with magic”, which constitutes standing in front of their house with a crucifix made from ham bones and cursing their home to essentially fall on top of them. The pogo stick is found on the Walls’ lawn the next morning.

The perverts, as Jeanette refers to them, are old men who follow the children around offering to give them boosts over fences, or soliciting their friendship with candy and money. Jeanette feels compassion for the men until one sneaks into her room (the Walls never lock or even close their doors due to the heat) and begins touching her private parts and asks if she will play a game with him. Jeanette screams and Brian (who had previously been given a dirty magazine by this same man) comes into the room bearing a hatchet. Jeanette and Brian chase the man away and begin the act of “pervert hunting”, which entails the two of them walking the streets with a machete and baseball bat in search of old men who prey on children.

Mary and Rex stress to the children not to give in to fear, or to pre-judge. They view status-quo conformity with as much or more contempt as they have for the unsavory characters in the neighborhood. In one instance, Mary enourages the children to swim in a fountain outside the public library and tells anyone who comments to mind their own business.

An area in which Mary and Rex don’t see eye to eye is religion. Despite her fierce non-conformist attitude, Mary considers herself a devout Catholic. Rex is an atheist. Church is particularly trying, as Rex usually heckles the priest until the family is asked to leave.

City Life was Getting

Rex is angered when he hears that the police kill a mountain lion that has wandered into a woman’s back yard. He sets out to prove to the children that animals are not dangerous if you are not scared of them. He takes them to the zoo where he promptly stares down an alligator. He then climbs a fence surrounding a cheetah’s cage and lures the cat to the side of the cage where he can reach through the bars and touch it. He pets the cheetah then has the children climb the fence and they too pet it. Jeanette is thrilled when it licks her hands. After attracting a significant amount of attention, they climba back over the fence. Rex nearly gets in a fight with a security guard on the way out. The family leaves amidst whispers that their father is drunk and that they, the children are urchins. Jeanette feels no shame from their jeers as the thrill of having her hand licked by a cheetah is more than any of them have ever experienced.

It Was Around

Rex loses job after job and starts going to bars. Luckily, the children have hot lunches at school for a quarter every day.

Maureen, the baby, has no one her age to play with so she develops imaginary friends and spends most of her time riding her tricycle. Since she has no one to play with, Mary decides that she should get special treatment and uses the other children to cause distractions while she shoplifts clothes for her.

Similarly, she and Rex devise a method of getting money from banks by opening accounts and simultaneously withdrawing all of the money (one at a teller’s window inside, one at the drive through) and leaving before the transaction has cleared.

Rex’s drinking is getting worse and worse, yet Mary decides that the family will have an extra special Christmas. The children all have a dollar to spend for presents at the thrift store, which they manage to use with extreme creativity. The site of the children in their threadbare clothes compels a tree salesman to let the family have a tree for a dollar.

Unfortunately, Mary decides that Christmas will wait until the family goes to mass. Rex, who is incredibly intoxicated and loudly refers to the virgin Mary as a “Jewish broad” and to Jesus as a bastard.

When the family returns home, in hopes of calming Rex down, Mary let’s him open a present. It is a lighter, which he promptly uses to set the tree on fire. Everyone works to put out the fire while Rex laughs. When the fire is out, all of the presents have been ruined.

I Turned Ten That

Rex asks Jeanette what she wants for her tenth birthday, and Jeanette asks him if he will stop drinking. Rex stops cold turkey and spends several days strapped to his bed with belts and screaming. Once the basic withdrawals are over, he has no appetite, shakes all the time, and spends most of his time sitting under the orange trees in the yard.

He then gets the idea of taking the family on a vacation to the Grand Canyon. Everyone is excited, but on the way he decides to see how fast the car can go. He floors it and reaches a speed of over 100 mph, but then the car breaks down.

The Walls leave the car and everything in it (which includes an Archery set of Mary’s that was a gift from her father) and begin the 80 mile walk home. Luckily they are picked up by a woman whose daughter saw the family walking and reported it to her. She refers to the Walls’ as “poor people”, which upsets Jeanette slightly.

When the family gets home, Rex disappears and doesn’t return that night.

Three Days Later

Rex comes home drunk overturns a china closet filled with fine bone china. He drunkenly punches at his children and asks where Mary is. He refers to her as a bitch and a whore as he searches the house, finally finding her in bathtub. They begin to fight and pick up knives that were left on the floor from Rex’s earlier rampage. Luckily Rex knocks the knife out of Mary’s hand and drops his. Mary calls him a “stinking rotten drunk”. Rex says “Yeah, but you love this old drunk don’t you”. Which seems to diffuse the situation, and the two begin laughing and kissing.

Mary decides that the family should move to West Virginia where Rex’s parents are. She has some money from some land that she inherited in Texas which is being leased for drilling. With it she buys a car.

Rex refuses to go with the family until they are pulling out of the driveway. Jeanette asks one more time if he will come and says that the family needs him. Everyone else echoes the plea and Rex ambles over to the car and gets in.


Back in Battle Mountain

The Walls make their way across country in the car Mary bought. It breaks down frequently and has a top speed of twenty miles per hour.

They arrive in Welch, West Virginia in November and go immediately to the home of Rex’s family. The Walls children meet their grandparents and Uncle Stanley. Their grandmother, a stern obese woman, insists on being called Erma. She greets Mary by saying “Nice of you to let me see my grandchildren before I die”. Jeanette looks for some trace of their father in the three of them but sees none. Erma brings the family to the kitchen and feeds them green beans overcooked on an old coal stove.

Although there are unused rooms in the house’s upstairs, the family stays in the basement. The upstairs has not been used in ten years because the wood in the floor is rotting.

The children all stay in the same bed, and when they laugh are met with the sounds of a broom on the ceiling. It is Erma, who lets it be known that she does not want the children laughing when they are in her house.

The Next Day Was

The family awakes the next day to the sound of voices on the radio speaking in tongues. They drive around Welch that day, and Rex tells the family that the only reason the town exists is to mine coal. No crops will grow, and cattle can’t be raised. They pass the Tug River which Rex explains is so full of fecal matter that one cannot swim in it or fish from it. The entire town seems to be covered in coal dust.

Most strangers who come to Welch are either coal mining executives who lay off workers or shut down mines, or bankers foreclosing on houses. For this reason, strangers are not welcome in the town.

Mary proclaims that she will probably be the only artist in Welch, and that her career could really take off.

The Next Day Mom

Mary enrolls her children at Welch Elementary. She doesn’t have any of their school records. The principal has such a thick southern accent that Brian and Jeannette can’t understand what he is saying. Which is too bad because he is quizzing them to see which class they should go in. He decides they are both a bit slow and places them accordingly. In an English class for children with learning disabilities, the teacher berates Jeannette for not having presented her school records. She tells the class that some people think they are special and above the rules others must follow, and essentially turns the entire class against Jeanette. Amongst the jeers a tall black girl pokes her in the back with a sharpened pencil. At recess, the tall girl and several friends beat Jeannette up.

When We All Got

Jeanette decides not to tell her parents about the bullying, which continued every day at recess. The ring leader of the bullies in Dinita Hewitt. Jeanette is convinced that there is some good in Dinita because of her smile.

One day Jeanette is walking and comes upon a small black boy who is cornered by a dog. The dog bites the boy but Jeanette then chases it off with a stick. She gives the boy a piggyback ride home, which is right across the street from Dinita, who sees them from her front porch.

The bullying stops and Dinita asks Jeanette for help with some school work. The two become friends. Erma, who is an all out racist is not pleased. She scolds Jeanette until Jeanette tells her that she shouldn’t use the word nigger. This results in her being sent to the basement without dinner.

When Jeanette complains about Erma to her mother, she is told to have compassion for her as she has had a hard life. Mary goes on to say that you must look for the good in everyone. When Jeanette asks what good there was in Hitler, her mother replies that he loved dogs.

In Late Winter

Rex and Mary go back to Arizona to collect a few things, leaving the children with their grandparents. Erma one day insists on mending Brian’s trousers while he is wearing them. She takes him into a bedroom and attempts to molest him. Jeanette walks in on them and tells her to stop. She tells Lori what happens and calls Erma a pervert. She stops Erma from slapping Jeanette, and it results in a full on fight between Lori and Erma which is broken up by Uncle Stanley.

Erma relegates the children to the basement and doesn’t allow them upstairs. They are also not allowed to operate the stove for heat and have no bathroom.

When the parents return Erma tells Rex about the children and their bad behavior, which includes accusing her unjustly. Rex is angered. He takes Erma’s side andˇ tells the children that he doesn’t want to hear anything else about what happened to Brian.

The children, amongst themselves, wonder if Rex suffered the same sort of abuse as a child and wonder if it might explain his drinking.

Mom and Dad Told

According to Rex and Mary, the house in Phoenix had been burglarized. All that remained was put in a trailer, and that too lost when the car broke down in Tennessee. The couple then took a bus to West Virginia.

Still claiming her innocence, Erma banishes the family from her house due to the situation with Brian. The Walls somehow manage to buy another house. It is a run down three bedroom house with no indoor plumbing and a leaky roof. One room is the master bedroom and art studio for Mary, the second room is the childrens’ bedroom, furnished with bunk beds made by the Walls and featuring matresses of rope and cardboard. The third is the kitchen which, due to faulty wiring, often shocks anyone who touches the oven.

The former tenant of the house left a sewing machine operated by a foot treadle. The Walls try their hand at making dresses, but the results yield nothing that can be worn in public.

Mary tries to make the place a bit cheerier by hanging up her paintings and placing colored bottles on the windows, but the children still long for Phoenix.

Seeing as How Welch

Rex tells the children that this will be the site of the Glass Castle, and that the dreary house is only temporary. Unfortunately, he spends most of his time out drinking.Brian and Jeanette take matters into their own hands and begin digging a foundation. Tney manage to dig a fairly large hole, which soon becomes the families garbage dump. The trash attracts a large river rat who shows up in a punch bowl that the Walls use to hold their sugar. Maureen is terrified, and at night insists that the rat is right next to her bed. Jeanette attempts to dispel the fear by turning on the light, at which time they find that the rat is in fact on Maureen’s bed. Luckily, an adopted dog takes care of the rat.

Rex buys a gallon of yellow paint, and Jeanette attempts to paint the house. She gets most of the front porch done but has no ladder. Soon, cold weather sets in and stops her efforts entirely. When warm weather comes, the paint is unusable.

Little Hobart Street

The children of Little Hobart Street hang out at the National Guard Armory where the boys play football and girls sit on a wall preening and hoping a reservist will whistle at them. Maureen has real friends for the first time.

Their neighborhood has numerous sketchy characters.Brian and Jeanette at one point find themselves being fired at by an older boy with a shotgun as they run through the woods. There is a family that had six retarded kids, all of whom still live at home in their middle ages. One of them, named Kenny Hall develops a crush on Jeanette because she is friendly to him. Other neighborhood children often fool him into thinking they can arrange for him to have dates with Jeanette if he will pay them or show them his privates. This results in him standing outside of the Walls’ house yelling for Jeanette who would have to explain to him that he had again been fooled, and that she does not date older men.

The town whore, Ginny Sue Pastor, lives on Little Hobart Street and one of her daughters (she has 9 children) befriends Jeanette. Jeanette is very curious about the Ginnie Sue, who doesn’t at all resemble the women of the Green Lantern. One day Jeanette goes over to the house one day and helps them pick meat off a chicken. She tells them about life in California. Nothing incredible happens and Jeanette doesn’t get to ask the woman any questions about being the town whore. She acknowledges, however, that it does manage to put a chicken on the table.

We Fought A Lot

Adults and children alike fight in Welch. Jeanette is targeted by a child named Ernie Goad who teases her about the garbage pit next to the house.It starts with a shoving match at the National Guard Armory, but then one day Ernie and some other boys on bicycles throw rocks at the Walls house. One rock breaks a window, another hits Brian in the head. Brian and Jeanette chase the boys, who ride away only to taunt them. Knowing that the boys will return, Brian and Jeanette decide to make a catapult from an old mattress. They rig the mattress with “ropes looped over tree branches” and put rocks on the mattress. The device works, and when they unleash it on Ernie and his gang, their victory is quick and decisive.

As the Weather

The Walls’ read a lot, but it was not the same as in Battle Hill when they read to each other. Lori reads the most and enjoys fantasy books. Jeanette likes more realistic storys, her favorite being A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and compares her relationship with Rex to that of Francie Nolan and her father.

One night Rex comes home bleeding claiming that he “got in a fight with a mountain”. Jeanette ends up having to put stitches in her father’s arm using a home made tourniquet and Mary’s sewing kit.

Dad Had Taken To

Rex develops the habit of being gone for several days at a time. He tells the family he is trying to devise a way to burn more coal efficiently. Jeanette tries to be encouraging but is doubtful that any such plans exist. The only money that comes in are the checks Mary gets from the oil company for drilling rights on her property in Texas.

Again, the children are going hungry. When there is money they eat beans or entire meals of popcorn. Jeanette hides in the bathroom during lunch at school because she is embarrassed that she has no food. She will position herself in a stall with her feet up so that no one will know it is her. When girls leave the bathroom, she forages through the trashcan and gets uneaten food that they throw away from their lunches.

Jeanette and Brian go to the forest for berries and other plants that they hear are edible. At one point they find an abandoned house and attempt to open some canned tomatoes they find, only to have them explode and stain their clothes.

Maureen eats well because she has lots of friends and will go to their houses at dinner time.

One night, the family minus Rex are at home and hungry. The children discover that Mary, their mother, has a large candy bar hidden beneath the blanket she is covering herself with. She proclaims that she is a sugar addict, in the same manner that Rex is an alcoholic. She asks their forgiveness. They do not grant or deny her request, they merely split up the remaining chocolate amongst themselves.

Winter Came Hard

After Thanksgiving, it starts snowing. The Walls use can’t afford coal for heat so Brian and Jeanette try collecting coal dropped from the delivery trucks. The chore does not yield much, so they instead burn wood collected in the forest. The heat produced by the wood is insufficient, and on top of that the house has no insulation. The children fight over who will get to sleep with the dogs the family has adopted. Brian has an Iguana he bought at a pet store and he sleeps with it to keep it warm, but it freezes to death during the night. Pipes freeze and the family melts snow to get water. A highlight of the winter season is a trip to the laundry mat where the children revel in the warmth given off from the washers and dryers.

Lori sustains burns when some kerosene she is using to make a fire explodes. She is treated only by having snow put on her wounds, and endures blisters that run the length of her thighs.

Jeanette visits a more affluent class mate’s home and is in awe of the modern heating system with the plastic box on the wall that controls the furnace and the heat. She dreams of having the same on Little Hobart Street where she lives.

Erma Died During

Towards the end of the winter Rex’s mother Erma passes away. She had made elaborate preperations for her funeral, having already purchased the clothes she was to be buried in and the casket.

At the funeral, Rex wears a tie (the first time Jeanette has ever seen him in one) and Mary kisses the corpse. On the walk home, Lori begins singing “Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead”. Rex is angered and shouts that the kids make him feel ashamed before turning and walking in the direction of a bar. Lori shouts “You’re ashamed of us?”

Four days later he still has not returned, and Mary deems it Jeanette’s job to find him. The task consists of going to a begrudging neighbor’s house to use the phone, then going from bar to bar until she finds him. He drinks several more shots and then a fellow bar fly helps put him in the back of a truck where he sings “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” while Jeanette rides up front. The driver makes the mistake of calling Rex the town drunk, which angers Jeanette who is humiliated that she has no other means but to accept his hospitality.

The Walls’ grandfather and Uncle Stanley move after Uncle Stanley burns down the house after having fallen asleep while smoking. They move into an apartment with no windows, walls covered in graffiti. The children go there once a week for a bath. One week while waiting her turn, Uncle Stanley begins touching Jeanette (and himself) inappropriately. Mary’s reaction is to tell Jeanette that sexual assault only hurts you if you let it.

In the spring, the house on Little Hobart Street is spared from the floods that damage much of the area around Welch. However, the wood on the porch rots which is especially dangerous as the children fall from the porch at night on the way to the toilet, which is under the house. Mary remedies the situation by getting a bucket that the family uses as a toilet which is kept on the kitchen floor.

One Day While

Jeanette and Brian find a diamond ring in their yard. They give it to Mary, with hopes that she will sell it to buy food. Instead she keeps the ring for herself, stating that it will help her self esteem.This made some sense as her moods had been compelling her to spend much of her time in bed complaining that she could have been a famous artist if not for the burden of raising a family.

After a half baked attempt at cleaning the house one day, Jeanette confronts her mother about the family’s dour situation. She tells Mary that she should leave Rex so that the family can receive some of the benefits other neighbors on Little Hobart Street receive from the government. Mary is appalled at the idea of leaving her husband, and of being a charity case, stating that getting welfare causes psychological damage.

Jeanette then suggests that Mary get a teaching job. She says that it sounds like a horrible life, and reiterates that she is an “excitement addict”.

Mom Never Told

It is summer and the heat is intense. Most children in Welch find refuge in the swimming pool, but when Brian and Jeanette go to the pool, Ernie Goad and his friends make so much noise about the two being a “health epidemic” since they live in garbage, that the two decide to leave.

Jeanette runs into Dinita Hewitt who invites her to come swimming with the black people, who all swim in the morning before the pool starts charging admission. Jeanette notes that the black women in the dressing room are much freer than white women. Joking, singing along with the radio, doing the bump and commenting on each other’s bodies. After a comment about her sprouting pubic hair is made, Jeanette reels off a snappy comeback and then feels more at home. She has a delightful time swimming with Dinita .

That Afternoon I Was

When Jeanette is alone in the house, a man from the department of Child Welfare visits and tells her that there are reports that children in the home are being neglected. Jeanette takes his card and he leaves. Jeanette is greatly angered by the visit and is afraid that she might be separated from her brothers and sisters. When Mary comes home, Jeanette explains the situation to her.Mary does not react in her typical non-worried fashion, but instead thinks the problem over while painting a picture of a drowning woman. When the picture is finished, she announces that she will get a job teaching.

Qualified Teachers

Mary gets a job teaching in a neighboring community and rides to school everyday with an unpleasant and obese woman who was more or less ordered into providing transportation. She chain smokes, sprays the seat with Lysol whenever Mary exits, and mistakes a comment about Jackson Pollack for an ethnic slur against Polish people.

With the checks coming in, the Walls are able to keep up with their bills. Lori and Jeanette ask Mary to give them the money as they had worked out a budget for the family that should, according to their calculations allow the family to save money so that they can get indoor plumbing and buy coal. She does not adhere to the advice of her children, which leaves the family only slightly better off than they were before she got the job.

I’d Started Seventh

In Seventh Grade Jeanette attends Welch High School. She has study hall with Dinita Hewitt, who is going down hill. She drinks at school by putting mad dog 20/20 in a soda can and carrying it into class and complains about her mother’s new boyfriend. She passes Jeanette a note saying that she is pregnant, and soon stops attending school.Jeanette goes to her house and is turned away at the door by a strange man. Jeanette learns later that Dinita has been arrested for killing her mother’s boyfriend.

Although not as consumed with preadolescent drama as many of her peers, Jeanette is self conscious about her large teeth. Knowing that the family can’t afford braces she develops a head gear from a coat hanger, rubber bands, and a feminine napkin which she wears to bed every night. One night Rex comes into the bedroom and is thrilled by the device, proclaiming that Jeanette has inherited his inventive nature, he also believes that the device is working.

That Year I Started

Jeannette begins working at the school newspaper, the Maroon Wave. She is under the instruction of a teacher named Jeanette Bivens who had been Rex’s teacher when he was in school. She had encouraged him to submit a poem that won a contest and was one of the only adults in Rex’s life that had encouraged him. So, he named his second daughter after her, with an extra “n” added by Mary to “make it more elegant and French”.

Jeannette works as a proofreader and spends lots of time at the local newspaper office performing her duties.She enjoys seeing the reporters at work and also the office is much warmer than her house. There is a female typesetter that complains about her being dirty, smelly, and possibly having head lice. She will spray disinfectant in her general direction and even complains to the management-which prompts Jeannette to begin bathing at her Uncle and Grandfather’s house (she steers clear of her Uncle, who in the past proved himself a potential sexual predator).

When finished with her work, Jeannette will read stories from the wire service. She decides that she wants to be one of the people that genuinely knows what is going on in the world.

At Times I Felt Like

Maureen, the youngest of the Walls children is also the most attractive and seemingly the most content. She spends the majority of her time with other families, and has a keen interest in California, saying that she will live there when she is older.

Mary has mood swings in which she is happy for days and conversely getting so depressed that she will not leave her bed. In one of her down periods she fails to complete some student evaluations and the next day refuses to go to work.

Lori feels some compassion for her mother but Jeannette feels she needs to be stronger and handle Rex with more discipline.

That summer, Jeannette becomes the woman of the house when Lori goes to a camp for gifted students and Mary goes to Charleston to renew her teaching certificate. She leaves Jeannette with 200 dollars. She finds that she is unable to deny her father his requests for money and gives him five dollars on two occasions but questions him when he asks for twenty. When she tells him that she has responsibilities (i.e. taking care of Brian and Maureen) he says that this is his job and that she shouldn’t worry about it.

The following Saturday he tells Jeannette that he needs her help getting the money back and takes her to a roadside bar where she is promptly approached by an older man, whom she dances with. Instead of being angered, Rex asks him to play pool. The men play a series of games, in between the games the man will dance with Jeannette. Rex says to his daughter; “Keep your legs crossed honey, and keep ‘em crossed tight.”

After Rex has won eighty dollars, the man tells Jennette that he lives above the bar in an apartment and has a record that isn’t on the juke box that he wants to listen to. He invites Jeannette upstairs, and Rex allows her to go. Upstairs, in front of his two roommates, the man, whose name is Robbie, pushes Jeannette on the bed and begins kissing her. She thinks about yelling for help, but is so angry at her father that she doesn’t want his help. She struggles with Robbie who says that she is “too bony to screw”. She takes this opportunity to show him the scar she has from being burned as a child, and as Robbie looks to his friends, she bolts out the door.

In the car, Rex gives her 40 dollars and says they make a good team. When Jeannette tells him that she was attacked, Rex shrugs it off as insignificant.

The Next Evening

Rex gets upset with Jeanette when she doesn’t want to repeat their routine at another bar. He then talks her out of more money for pool shooting. They are expecting a check from Mary’s land in Texas, when it comes Rex and Jeanette hide it together. When Jeanette goes to re-hide it, it is too late, the check is gone. Rex claims not to know what happened to it.

Jeanette gets a job at a jewelers to help make ends meet. She is only 13 but tells her boss that she is 17. Mr. Becker, the shop’s owner, acts inappropriately towards Jeanette by rubbing up against her when she is cleaning display cases. She ignores it, but takes offense at the fact that he takes the key to the most expensive display case with him when he goes to lunch, and on one occasion when he forgets to take the key, counts all of the rings from the case in front of her, making it obvious that he doesn’t trust her. She also takes offense when she learns that other employees are getting commissions on their sales, whereas Jeanette gets only a weekly salary of 40 dollars.

With all resentments in mind, Jeanette steals a watch. She gets away with it, but realizes that in order to keep it she will need to tell lies, which she is no good at. She imagines that she will get caught, go to reform school, and worse yet, give Mr. Becker the satisfaction of knowing that he was right not to trust her.

She experiences more anxiety about the possibility of being caught putting the watch back than she did stealing it.

In Late August

Lori returns from camp glowing from having eaten and bathed regularly all summer at camp. She reports that at camp she was considered a normal person and even had a boyfriend. She looks forward to someday getting out of Welch and being on her own.

Mary returns from her summer in Bluefield with a similar feeling of empowerment, but the end result of her soul searching is that she quits her job teaching. This infuriates Jeanette who speaks to her disrespectfully, telling her that if she expects the respect due to a mother, that she should act like one.

When Rex finds out about the altercation, he is furious with Jeanette and demands she apologize. She is similarly disrespectful to him. The two have a stand off. Rex threatens to spank her and expects her to apologize, Jeanette expects him to walk away or “lose [her] forever. He ends up whipping her with his belt. She runs off into the woods and decides that she will never receive another whipping in her life, and that she, like Lori, will someday leave Welch. She buys a piggy bank and puts in it the seventy five dollars she saved over the summer, proclaiming it her “escape fund”.

That Fall, Two Guys

Inspired by two filmmakers from New York who come to Welch as part of a government enrichment program, Lori and Jeanette decide that New York City is where they want to move. They make a plan in which Lori will move in June, when she graduates.Jeanette will follow as soon as she can.

They begin to earn and save money. Lori makes customized posters for people that might include anything from a lover’s name in day-glo letters to a rock band’s logo. Jeanette babysits, tutors and does the homework of those willing to pay. Brian also pitches in although he at this point is not included in the plan. His work involves mowing lawns and cutting weeds. They name the piggy bank “Oz”.

Meanwhile, Rex wins a Cadillac in a poker game and names it Elvis. The family takes trips to craft fairs where Mary tries to sell her paintings and also does charcoal drawings on commission. The mobility Jeanette experiences on these trips further inspires her to move.

As Spring Approached

Lori doesn’t know exactly what she will do when she moves to New York, and all plans that unfold are foiled. First, she tries to get a National Merit Scholarship so that she can attend College in New York. She has to hitch-hike to Bluefield to take the test and is an hour late due to the truck driver who picks her up propositioning her. Her tardiness causes her to perform poorly.

Next, she puts together a portfolio of her art work so that she can apply to an Art School, but spills coffee on the portfolio and ruins it. She then tries to win a scholarship from a literary society by creating a bust of Shakespeare, which Rex intentionally ruins. He also steals all of the money from Oz, the piggy bank holding the collected funds of the Walls children, which puts an end to the idea that Lori will move to New York and live off of the saved money until she figures out what to do.

Luckily, Jeanette is offered a unique baby sitting opportunity. A family that she works for is moving to Iowa and they want her to go with them and spend the summer looking after their children. They offer her 200 dollars and a bus ticket back to Welch. Jeanette suggests that the family take Lori instead, and make the bus ticket for New York City as opposed to Welch. The family agrees, and Lori leaves at the beginning of the summer.

That Fall, when I

In Tenth Grade, Jeanette is made editor of the school newspaper, The Maroon Wave. She loves working for the paper as it gives her the opportunity to go to extracurricular events without feeling awkward. She manages to double the circulation of the paper by publishing the birthdays of students, most of whom have never seen their names in print.

When aviator Chuck Yeager visits their school, Rex educates Jeanette in aviation history and the life of Mr. Yeager. He helps her create a list of questions and even rehearses the interview with her.

During the interview, Chuck Yeager is impressed by Jeanette’s knowledge. Her classmates are in awe of the fact that she gets to speak with him, and she enjoys a rare moment of popularity.

Lori Had Been Writing

Lori writes regularly and has found a job as a waitress. She loves New York City and knows Jeanette will too.

Jeanette is now a Junior in High School and visits the guidance counselor who cannot fathom leaving West Virginia for any reason and discourages Jeanette from doing so. This has the opposite of its desired effect, as it inspires Jeanette to go to New York for her senior year of high school so that she can get in state tuition when it is time for college. She makes a plan to do so, and Lori agrees that it is a good idea.

Rex and Mary are not pleased. Mary is jealous that the kids get to go to New York City and that she doesn’t. Rex shows Jeanette updated plans for the glass castle and hopes it will entice her not to leave. She tells him in no uncertain terms that she will be leaving for New York City as soon as the school year is over.

It Had Been A

The school year comes to an end and Jeanette experiences feelings ranging from excited to “just plain scared” in regards to her move.

Brian is happy for her, and encourages her with a countdown of the hours before she leaves. Mary, obviously still feeling envious lets Jeanette know that she will not be seeing her off.

Brian awakes Jeanette in the morning, and she finds Rex outside waiting for her. He carries her suitcase to the bus station and gives her a knife for protection. She waves goodbye despite her determination not to look back. She touches the knife in her pocket as she watches her father disappear in t he distance.

Part 4

New York City

Things happen quickly for Jeanette in New York, she begins by working in a hamburger joint, then finds a school that allows her to do an internship instead of attending classes. She interns at a weekly paper called “The Phoenix” and soon the internship turns into a job. After some time with this occupation, the editor/owner of the paper encourageˇs Jeanette to go to college. Through numerous grants and loans (plus a year of answering phones on Wall Street), Jeanette is able to attend Barnard college where she becomes the news editor of the Barnard Bulletin but is hired away by an un-named magazine. She lives free in the apartment of a psychologist in exchange for looking after her children.

Reports from Welch go from bad to worse. Rex drinks more and more, the roof in the bedroom collapses, mudslides wash away the outside steps. Like Jeanette, Brian comes to New York City after his junior year of High School. Soon, twelve year old Maureen joins them, enrolling in school using Brian’s address.

It seems that growing up in adverse conditions were a good preparation for NYC. Jeanette never yields to muggers and fights her way through them, sometimes victorious, sometimes not.

One Morning Three

Jeanette is listening to the radio one day and hears about a van breaking down on the New Jersey turnpike and causing a traffic jam. Furniture and clothing spilled from the van, and a dog escaped from it which is running up and down the turnpike pursued by the police. Thousands of people are late for work.

That same night, Jeanette gets a phone call from her parents and is informed that they have moved to New York. She confirms that the incident on the radio was in fact them.

After a little time in a boarding house, then a flophouse, Rex and Mary move in with Lori and Maureen.When Rex’s drinking and arguing become more than Lori can bear, Brian allows Rex to stay with him. After Rex breaks into a liquor cabinet that was locked intentionally to keep him out and drinks every drop of alcohol, Brian gives him the ultimatum to give up drinking or leave. Rex begins sleeping in the van they drove from West Virginia.

Meanwhile, Mary has cluttered Lori’s apartment with her paintings and does not adhere to deadlines given by Lori to straighten the place up. After talking it over with Jeanette, Lori asks her mother to leave.

She stays in the van with Rex until it is towed away for being in a no parking zone. At this point Rex and Mary are officially homeless.

Mom and Dad called

Rex and Mary are adjusting well to homelessness in New York City. They find a plethora of free things to do (movie screenings, museums, recitals) and sleep on park benches or in the bushes of parks. Most of their time is spent in libraries where they read the works of Balzak as well as Scientific Journals.

Jeanette is feeling conflicted about her parents. When friends tell her not to give change to homeless people, because it encourages them, she is offended, but when professors wax hypothetically about the plight of street people she does not agree, yet can’t quite find the words to express how she does feel.

That January It Got=

The winter was not as easy for Rex and Mary.Rex considered the shelters to be “human cesspools” and so, when possible, they would stay in Churches that opened their doors to the homeless. At times, the churches filled up and Rex would have to resort to staying in a shelter while Mary (along with their dog) would go to Lori’s house. At these times, she would confess to Lori that life on the street was difficult.

Jeanette feels guilty about going to a private school while her parents are homeless and considers dropping out to help. Fortunately Lori and Brian convince her that this is a bad idea by pointing out that; Mary has a large collection of jewelry she could sell, she has land in Texas and Arizona, they could both go back to West Virginia, and that Rex is very proud of Jeanette and her academic accomplishments.

Mom and Dad Survived

Although Rex and Mary manage to make it through the winter, when spring comes Rex is hospitalized with tuberculosis. Jeanette visits him in the hospital and finds him sober and enthusiastic about the books he’s reading on Chaos Theory. He states that his bought with TB has started him thinking about mortality, and that his studies are indicating the existence of a “divine creator”. His hands shake either from TB or detoxification as he shows Jeanette his calculations.Jeanette asks him to promise her he will not try to leave the hospital before he is fully recovered. He laughs, which turns into a “fit of coughing”.

Dad Stayed in the

Rex sobers up completely in the hospital, and fears that he will start drinking again if released back onto the streets.An administrator from the hospital takes an interest in Rex and arranges for him to go to an upstate resort where he is given a job as a maintenance man. He works and seems happy through the summer and fall, but in November, Mary convinces him to come back to New York. He begins drinking again right away.

The Walls all get together for Christmas.Mary and Rex have an assortment of odd gifts that they’ve found here and there (porcelain dolls with no hair for Maureen, stained sweater for Jeanette etc.) Jeanette buys her father some new winter clothes, but when he opens the first package he gets offended and leaves.Mary says that it is because he is a father he feels that he should be taking care of his daughter, not the other way around. It puts a damper on the evening to an extent, but Mary is still excited about getting her gifts.

By The Following

Rex enthusiastically follows Jeanette’s academic career. He reads all of her text books so that he will be able to clarify things for her if the need arises. Mary says that he is trying to get a college education along with her.

Unfortunately, when fall term nears Jeanette is short one thousand dollars for tuition and is thinking she will have to drop out. Rex reacts by saying “Why didn’t you tell me sooner.” A week later, he presents Jeanette with nine hundred and fifty dollars in worn and crumpled bills that he has won playing poker. He also gives her a mink coat that he says will easily bring the remaining fifty dollars. Jeanette is hesitant to take the money, but in the end takes the money and pays her tuition with the weathered bills.

A Month Later

Rex and Mary move into an abandoned building (a squat). They seem to have found a niche for themselves. The other squatters lead similarly chaotic lives and share their disdain for authority.Rex is a hero among the squatters for managing to hi-jack electricity to the building. The apartment they inhabit reminds Jeanette of the house in Welch. Mary’s art supplies, various clutter, and smells ranging from stale beer to food going bad.

In the meantime, Jeanette is graduating from college and needs to find new living arrangements. She has been seeing a man named Eric, who comes from a wealthy family and is also quite prosperous in and of himself. He invites her to live with him on Park Avenue. So, with a pro-rated rent agreement, Jeanette moves in to an apartment building that boasts a uniformed door-man, and an apartment with a fireplace and cross-beamed ceilings.

I Invited Mom

When Mary visits Jeanette’s posh new apartment, Jeanette offers to help her parents in some way now that she is doing well financially. Mary declines the help and states that she is concerned for Jeanette, accusing her of selling out, worrying that she might become a republican.

Jeanette at this point has been given a weekly column writing about what can be best described as the jet set. She goes to all sorts of high profile events and meets lots of powerful people. Mary thinks that she should be writing about social injustice, but Rex thinks her new job is great, and does research on the people that she interviews and calls her with “tips” about them.

Jeanette feels her new position would be in jeopardy if some of the people she worked for and with knew about her background.When asked about these things, she bends the truth or out and out lies. In one instance repeating her childhood mantra about her father developing a means of burning coal more efficiently and stating that her family still lives in West Virginia in a restored old house which affords a lovely view of a river.

My Life With Eric

Jeanette marries Eric after living with him for four years. Not long after the marriage Mary’s brother passes away, leaving a parcel of land for sale that borders the land that Mary owns in Texas. She wants to borrow the money from Eric, Jeannette’s new husband. After some cajoling, Jeannette finds out that the land her mother owned and did nothing with during all of their years of poverty is worth approximately one million dollars. On top of this, Mary wishes to borrow this same amount from Eric to purchase the other half of the land, and has no plan or use for it. Somehow, keeping land in the family has become a sacred unbreakable rule for Mary. When Jeannette does not comply with her mother’s wish of asking her new husband for a million dollars, Mary is “deeply disappointed” in her daughter.

Lori Was Working

NYC worked for every member of the Walls family except for Maureen, the youngest of the children. Once out of high school Maureen starts attending a city college, but ends up dropping out and living in the squat with her parents. She is a very attractive young woman whose life consists of jobs and boyfriends that offer no security, and usually don’t last long to begin with. She eventually becomes very introverted, spending all of her time, sleeping, reading, painting nude self portraits and chain smoking. Jeannette tries to intervene by inviting her up to her apartment to discuss the future. Maureen arrives and has dyed her hair and eyebrows platinum blonde. As for a future, she is only interested in stopping Mormon Cults in Utah that she alleges have kidnapped thousands of people. When Jeannette questions the validity of the cults, Maureen accuses her of being part of the conspiracy.

Jeannette and Brian talk and suggest to their parents that Maureen seek professional help. Mary insists that all she needs is fresh air and sunshine. Six months later, however, when Mary asks Maureen to move out of the squat, Maureen stabs her. She is arrested, jailed and eventually sent to an upstate hospital where she remains for a year.

At the trial, the Walls and shout at each other in the hallway for the court house, blaming one another for the demise of Maureen.

Upon release she immediately buys a ticket and goes to California. Brian convinces Jeannette that this is the best thing.

Maureen does not want the family to see her off, but Jeannette wakes herself up so that she can at least think of her sister as she departs.

After That, I Hardly

Communication between the Walls children and their parents becomes scant.At this point Brian is a police officer, married and fixing up an old home on Long Island.Lori has more contact with her parents than Brian or Jeannette.

Roughly a year after Maureen’s departure, Jeannette gets a call from her father requesting a bottle of vodka and a meeting. Despite some reservations she complies. On her visit, Rex tells her that he is dying from a rare disease he contracted from fighting with Nigerian drug dealers. Although the story is questionable, the fact that Rex is dying is not. Jeannette indulges herself with some of the vodka and spends the rest of the evening reminiscing with her parents.

Two Weeks Later

Rex has a heart attack and spends his final hours hooked to a life support machine. Jeannette holds his hand and recalls how he once expressed the wish to have his body placed upon a mountain for the elements to devour when he died. She has the urge to take his body and “check out Rex Walls style” as demonstrated when she was in the hospital as a girl. The life support machine is turned off an hour later.

Grief strikes Jeannette in the form of always wanting to be on the move. She takes up ice skating, rising early in the morning and going to the skating rink before work. She begins to think about her life and “reconsider everything”.

Within a year, she has left Eric. She respects him but doesn’t feel he is the right man for her, and is tired of Park Avenue.

After moving to her own apartment, her need to be on the move all the time fades and she eventually stops skating altogether. But she does take long walks, sometimes gazing at Venus and thinking of her father.

Part 5 Thanksgiving

I Was Standing On

Roughly five years after Rex’s death, Jeannette has remarried to a man named John and the two live in a nice country home. John decides to have the Walls over for Thanksgiving. Brian has divorced but has an eight year old daughter that he brings with him. He is a detective on the police force and is in charge of a special unit that investigates organized crime. Mary and Lori also come. Maureen is still in California, but has been in contact with Mary and is possibly planning a visit.

Mary has her usual assortment of junk gifts for everyone, and is pleased to report that the city is going to sell the tenements she has been squatting in to the residents for one dollar a piece.

At dinner they begin talking about Rex and some of the adventures they’d had (petting the cheetah, demon hunting, giving stars for Christmas). They propose a toast to him, which comes from Mary as follows; “Life with your father was never boring.”

External Links

“infobox Book “
name Confessions of an Economic Hitman
image caption Cover of Confessions of an Economic Hitman
author John Perkins
country America
language English language
genre(s) Non-fiction
publisher Plume
release date 2004
media type Paperback
pages 303

The first novel by John Perkins is an expose into the underworld of a little known section of government activities which detrimentally affect native populations and the efficacy of democracies worldwide.

Perkins tells about his own experience working for a private international consulting firm which advised the World Bank in efforts to fund huge loans for poor developing countries all around the globe. He explains how he was indoctrinated into the system of cheating poor countries out of trillions of dollars, plunging the countries into insurmountable debt which must then be repaid through the extraction of natural resources, military assistance and political support.

He reveals commonly used tactics to pressure small underdeveloped countries into accepting terms which adversely affect the ability of their people to survive and thrive. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an intriguing and deeply personal story of one’s man understanding of the meaning of globalization and empire in America today. Perkins reveals shocking details of how the United States Government and corporate America work hand in hand in maintaining a dominating role in international affairs by using greed and corruption to inhibit foreign governments from economic development.

Chapter Summaries

Chapter One- An Economic Hit Man Is Born

Perkins begins his novel with a few pages describing his family and childhood in rural New Hampshire. He makes a point to mention that his family was middle class but they had very little spending money for extravagant purchases. His parents taught at a prestigious all boy high school, which he attended at no cost. He vividly recalls feeling like he didn’t fit in with his wealthy classmates, which helped to construct a psychological framework that, later in life, led to his seduction into the underworld of dirty global politics. While growing up, he remembers constantly being reminded by his parents of social class placement and structure. They stressed attending a “good” university and staying away from questionable lower class, and largely poor, people.

Once at university, Middlebury in rural Vermont, Perkins went through something of a rebellious phase. He rejected his parents incessant harping on class and achieving success in life. He defiantly dropped out of school, giving up a full academic scholarship, in order to attend Boston University. While living in Boston he became friends with his later wife, Ann. As a couple barely out of school in the late sixties, John was fearful that he would be drafted and sent to Vietnam. Ann set up an interview with an official from the National Security Agency for him because those working for the NSA were exempt from the draft. Through a series of events and interviews John was in line to receive a position as an economist within the Agency, however, life was about to take a radical turn for the newly married couple. On a whim John attended a seminar at Boston University focused on the topic of volunteering for the Peace Corps. John had always dreamed of living with native peoples and coming to understand their cultural practices so, after receiving some positive advice, he and Ann packed up and moved to Ecuador to live with a native tribe. While living in Ecuador, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, a man from a private consulting firm came to visit John and Ann, which marked the beginning of John’s association with the world of political domination through economic control.

The consulting firm worked for the World Bank primarily. They submitted their analyses and opinions of whether foreign governments should be granted huge loans by the World Bank to fund development projects. The firm kept a very low profile. In fact, they were registered officially as an engineering firm but at that time they were beginning to take on economists to provide the World Bank with statistical information gathered on each project the bank was considering funding. The agent from MAIN International Consulting Firm praised John and Ann’s efforts in the Central American jungle nation of Ecuador. He also requested that John analyze the local political, social, and economic environment and report back to the NSA with his observations. Perkins did so loyally. Upon the completion of their time with the Peace Corps John was offered a job as an economist at MAIN International. Soon after being hired Perkins came to realize that, although he was hired as an economist, his real job was much closer to that of a secret, or double, agent.

Chapter Two- In For Life

After accepting the position and beginning his daily work at MAIN International Perkins began to wonder what it was the MAIN International was in the business of doing. He observed the way the company worked and was structured but he was unsure as to what the goal of the corporation was as a whole. He remarks that there is an obvious gender bias with many women working at the level of secretary but almost none in the executive ranks. The public library was where Perkins spends most of his days researching his first assignment, the Indonesian island of Java, as well as a possible future assignment, Kuwait. He studied the history of the countries from economic and political perspectives. One day while studying up on the format of common economic forecasts an attractive woman, Claudine, approaches Perkins. She explains to him that she holds a very prestigious position within the corporation and she was to be his tutor, of sorts, in actual position. She goes on to inform Perkins that he was handpicked to be an Economic Hit Man. What that meant, essentially, was that Perkins was to make economic predictions for the prospect of a country that may be granted a huge loan from the World Bank. The linchpin being that Perkins was to always produce statistics that favored the loan being granted and showed increased economic prosperity for the country as a direct result of whatever the loan was to fund. Basically, on the long term if Perkins could be depended on to produce the desired reports and statistics the loan would be funded by the World Bank. The money from the loans went directly to international firms, like MAIN International, Bechtel, and Halliburton, amongst others. The contractors were paid off and the country to which the loan was granted would be left with a huge debt burden for many decades to come. The debt that was owed would be used by the United States government to spread the American global agenda. Because of the huge debt the leaders of such countries would submit to supporting US military ventures, and providing political support. Claudine goes onto explain the history of using economic power as a means of control and submission by the American government.

There is a brief foray into the 1951 ouster of the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh. This event marks the first occasion the American government abandoned the typical pressure tactic of applying military might to affect the outcome of a foreign dilemma, and instead opted for the more subtle techniques of bribery and threats. Then she informs Perkins that he has a limited amount of time to decide whether or not he will accept the position for which he was hired. She promises a very rewarding future for him in his family but makes explicitly clear that once he accepts the job he is “in for life”. Perkins is, at first, hesitant that his actions will not produce a positive result for all affected by his work. He concludes that he can do more good by working from the inside and that he was certainly the exception to the rule in his profession. He was not going to be seduced by money, power, and sex, although he had already been seduced quite completely by Claudine in the Boston Public Library.

Chapter Three – Indonesia Lessons For An EHM

This chapter is basically an extremely brief overview of the history of political dominance in the island nation of Indonesia. Perkins describes the long history of imperial domination by the Dutch who leaders saw Indonesia as the crown jewel in their empire because of its spices and rich fabrics. Early in the 20th century the Dutch finally gave up control over the islands of Indonesia, which began a brief period of independence. A coup in 1965 resulted in Communist forces aligned with the Chinese taking control. American fear of growing Communist powers throughout the world prompted the US government to take action in Indonesia. They came up with a program for providing electric power to Indonesia which would ultimately lead to an ongoing American presence in the region. John’s first assignment was to take assessment of the proposed electrification plan. Before setting off, Perkins met Claudine for a private dinner in her apartment. Once there she warned him to never speak of their meetings or that fact that they had ever even met because she would deny it all. He also noted that, in fact, his relationship with Claudine was completely separate from MAIN International and untraceable as all their meetings had occurred in her apartment. Looking back in reflection Perkins sees that his relationship with Claudine was was one the major factors of his break up with his wife Ann.

Chapter Four – Saving A Country From Communism

The ideas and tales surrounding the ancient island nation of Indonesia enchanted John Perkins. He could not wait to experience first hand the exotic spices and women in elaborate colorful costumes. When he did arrive, however, he was confronted with a very different reality. The stuff of the stories was present but it was coupled with astounding poverty and filth. He mentions black rivers and cardboard housing for a large segment of the Indonesian population of Jakarta. The group of engineers and economists from MAIN International were all escorted to a posh dinner in the penthouse of the nicest hotel in Jakarta, where they were to live for three months while carrying out their mission. Charlie Illingworth, the project manager, is described as a war connoisseur. He collected memorabilia and read book after book documenting accounts from all kinds of wars throughout history. He explains that the mission is to provide electricity to Java, the most populous place in the world. Of course there was also a mission behind the mission which was to keep Communism out of the island nation and provide all the electricity related infrastructure required for oil extraction, production, and exportation.

American corporations would be funded to provide the design and labor for the entire project, which would bring many westerners to the nation and it would also help to build a relationship between the Indonesian government and the American businessmen. America would then doubly benefit by obtaining oil from newly efficient Indonesian producers. Perkins, although on board with the mission, had trouble sleeping because he understood that his colleagues and his goals were selfish and greedy. He could see that electricity and the promotion of capitalism would not benefit the majority of Indonesian. It would make a few men at the top of the population pyramid rich and force everyone else deeper into debt, despair, and poverty.

Chapter Five – Selling My Soul

The group of eleven men spent about one week in the capital city of Jakarta before Charlie made the decision to move the group to a smaller city in order to escape the constant distractions of the metropolis of Jakarta. The men visited the embassy and got all the necessary paperwork for their stay in Indonesia in order. Then they were moved to Bandung, into a Dutch colonial style villa. They were given a full staff of various servants in the villa and they each had an off road vehicle with a private driver and translator at their disposal. Charlie explained that the first few weeks were for gathering data, then the economic projection for growth would be made, which would allow the engineers to design and build the necessary components of an electrical system that would supply the power to the region. Charlie stressed over and over again the importance of favorable economic forecasts, which made John understand his critical nature to the project as a whole.

One of the men on the team was an older gentleman that was the chief load forecaster for the New England Electric System. Howard Parker is described as a bitter old man who never was able to reach his own career goals. He and John had a conversation about the plausibility of such a rosy economic forecast. The conversation upsets Perkins because Howard accuses him of being in it for the money and cooking the numbers for the benefit of a few. After much internal deliberation, Perkins comes to the conclusion that even if he held the company line and made predictions that were designed to please his employers rather than accurately predict the economic growth of the region, it would be no problem because Howard would make accurate predictions and the company would prefer his because of his seniority and rank. John Perkins slept well thinking he had solved his own dilemma. The next morning however, Howard Parker is struck ill with a severe amoebic attack and is forced to return to the United States.

Chapter Six – My Role as Inquisitor

Perkins meets the son of the caretaker of the estate that the group from MAIN are staying in in Bandung. His name is Rasmon and he is a student of economics at the local university. John assumes Rasy, as his friends call him, is going to ask him for a job eventually. Rasy teaches John Bahasa Indonesia, which is a local Indonesian dialect that is simple and easy for foreigners to pick up quickly. The men spend a lot of time together going on different trips to gather data. Rasy decides one day to show Perkins the true Indonesia, the real city around them. John remembers the night that he spent carousing with Rasy and his friends to be one of the most enjoyable evenings during his stay in Indonesia. After a few weeks in Indonesia, Perkins takes note that all of his meetings are planned ahead of time and the statistics and information he seeks is presented to him in an oddly impersonal manner. He comments that all the officials he set up meetings with would simply hand him a folder with data in it and that they would always refer to him as an American interrogator in the local dialect. A feeling that the data he collected was contrived by some higher government official, or perhaps someone holding a high position within an international corporation, was one he could not shake.

Chapter Seven – Civilization on Trial

Rasy invites Perkins to be his guest at a traditional Indonesian puppet show, called a dalang. Perkins notes the beauty of the night at the outdoor setting of the show. He speaks of the food which is passed around for everyone to enjoy. When the show starts, it is described as a feat of true talent. Only one person operates all the puppets and does all of their voices. There is a classic section of the performance which features Indonesian folk tales and historic traditions and legends. Then the show took an unexpected turn. The characters of Richard Nixon, Uncle Sam, and other world leaders took the stage. A map of the Middle East and Far East dropped down as a back drop. The American president proceeded to take various countries off the map and toss them into the garbage while shouting anti-Muslim epithets. Perkins grew uncomfortable, but Rasy assured him that his presence at the show was acceptable and he was perfectly safe. That type of political show for the public was commonplace and the ideas presented in the performance were well known and accepted. After the show Perkins enjoyed talking and carousing once again with Rasy and his friends. He was surprised at the general level of knowledge of world affairs and international issues by common people in Indonesia.

Perkins is urged to read certain philosophic offerings by well known American writers in order to increase his knowledge of the mindset of those in charge of American politics and foreign affairs. Rasy and his friends put forward the notion that the next big conflict in the world will be between Muslims and Christians because the West and the Christians have imperial goals and the only group big and strong enough to take them on is the Muslims. A few days after the memorable and thought provoking evening the local Indonesian politician featured in the dalang, who stood up for the Indonesian culture and all oppressed peoples throughout the world in the puppet show, was struck and killed by a hit and run driver.

Chapter Eight – Jesus, Seen Differently

The night spent at the dalang affected Perkins in the days to come. He thought about the performance and the response of the crowd. He considered the role of the United States government in foreign countries and the role of American corporations in all levels of government, foreign and domestic. He wondered whether any aide given to foreign countries was done with the goal of altruism and generosity. All around him he saw corruption, greed, and despair. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that the men he worked for truly believed they were exporting freedom and economic growth to struggling people around the world. Interestingly enough he comments that those countries that enjoy international power and those whose citizens live in general ease are the same countries with the highest rates of suicide, violet crime, drug abuse, divorce, and crime. The wealthiest societies are also the least happy societies throughout history and all over the world. Perkins ponders whether the framers of the Constitution would have supported what has become of their governmental experiment. On his last night in Indonesia Perkins had a vivid dream of Jesus. Christ stood in front of him in his dream as a man with curly black hair and a dark complexion. This Jesus heaved a car axle up onto his shoulder and has a tire rim as a metallic halo. He said to Perkins, ” If I were to come now, you would see me differently….because the world has changed.”

Chapter Nine – The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Upon returning to Boston, John Perkins was summoned to the President of MAIN International. Perkins was intimidated by this figure, Bruno Zambotti. He was worried about the end result of their meeting. Bruno immediately told Perkins that Howard Parker had been fired due to his lack of ability to accurately assess economic growth in any region, specifically Indonesia. Parker had predicted a growth of only about seven or eight percent a year, which displeased many people at MAIN headquarters. His low forecast made it less likely that analysts from the World Bank would give their stamp of approval, which would detrimentally affect the possibility of a loan being granted to the Indonesian government. Thus, Parker was fired and Perkins was promoted to Chief Economist.

After leaving the MAIN office building Perkins was eager to share the news of his promotion with Claudine. He called, only to receive no response. He went to her apartment and a young couple answered the door. They told him that they did not know any person by the name of Claudine, and no forwarding address by the previous tenant was left. Perkins was stunned. It was at that moment he realized how deeply he had embedded himself in a dangerous game. All of the fantastic spy stories Claudine told him about before he left for Indonesia were absolutely true. He left the apartment building in disbelief and a bit fearful for his own future.

Perkins still had to present his findings to the analysts from the World Bank. He had to win their approval or his promotion and his job would be in jeopardy. After many hours of being questioned and grilled relentlessly the analysts approved Perkins findings stating a seventeen to twenty percent growth rate of the Indonesian economy as a direct result of the electrical infrastructure loan. After receiving approval John Perkins was sent on a whirlwind tour of major international cities to speak on behalf of the project and his companies role in it. Many powerful people from foreign government praised John and his work. He felt powerful but his doubts about the goodness and benevolent nature of his work stayed with him constantly. He thought extensively on questions of a highly philosophic nature about power, the nature of war, and who benefits from war. One afternoon Bruno summoned Perkins to his office for another meeting. Once again nervous Perkins entered the room not knowing what to expect. Bruno looked John squarely in the eye and offered him “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Chapter Ten – Panama’s President and Hero

While driving through a deluge of rain in Panama’s capital Perkins sees a billboard featuring Panama’s president Omar Torrijos. He tells a brief, but fascinating history of Panama as a nation, and the rise to power of Torrijos. The famed canal was actually began by the French in the late nineteenth century. The project was riddled with obstacles and suffered tragedy after tragedy. Eventually it was abandoned until Theodore Roosevelt took interest in completing it with American support and financial backing. At the time Panama was a part of Colombia. When the government in Bogota refused to sign over the canal zone to the U.S. Roosevelt sent a warship down to threaten the local population. Under much duress the Columbian government released the land and Roosevelt declared Panama “liberated” from Colombian rule.

A puppet government was established and the canal zone was granted to the U.S. to do whatever it wished with. Panama was ruled by an elite group of families for eight generations before the populist leader Torrijos rose through the military ranks of the Panamanian national guard and got elected as President. He appealed to the poor and lower middle classes who had not been represented in government at all. Perkins makes it a point to recognize that Torrijos was neither aligned with Communist forces or the Western Anti- Communist forces. He was his own leader, bringing independence and freedom to his people. Perkins writes about the Monroe Doctrine and its ridiculous premise that the United States has special rights granted by God over all the hemisphere. Under the doctrine, the U.S. could invade any nation that refused to back U.S. policies. He also mentions the School of the Americas, which is located in the canal zone of Panama. This establishment was designed and run by the U.S. government as a tropical warfare training school which specialized in interrogation and covert operational skills.

Chapter Eleven – Pirates in the Canal Zone

John Perkins is introduced to his personal guide for the trip, Fidel. Together, the two men drive through various parts of the canal zone and surrounding environs. Like Indonesia Perkins is exposed to the poorest areas of the city. He sees standing fetid water and children with distended stomachs begging for change in the streets. Then the two pass into the canal zone, which is full of lush green landscaped lawns, country club resorts, and opulent mansions. Fidel confides in John to express his sadness that many American who visit Panama, or those that live in the canal zone, refuse to learn about the local culture. The two men run into an American family picnicking on an old fort used to fight off English pirates many centuries ago. The father underscores Fidel’s point by extolling his gratitude for being American and living in the canal zone. He was happy he didn’t have to expose his family to what reality was for the people “over there”.

Chapter Twelve – Soldiers and Prostitutes

Fidel escorts Perkins to an area of Panama that borders the affluent Canal Zone. The area is run down, dilapidated, and Fidel warns John to never return at night without an escort. As the two men walk the street toward their destination,two boys playing in the street run right into them. After apologizing, they explain they were playing a shoot out game where the older brother was acting as the US General in charge of the canal zone, while the younger brother was a native Panamanian looking for revenge and shouting for the general to go home. Fidel and John arrive at a bar that features various women from neighboring Central American countries stripping for off duty soldiers from the Canal Zone.

Fidel explains that the waitresses are Panamanian and are not to be touched by the men in the bar, however, the stripping women are foreigners with virtually no protection from the whims of the soldiers. The room is lined with Panamanian men with sharp eyes for everything going on in the bar. John and Fidel converse about the plight of the stripping women and how they have found themselves seemingly happy in such a depraved environment. Fidel illuminates the discussion with the background information that many of the women had chosen to flee their country of origin because of ruthless and brutal dictators. He said many of them had suffered through years of violence and had lost much, if not all, of their families. Fidel notes that to them stripping for soldiers is not so bad and it gives them the opportunity to make some cash to start out new somewhere.

Chapter Thirteen – Conversations with the General

Unexpectedly, Perkins is summoned to General Omar Torrijos for a conversation. Perkins describes Torrijos as a typically dressed Panamanian but extremely well informed about world events and the role of the United States and the CIA in international affairs. The two men speak of the over throw of Mohamman Mossadegh in Iran in the early fifties that was orchestrated by the CIA. Torrijos makes it known to Perkins that he is aware of the game companies like MAIN and Bechtel are playing with poor countries around the world. He tells a fascinating, albeit brief, history of Guatemala and United Fruit. Torrijos and his chosen subject of talk makes John feel nervous as to what the nature of his visit is, so he asks directly, “Why did you invite me here?”

Torrijos explains that in order to follow through with his mission to modernize Panama for the good of its people, including the poor, he must find a way to fund massive infrastructure projects. He is averse to giving the contract to Bechtel for reasons discussed throughout the chapter. He tells John that MAIN will receive the contract without dispute if John helps Torrijos to send the message to the world over that Panama stands alone without the aide or backing from China, Cuba, or the US. Perkins notes at the end of the chapter that an unspoken understanding arose from that meeting that he would receive praise and large contracts if he did the bidding of Torrijos on the world stage.

Chapter Fourteen – Entering a New Sinister Period in Economic History

Perkins gives his account, from his perspective as chief economist at MAIN, of the formation, and impact, of OPEC in the 1960’s and the subsequent oil embargo of the early seventies. At the beginning of this shift in economic practices, OPEC had the upper hand. The embargo crippled the American economy and the industrial petroleum corporations. During that time, Perkins would frequently meet with friends and debate the causes and effects that OPEC and the embargo would have on the global economy. No one, he said, could have fully understood what was really going to happen as a result of such actions.

Perkins writes how the 1960’s was a pivotal point in global economic philosophy and practice. Robert McNamara was, in Perkin’s view, the single greatest influence in that shift. McNamara rose through the ranks of the Ford Motor Company, eventually becoming the first president of the company that was not a member of the Ford family in 1960. John F. Kennedy appointed him the Secretary of Defense during his presidency. McNamara was an economist himself and he utilized his statistically based economic theory to manage troop levels and funding for Vietnam. He promoted “aggressive leadership”, which became the new popular teaching method at top business schools around the country. After his term as Secretary of defense McNamara moved on to become the head of the World Bank. To many Robert McNamara was the embodiment of the military-industrial complex. His various positions shocked many as they were an obvious breach in the separation of powers. He headed a major corporation, a government cabinet, and an international bank. Perkins notes that it did not surprise him in the least bit and he ends the chapter with a long list of notable figures that played the same game with their respective careers.

Chapter Fifteen – The Saudi Arabian Money Laundering Affair

In the mid 1970’s Saudi Arabia entered the international loan game, however, the House of Saud played under different rules than countries like Indonesia and Ecuador because their country had virtually infinite wealth. They could finance their own development projects. The job of the EHM, in this circumstance, was to get leading parties in Saudi Arabia to, first, want to develop the countries infrastructure, and then, get them to grant the contracts to American firms. Perkins explains how this all came to be and how this unlikely alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia has endured and worked to both ignite tensions and subdue foreign power over both countries respective economies. The US essentially accepted Saudi Monies in Return for huge expensive contracts and favorable votes in all international governing bodies. Saudi Arabia also agreed to increase oil production in the event of another embargo brought on by other OPEC nations. This action basically undermines the power of OPEC because the American consumer will never again have to feel the pinch of an oil shortage. This shelter has become an issue revisited over and over again in the subsequent years since the agreement was made. The two nations have also endured criticism for their “sweetheart” deal from countries all around the globe. Perkins gives a very interesting personal account of how these agreements came to be signed, and how the governments, international agencies, and private corporations all worked together to achieve huge payouts and political capital.

Chapter Sixteen – Pimping, and Financing Osama Bin Laden

The House of Saud stood as a unified decision making body, which meant that all high level members of government had to be convinced to accept and sign the huge development contracts MAIN put forward. Each MAIN agent was assigned a key government figure to wine, dine, coerce, and convince. Perkins was responsible for Prince W., whose happiness and pleasure was the utmost concern. Perkins was asked, and was able, to locate a beautiful American women to entertain the prince during his frequent stays in Boston. Perkins was also asked to pay for the expense which he did by coming up with creative expense accounts and huge restaurant tabs. He knew he had to have the numbers to convince the prince but supplying whatever small things he may need may have tipped the tables in his favor.

Perkins also fully understood if he failed to get the prince’s approval and the contracts died then he would be blamed at MAIN, and the price for failure was very high. In the end, perhaps due to a United Airlines flight attendant, the entire package was approved by the royal family. Everybody involved breathed a sigh of relief before celebrating their impending success. The deal essentially reinvented Saudi Arabia overnight. What was desolate desert kingdom became a sprawling decadent glistening modern metropolis. Also, as a result of the alliance between the US and the Saudis both countries repeatedly found themselves unable to answer for their actions when they voted again and again to protect each others interests in international bodies. The most glaring example of this type of behavior that we are still living through today is the finding that many of the terrorists aboard the planes which crashed into the World Trade Center were Saudi nationals. Also, it was further found that Saudi Arabia although shaking the hand of the US with one arm, is and has been funding terrorist cells with the other.

Chapter Seventeen – Panama Canal Negotiations and Graham Greene

The contract with Saudi Arabia advanced Perkins career to even greater heights. He had a staff which grew larger and larger and he was able to hire a Russian economist from MIT that had developed a statistical approach to economic forecasts which “proved” the righteousness of lending huge amounts of cash to countries that would never be able to pay it off. Torrijos, in Panama, and Perkins honored their secret agreement and their relationship grew closer and more complex throughout the seventies. Perkins published an article in The Boston Globe promoting the return of the canal zone rights and property to Panama. Many of his peers were disappointed with his position but his boss, Bruno, however, knew it would please Torrijos and thus praised John for the decision to publish it. If Torrijos was happy, MAIN would continue receiving huge contracts. Graham Greene, the fiction writer, had also written many articles in support of Torrijos and his mission. The two had fostered an exceptionally close relationship based on the common goal of wealth redistribution to aide the poor. In fact, Greene published a nonfiction novel, titled Conversations with the General, about General Omar Torrijos. Perkins met Greene one day in a Panamanian hotel lobby. This conversation was especially meaningful and important to Perkins, as he was just barely becoming aware of how insidious his work was.

Chapter Eighteen – Iran’s King of Kings

This chapter focuses on the situation in Iran in the late seventies and how that country was enticed into the fold of the corporatocracy. Iran, like Saudi Arabia, was oil rich and could finance its own development. The shah, or king, was in power because when his father was deposed of by a democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadegh, the United States sent CIA agents to remove him from power and reinstate the shah. This action made the Persian population angry but the truth of us involvement was not proved for many years later. The shah was friendly to US interests and Washington did its best to paint him and Iran in a favorable light and as a strong ally in the increasingly caustic Middle Eastern region. Perkins toured all over Iran in his many visits. During one common visit he was invited to have dinner with a man he had never met before, named Yamin. When he arrived to the destination he was escorted into a walled palace like restaurant filled with private booths. Yamin was very polite and well dressed in a western business suit. As the two men talked Perkins realized that Yamin knew much about his past and his entire career. Yamin spoke about the shah’s plan to cover the desert with green plants in order to change the landscape on a massive scale. Yamin disapproved of this plan because, he said, the soul of the Persian people was so closely related to the desert. He believed changing the landscape would destroy the culture. Towards the end of the night Yamin requested that John go with him to meet a good friend who could give him a lot of information about the shah and Iran as a whole. Yamin referred to Perkins as a man in the middle of two worlds.

Chapter Nineteen – Confessions of a Tortured Man

A few days after their initial meeting, Yamin drove Perkins far outside the city to meet his friend that went only by, Doc. The two men pulled up to a centuries old desert oasis and Perkins was escorted inside a small hut. He was instructed to sit on the floor of the dimly lit room and wait. An old man in a wheelchair was brought into the room and introduced himself. He said he was once like Perkins. He had a high level job and powerful friends. He had money and knew many heads of state from around the world. He spoke slowly, stopping to cough and wheeze frequently. When he turned slightly, Perkins was astonished to see that he had no nose, only a grotesque scar! When the conversation resumed the old man informed Perkins that the shah was approaching Hitler in his evil ways. He became enraged while telling Perkins of the US knowledge and complicity of the shah’s tyrannical secret police, the SAVAK. He went on to say that the shah was the only US ally in the region and that Muslim resentment was growing rapidly. He warned that the shah would be overthrown soon and hatred of the US would grow. He then told Perkins that MAIN would lose millions of dollars because the new ruling party would simply refuse to pay.

Chapter Twenty – The Fall of a King

Despite the warnings of Doc coupled with the fact that Perkins had heard absolutely nothing about a possible impending coup, Perkins remained in Tehran for an extended stay. One evening in late 1978 while sitting at a cafe John ran into his old college buddy, Farhad. He had not seen him in over a decade. As the two men caught up with each other it became obvious that although Perkins had no inkling into the goings on or Farhad’s life, Farhad knew quite a bit about John’s career and life in general. Farhad warned Perkins that Iran was indeed quickly falling to pieces behind the curtain of the world stage. He urged John to accompany him to Rome to escape the violence that was sure to come to Tehran soon. Perkins trusted Farhad and thusly did not question him. They both flew out of Tehran the next day.

Once in Rome Perkins met and conversed with Farhad’s father, who was an army man in Iran, and thusly had great national pride. His father spoke about the arrogance and greed of the shah and the US policies enacted for Iran. He told Perkins that the overthrow of Mossadegh is coming back to haunt the Americans and the corrupt shah. He went on to say that the fall of the shah was only the beginning of the direction the entire Muslim world was headed in. Two days after that dinner, violent riots and bombings erupted in Tehran. The groundswell had begun and the shah’s power quickly diminished. Ayatollah Khomeini was the religious leader poised to take control of the country. In early 1979 the shah fled the country under the guise of receiving urgent medical care for cancer treatment in New York. A mob seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, an event which essentially ended Carter’s presidency.

The shah was eventually given refuge in Panama, under Torrijos, amidst worldwide calls for his extradition back to Iran for a trial and sentencing. Doc’s predictions had all come true. MAIN lost millions in Iran. The ayatollah simply refused to pay for the projects the shah had begun, which angered many international firms. The loss of revenue changed the manner in which US policymakers dealt with Iran. Increasingly negative rhetoric regarding the country and its leaders began to become more and more common. The days of painting Iran as a US ally in the Middle East were over. These events forced Perkins to see the true role of the US in the world. He remarked that the CIA refused to divulge information that showed US intentions to be less than charitable, even to those members of the corporatocracy. He believed the CIA must have known what was about to happen in Iran but because money was still rolling in the CIA encouraged everyone to close their eyes to it.

Chapter Twenty-One  – Colombia: Keystone of Latin America

A return to the old game of getting poor countries to sign contracts that they could never repay was what was presented to Perkins in Colombia. Colombia is described as being the geographical and political gateway to South America. In this chapter Perkins provides a brief history of this country and its culture. He notes that Colombia is rich in natural resources and has a long textured history, but its people have also seen their share of violence and corruption. Perkins saw Colombia as a sort of refuge for him despite the harm he and his company were perpetrating against the nation. It was where he met an important figure in his life, Paula. She was an Italian fashion designer with factories in Colombia. Paula helped John, in a gentle and kind manner, to see the fallacies underpinning his rationale for working as an Economic Hit Man for MAIN. Through conversation and prodding she brought him to honestly reviewing his decisions. Perkins believes life is composed of a series of coincidences over which we have no control, however, once we are presented with those coincidences, we must make choices. What makes the difference in life is how we respond; what choices we make at those critical crossroads in life. All decisions, he explained, bring you to your current station in life. Paula was a coincidence that forced Perkins to a decision about the direction his life was headed in. She was the catalyst that caused him to question his role.

Chapter Twenty-Two – American Republic Versus Global Empire

Paula and Perkins engage in a conversation about a recent guerrilla attack on a MAIN project site. The working class indigenous people in Colombia detested the dam that was being built because they didn’t want the land in the valley it was being constructed in to be flooded. They vowed to see them destroyed before they were ever completed, no matter the cost. A Colombian foreman, Manual Torres, had been threatened by a militant group wielding AK-47’s. When Torres informed Perkins of the clash, Perkins intimidated him by claiming the militants were not simply working Colombian peers of the foreman, rather they were a group of pro-communism bandits working on behalf of China and Russia. He said that it was evident by the fact that they carried AK-47’s, a gun designed and built in Russia. Perkins knew this wasn’t true and that Torres was scared, however he pressured him to keep working on the project. Paula questioned Perkins and forced him to look inside himself regarding that matter. She informed him that her brother had been imprisoned and tortured before joining a rebel faction himself. Because of that she was privy to a lot of information regarding the philosophy driving such groups to action. Perkins was shocked to hear of her close ties to the movement which was directly against his work.

After further consideration, John began to think about the differences between the ideals of America when it was a new nation as compared to what he saw happening around him then, in the late 1970’s. He drew the distinction between the American Republic and a global empire. He wrote : “The republic offered hope to the world. Its foundation was moral and philosophical rather than materialistic. It was based on the concepts of equality and justice for all”…..”The global empire, on the other hand, is the republic’s nemesis. It is a self-centered, self-serving, greedy, and materialistic, a system based on mercantilism. Like empires before, its arms open only to accumulate resources, to grab everything in sight and stuff its insatiable maw. It will use whatever means it deems necessary to help its rulers gain more power and riches.”

Chapter Twenty-Three – The Deceptive Resume

Perkins reflects on his own awakening to the true nature of his work and how it is misrepresented on his seeming top notch resume. He explains how MAIN would update his resume for him with each new project he took on and completed, so when he did decide to find his resume to take a look at it the material was all new to him. The resume listed a number of “clients served”, the most interesting of which was the last line that read, “U.S. Treasury Department, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. Perkins notes the strangeness of these two entities being listed on one line, together. He explains that the wording and placement of those “clients” is actually a tip off to those in the inner circle of international business that he had been one of the architects of the biggest infrastructure deal the world had ever seen.

As he thinks about the resume and the work he had done to earn such credentials, he laments at the falsity of the document. He knows that, although the resume portrays him as an intelligent shining gem, he had to stoop to low levels and do a lot of dirty work throughout the years. The resume was a subtle, but monumental, deception. Perkins knew the only reason he had met with so much success was because he, time and again, produced result that the company had hoped for. He found a way to make the stockholders massive amounts of money. He had never been good at mathematics and didn’t even have a degree in economics, yet he found himself in the position of Chief Economist at a major international engineering and consulting firm. He had made it a practice to hire people more capable than him at doing his job and put undo pressure on them to produce the results he knew those in higher up positions wanted. The production of positive forecasts, no matter the method was what he was good at.

Chapter Twenty-Four – Ecuador’s President Battles Big Oil

Ecuador’s Jaime Roldos was the ideological match to Panama’s Omar Torrijos. Torrijos wanted canal rights in order to serve the greatest good for his people. He wanted to redistribute wealth and land to the poor people of his country. Roldos ran on the same populist, nationalist platform completely unaffiliated with super-powers, like Russia, China, or the U.S. In contrast, however, Roldos had to fight multi-national oil corporations in his bid to control Ecuador’s vast oil reserves. His biggest competitor was Texaco. It was rumored that in Ecuador the big oil companies had colluded with, and bought out, one group of Christian missionaries. The SIL, or Summer Institute of Language, had a stated goal of teaching English to native tribes people throughout the Central American region. IN doing so the missionaries would also introduce those they were teaching to Christianity and urge them to set up and attend church services.

The SIL was accused of persuading indigenous tribes to move off their native lands to central camps in order to receive free food, health care, and education. In return the tribes people had to agree to sign their land over to oil companies for exploration. The missionaries were sent to areas that had been speculated by large oil companies and deemed to have vast subsoil oil reserves. Perkins admires Roldos and other leaders like him for having the courage to stand up to powerful organizations for the good of people who could never pay him back. Being in his position, he now understands the lengths to which greed and power will drive someone. Perkins is more and more conflicted with his role and his actions over his career. He is haunted by his past ideals and feels like he has sold out on his own convictions. At the end of the chapter he notes, Bruno Zambotti, his boos and mentor had been fired by an aging CEO, Mac Hall, who felt threatened by the shining star in the company.

Chapter Twenty-Five – I Quit

The firing of Bruno rippled though the various offices and divisions of MAIN International. The chairman had fired Bruno because he was threatened by his powerful nature and incredible profit earnings the company had produced under his command. Mac Hall was afraid that the board would deem him ineffectual and give Zambotti his job. Hall fired Bruno while he still could. To take his place, Hall promoted Paul Priddy, an economic forecaster that focused on MAIN’s domestic projects primarily. Perkins describes Priddy as a company man that would bend to the wishes of Mac Hall in a second, no matter what they were. He stood no threat to the chairman, so in Hall’s eyes he was the perfect hire. However, the company suffered as a result of poor leadership decisions from that point on. The overwhelming majority of MAIN employees believes Hall had lost touch with the burgeoning trends in economic forecasting and wondered in what direction the company would head from there. No one dared challenge the Chairman, in fear of losing their own job.

Perkins goes on a sailing trip to the Virgin Islands with a young woman who works for him. Hos own inner battle rages on and has been steadily intensifying. Despite perfectly pleasant surroundings , Perkins cannot get his mind to rest, so he decides to take a small row boat and go ashore alone. He sits atop a wall of an old sugar cane plantation and contemplates the lives and experiences of the slaves that died building that wall and the men who dragged those slaves from their homes and families in Africa to come and work themselves to death in the Caribbean. He became so enraged that he picked up a stick and began beating the wall over and over until he reached exhaustion. He realized his rage should be directed inward, for the deeds he had chosen to commit himself. He hated the life he had created for himself despite all the superficial ornamentation and affluence of it. He could live with no longer. When he returned to Boston, on April 1, 1980, he quit.

Chapter Twenty-Six – Ecuador’s Presidential Death

As Claudine had predicted, it was not easy to leave the life and employment of an Economic Hit Man. Perkins had a new boss, Paul Priddy who believed his resignation to be an April Fool’s Day joke at first. His colleagues, staff, and friends tried to talk him out of quitting by listing all the positive attributes of the job and its benefits. Many of them were suspicious of his motives, thinking he was possibly headed toward a career in politics that might expose their crimes and way of life. He tried to offset such ideas by telling people he wanted to travel and work for National Geographic.

In the end, he was not able to fully extract himself from the lifestyle or his position. He accepted the job of being an expert witness for public utility companies seeking building permits from the state for new power plants. Right about the same time that Perkins chose to quit, Carter lost the presidency to Reagan, which signified a major shift in foreign policy. Carter has solar panels installed on the roof of the White House to spark a nationwide discussion regarding dependence on foreign oil and dependence on oil as our sole energy source. Reagan had the panels immediately removed upon taking office, as many in his cabinet had made their fortunes in oil or in the building of its required infrastructure. Perkins describes the differences between Reagan and Carter, the most striking of which is how Carter’s vision of America was aligned with the Declaration of Independence and how Reagan’s view was “most definitely that of a global empire builder.” Perkins was enamored with men like Torrijos AND Jaime Roldos in Ecuador. He is obviously saddened when he writes of the sudden death of Roldos in a plane crash in spring 1981. The world reacted with the outcry of “CIA Assassination!!”, however, the US media barely covered the event at all.

Chapter Twenty-Seven – Panama: Another Presidential Death

Perkins writes again of his sadness over the death of Roldos but, to him, it was an expected end. He feared for Torrijos because he refused to bend at all to the desires of the US regarding the renegotiation of the Canal Treaty. Torrijos stood up to Reagan and rejected the SIL missionaries from Panama. Just a couple months after the strange and freak death of Roldos, Torrijos experienced his own plane crash. Security guards claimed the plane had a bomb on board and once again the world cried out,”CIA Assassination!!”.

Graham Greene opened his book, Getting to Know the General, with the news and the accusations. Perkins explains the atmosphere in Washington that led to the murder of Roldos and Torrijos. He makes clear that the primary goal of the new administration was to expand the global empire and their financial holdings rooted therein. They would stop at nothing to achieve this goal. Reagan, Bush, Cheney, Casper Weinberger, George Shultz, and Robert McNamara were named among others as facilitating a foreign policy that resulted in great reward for themselves and few other and great misery for the masses of poor around the world.

Perkins explains how Bechtel Inc. enjoyed a close relationship with those holding high office in the U.S. Government, which resulted in many new contracts and lots of comfortable perks and paychecks. Those in power at Bechtel were chief critics of Panama’s leaning toward granting a huge engineering contract for the update of the canal to a Japanese firm. Bechtel stood to lose out on millions of dollars and the biggest construction contract in modern times. Headed by George Shultz and Casper Weinberger, Bechtel was a significant factor in policy toward Panama. Torrijos was replaced by Manuel Noriega, a man who, in Perkins’ view, had no chance in standing up Reagan, Bush, and Cheney.

Chapter Twenty-Eight – My Energy Company, Enron, and George W. Bush

Perkins struggled with his role as an expert witness because he was testifying under oath that he believed in the accuracy of his economic predictions although he absolutely knew them to be wholly false. He stuck with it, however, because it gave him a lot of free time while still bringing in an admirable salary. During the early 1980’s Perkins remarried a woman, named Winifred, and their daughter, Jessica, was born. Winifred’s father happened to have spent his career working as an executive at Bechtel. Despite the fact that Winifred was a committed environmentalist, her first job out of college at UC Berkeley was at Enron.

Perkins once again quit his job, but this time he started his own company. He launched Independent Power Systems, a company “whose mission included developing environmentally beneficial power plants…”. Perkins receiving financial backing and support from Bruno Zambotti, and a host of major players and companies, including the U.S. Congress. IPS along with Bechtel revolutionized the power industry by building coal power plants that did not cause acid rain to fall in surrounding areas. MAIN completely folded and went out of business during that time as well. Mac Hall had lost touch with the direction of the energy market and no one informed him, just as Bruno predicted.

A rising star, Enron, was a little known company that , virtually out of no where, began putting together huge deals. No body in the field could figure out how they could finance such endeavors. Perkins provides a brief history of the flailing career of George W. Bush, beginning at Arbusto Energy, which flopped, and became a part of Harken Energy. Bush Jr. remained on the board and suddenly the fledgling Harken began to land huge contracts, the most conspicuous of which was the right to drill oil off the coast of Bahrain. Harken beat out Amoco in that deal. Bush Sr. had just been elected president and had arranged the talks between Bahraini officials and his son’s company.

Chapter Twenty-Nine – I take a Bribe

While McNamara served as secretary of defense and president of the World Bank the ideas of aggressive leadership and empire furtherance no matter the short term cost spread like wildfire throughout the whole corporate world. Although alternative energy sources existed, the fact that almost the entire Bush administration had made money in oil prevented expansion and distribution of these technologies to the public. Instead, more insidious methods of corporate domination and globalization surged forward. Poerkins sold IPS and became a very well paid adviser on the board of a growing energy company, Stone and Webster Engineering and Construction. In return he had to agree not to write about the work he did at MAIN or his work with Stone and Webster. Perkins was, in fact, in the process of writing just such a book, but he put his writing on the shelf to earn more money once again. He explains that he felt like he had once again betrayed himself, his family, and his country.

Chapter Thirty – The United States Invades Panama

This chapter is focused on Manuel Noriega and the U.S. invasion of Panama. Perkins exposes the US position superficial and dishonest in many ways. He claims the invasion sprung out of the deep seated fear of George Bush Sr. that the American people believed him to be a wimp. He wanted to prove his power and strength to everyone. He ordered an air attack on Panama city that was the largest such attack by the US since World War II. Many civilians died and the administration claimed they were punished Noriega for his illegal drug running and corrupt activities.

The media endeavored to paint Noriega as a dangerous mad man, and an evil communist sympathizer. Panama posed no threat to US national security and could not have possibly launched any counter attack back. Perkins was thrown into depression upon questioning his own role in furthering such injustice throughout the world. He attempts to give a reasonable explanation as to how good people can participate in such heinous acts that result in mass suffering and death of millions of desperate people throughout the world. Perkins believes that the invasion of Panama in 1989 symbolized the whole system of corruption, greed, and global domination. It showed the lengths that powerful men and women would go to to protect and expand their assets. After the mission, Cheney publicly claimed 300 to 500 Panamanian civilians died, while independent human rights groups estimated the number of dead between three and five thousand.

Chapter Thirty-One – An EHM Failure in Iraq

In this chapter, Perkins focuses in the state of Iraq in the late eighties and nineties. He explains how he was privy to information about the country and its political and economic state of affairs that few others knew about at all. Companies like Bechtel and Halliburton were hoping to strike lucrative deals in Iraq with Saddam Hussein. They had grand visions of Iraq becoming the sister state to Saudi Arabia, however, due to Iraq’s much more bountiful water supply and the fact that it shares borders with many strategic Middle Eastern nations, Iraq was even more of a gem to economists. By the late eighties it became apparent that Hussein was not about to buy into what the engineering firms were proposing. This shamed the Bush Administrations and added to the fear that the public saw President Bush as a wimp, or spineless leader.

When Iraz invaded Kuwait, the Bush Administration had the opportunity to redeem itself without public protest. The President denounced the unilateral invasion of a defenseless country as a serious breach of international law less than a year after the American invasion of Panama. Perkins recalls the excitement of his colleagues over the invasion because a U.S. victory was sure to bring in huge profits for their companies, and in turn themselves. He continues working on his book and began guiding small groups of tourists deep into the Amazon to spend time and learn from native tribes. As Perkins became more and more involved in the non-profit world, he was eventually able to quit his consulting job completely.

Chapter Thirty-Two – September 11th and its Aftermath For Me, Personally

Perkins explains what it was like for him the moment the twin towers came down. He was in the Amazon at a radio relay hut listening over the hand held radio to radio broadcasts with minute by minute accounts of the scene in lower Manhattan. He made the decision that upon returning to the U.S. that he must visit ground zero and see the devastation himself, with his own eyes. In November of 2001 he got there. As he walked around the massive hole in the ground, with smoke still billowing out, he tried to take in the enormity of the scene. The sights and sounds and his own thoughts as to what caused this horrific event stained his memory.

He explains a few strange coincidences that occurred to him throughout that day while strolling around the area. It seems every place Perkins chooses to sit and rest a moment conjures up a memory or image of classic American ideals or notes a proud American foundation. He speaks with an Afghan immigrant. He turns the events of September 11th, his career, his family, and his personal truth over and over in his mind as he walks around.He sees a newspaper stand with a man shouting the headline; “Venezuela on the brink of Revolution”.

Chapter Thirty-Three – Venezuela Saved By Saddam

Venezuela is a country as rich with oil as it is with culture and history. Perkins provides a brief summary of the recent political history of Venezuela and the actions of its present leader, Hugo Chavez. Throughout the twentieth century Venezuela has been a prized nation by economists and engineers, which has made it a target for EHM’s and the corporatocracy. Until Chavez was elected in the late nineties the country lacked a leader with enough strength and charisma to stand up to the corporate behemoth. Venezuelan oil was being pumped out of the ground for the profit of foreign companies and the country was saddled with immense debts at the time Chavez was elected. Upon taking power Chavez enacted bold and sweeping new laws which strengthened his control over government and its functions and he assumed total control over the state run oil company, Petroleos De Venezuela.

Perkins explains how the U.S. Administration and the CIA took the same course of action in Venezuela to discredit the countries democratically elected leader as they did in Iran, with Mossadegh in the 1950’s. Agents of the US government infiltrated Venezuela and worked to foment a strike of oil workers in order to destabilize the government and force people to doubt the intentions of their populist leader. The strike occurred and a coup was attempted. In fact, there were reports that Chavez had been ousted form office, but surprisingly Chavez was able to hold onto the reigns of government and quell the fears of the nation. The CIA has failed. He regained control and fired any government official that he suspected of colluding with US agents. Perkins suspicions were confirmed when, quite coincidentally, a colleague confided that the strikes and coup were completely orchestrated by people working for the US government.

Chapter Thirty-Four – Ecuador Revisited

Once again, Perkins visits Ecuador, thirty five years after he served in the Peace Corps there as a young man, just out of college. He drove the winding Andean roads and took mental note of the areas that had been vast stretches of Amazonian rain forest and were now desolate fields overgrown with weeds. The tiny oil rich country and its inhabitants were saddled with massive debt to international monetary firms that were putting more and more pressure on the government to pay up by conceding drilling rights throughout the country to massive international oil companies.

Native tribal leaders held a meeting to discuss the current state of affairs and present a unified course of action to the public in order to counteract the oil conglomerates. Elders shared stories of people from within their own communities that had sold out for big money and big dreams to oil executives. Many people asked Perkins about the impending US invasion in Iraq. They wanted to know what the standpoint of the country was; what the purpose of going to war was. He was struck by the irony that although the average US citizen thought the native people of the Amazon region to be uneducated and brutish they were actually much more aware of the state of international affairs and asked much more poignant questions with regards to US actions.

In fact, Perkins asserts that the average US citizen knew less and asked fewer questions of relevance to their leaders than these people who lived deep in the jungles of South America. The native peoples seemed to know more about current events as well as position held in the past by many prominent American statesmen. Many ancient cultures around the globe prophesied that the period of years from the late nineties and into the first couple decades after the year two thousand would mark a great shift in human history. An age of remarkable change in our collective perceptions of the world around us and our direction therein was imminent.

Perkins reflects on this idea in regards to choosing to focus attention on what truly matters in the world rather than endlessly trying to attain superficial and short term entertainment. He writes of his hope that those in power will awaken to a deeper purpose and a more profound sense of self and role, which will motivate them to use their position and their power to alleviate undo suffering and strife around the globe.

Chapter Thirty-Five – Piercing the Veneer

This final chapter focuses on the reasons behind, and the possible implication of the 2003 invasion into Iraq. Perkins knows that had Saddam have been able to be bought out by the corporatocracy, and accepted their terms, he would still be in power today. He goes on to say that indeed US firms would be building and maintaining his chemical weapons plants, selling him arms, and turning a blind eye to his human rights violations.

From his perspective, as a former EHM, Perkins offers several views of the invasion and it s outcome that may surprise the reader. One of which is the idea that the dollar stands on very shaky ground as the standard global currency. He writes that if that right were to be taken away from the US the foundations of the entire empire would rumble and quake. If the standard currency were to change the US would find itself in insurmountable debt extremely quickly. Perkins then proposes that any major international group, like OPEC, could simply decide to do their banking in another currency.

However, Perkins also explains that one possible reason for the invasion in Iraq is that if the US controlled Iraq and its vast oil fields then the US could render OPEC obsolete. OPEC could change its supply or production but it would fail to produce any political pressure because the biggest oil consumer, the US, could simply pump its oil free of charge in Iraq. This type of scenario would also undermine any agreements made strictly with Saudi Arabia. Because the US is no longer dependent on the country’s oil, we, as a nation, would probably not honor our end of the bargain at all.

To close the book, and end the journey, Perkins returns to the theme of his own inspiration from the principles of the founding fathers and what drove them to take bold stands and risk their own safety for the idea of a free republic. The conclusion he reaches is that those men, as well as men and women around the world today, have and are inspired by the written word. Words propelled by a passionate desire to be free and to shake off the chains of repression and submission are the single most powerful catalyst to revolution. The words of the past served to inspire, inform, awaken, and spark the population and Perkins hopes his words have served the same purpose in the mind and heart of the reader.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) (sometimes referred to as ‘Obamacare’) aims to make health insurance and health care more affordable and accessible to the American people. It does this by providing various subsidies for health insurance for people earning between 100% to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). It also expands the Medicaid program for people under the FPL. Additionally, it aims to lower the cost of health care overall.

Marbury v Madison was one of the most important, if not the most important legal case in the United States. The case affirmed that the US Constitution is the paramount law by which the Supreme Court and Congress are held, and that Congress cannot pass laws that are in opposition to the Constitution. Marbury v Madison was brought to the court after the presidential election of 1800, where Thomas Jefferson won the presidency from John Adams. Before the office was vacated by Adams, his party attempted to fill many Federal offices with staff loyal to the Federalist party. This involved Adam’s nominating them, the Senate approving the nomination, and the commissions being sent to the nominees. The intent was to have these nominations delivered before Thomas Jefferson took office, but some were delivered after Jefferson was sworn in. Jefferson tasked his Secretary of State, James Madison to withhold the commissions that had not yet been delivered.

Madison complied and withheld the commissions, causing William Marbury, who was due to receive his commission, to file a suit in the US Supreme Court against Madison. His aim was to have the Court issue a ‘writ of mandamus’, a form of order mandating that an elected official perform an action they are legally obliged to perform. The Supreme Court found that while withholding the commissions was illegal, the Supreme Court did not in fact have the jurisdiction to issue the writ. The key part of this ruling was that Congress had passed a law that enabled the Court to action this request from Marbury, however the Court argued that the law went against the original powers in the Constitution, and thus, they “struck out’ the law from Congress. This introduced the process of ‘judicial review’ in the United States, where the Supreme Court may ‘strike out’ laws passed by Congress when the law goes against or extends power further than the Constitution provides.

Brutus No. 1 was an Anti-Federalist piece of writing that opposed the arguments outlined in Federalist Paper 10 and Federalist Paper 51. Brutus was the pen-name of an Anti-Federalist.

The writing proposed that a small, decentralized republic would be the best choice for the United States because Anti-Federalists were concerned that a government with multiple factions would encroach upon personal freedoms and not be able to adequately represent the people of the United States. They also argued that the Constitution gave too much power to the federal government, which was a bad thing.




Federalist Paper 51 was written by American statesman, diplomat and philosopher James Madison. Like Federalist Paper 10, Federalist Paper 51 also concerns the idea of how to make the perfect government.

In Federalist Paper 51 Madison discusses how the US Government will protect itself against having one group of people gaining too much power by having three branches of government, that are completely self-sufficient and with powers over each other.


Federalist Paper 10 was written by American statesman, diplomat and philosopher James Madison. The paper concerns the idea of how to make the perfect government.

The paper discusses how majority rule can cause problems because not everyone voting may have a full understanding of what they are voting for, therefore voting for something that could ultimately end up being detrimental. This can destroy democracies. Having a representative democracy instead means that ideas can be discussed by those who understand the issues, and also prevents one majority group being able to gain total control.

“infobox Book “
name Where the Crawdads Sing
image caption First edition cover
author Delia Owens
country America
language English language
genre(s) Crime, Bildungsroman
publisher G.P Putnam’s Sons
release date 2018
media type Paperback
pages 384

Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming-of-age crime drama by Delia Owens, published in 2018. The story concerns Kya, who is known as the “Marsh Girl” by the residents of her small town in North Carolina.

Poor Kya is left alone when her family abandons her to get away from their abusive father. Kya is able to fend for herself quite successful, however. Eventually she captures the attention of two suitors, but any hope of happiness is destroyed when she becomes the prime suspect in a local murder case.