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The Sun Interview

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

John Perkins On His Former Life As An Economic Hit Man

My job was to convince the governments of developing countries to accept loans to pay for projects that we — that is, U.S. corporate interests — envisioned. In essence, I talked them into putting their countries heavily in debt.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Seeking Evil, Finding Only Good

Hefting box after box, I recently moved all of my old death-penalty case files, some of them nearly collapsed into shapeless heaps of cardboard. I felt the weight of all the investigation reports I have written for trials and appeals over twenty-five years, since capital punishment was brought back to California by popular vote. Heaving it all into my new storage space, I had the depressing thought: This is my life. From age thirty-five to sixty, this room-sized tower of paper is what I have done.

All The Hours And None Of The Words

That morning, before we got the terrible news, my father emerged from the bathroom smelling of hot water and bar soap and a healthy application of Stetson cologne. I sat with my parents at the kitchen table, sipping Mr. Coffee blend. I was twenty-one and couldn’t find a job after college, so I’d gone to work with my father in the ceiling-tile factory where he’d put in nearly thirty years. In less than two hours my dad and I had to be back at the factory for a twelve-hour shift — maybe sixteen, if someone called in sick.

A Year Like Any Other

How long will it be, after you die, before the last living person who knew you also dies? And when there is no one left living who remembers you, what will your life mean then, after all of the noise?


I Will Soon Be Married

I will soon be married, though it’s nothing I would have believed, nothing for which I’m prepared. The bride is asleep across town, and she and I have made no real plans. We’ve scarcely discussed it. Yet I feel a pang of anticipation each morning. I feel that same ache now while I sit with my guitar across my lap, drunk and trying to stay conscious at four in the morning. I’ve spent too many nights like this, drinking beer, holding but not playing my Telecaster, writing songs in my head. Mr. Galvez, my downstairs neighbor, pounds his ceiling (my floor), though I don’t know why. I’ve annoyed him many times with parties and loud music, but I haven’t made a sound tonight, haven’t had it in me to play a note while I compose “I Will Soon Be Married,” a song for my bride-to-be in her distant bedroom, her black hair arranged in sleep in ways I can’t imagine. Mr. Galvez bangs again, and I wish he would go to bed, that he would even be happy for me, that he would leave me in peace and let me finish writing my song.

Readers Write

Taking A Stand

It’s a cold Friday morning, and the sun is just coming up. Shivering beneath my down parka, I climb the high rock wall at the entrance to Vandenberg Air Force Base. My wife and a few others are with me, and in my hand I carry a bottle of blood drawn from my arm last night by a friend. Five days from now the war in Iraq will begin.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

September 2005

The days are getting longer. I'm getting older. Last night, in yoga class, I felt challenged by the simplest postures. Sweat poured off me, hitting the mat like fat drops of rain. Afterward, at the natural-foods store, I couldn’t help but notice a woman who looked as if she might have just come from yoga, too. But instead of staring dumbly at the rows of produce, she was humming softly, breezing through the aisles, yoga pants flapping like wings. She smiled at me. I smiled back, then turned away. No, I wasn’t about to invite her into a daydream with a married man too exhausted even to strike up a conversation — contorting his lips to form vowels, consonants, mispronouncing every other one.

Musings From Our Founder ▸


In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.

Czeslaw Milosz

More Quotations ▸
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