The Profiteers

The Profiteers

Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World

Book - 2016
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The tale of the Bechtel family dynasty is a classic American business story. It begins with Warren A. “Dad” Bechtel, who led a consortium that constructed the Hoover Dam. From that auspicious start, the family and its eponymous company would go on to “build the world,” from the construction of airports in Hong Kong and Doha, to pipelines and tunnels in Alaska and Europe, to mining and energy operations around the globe. Today Bechtel is one of the largest privately held corporations in the world, enriched and empowered by a long history of government contracts and the privatization of public works, made possible by an unprecedented revolving door between its San Francisco headquarters and Washington. Bechtel executives John McCone, Caspar Weinberger, and George P. Shultz segued from leadership at the company to positions as Director of the CIA, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State, respectively. Like all stories of empire building, the rise of Bechtel presents a complex and riveting narrative. In The Profiteers, Sally Denton, whom The New York Times called “a wonderful writer,” exposes Bechtel’s secret world and one of the biggest business and political stories of our
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2016
ISBN: 9781476706467
Branch Call Number: 338.880922 BEC
Characteristics: viii, 436 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


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PimaLib_NormS Jan 16, 2018

“The Profiteers: Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World”, by Sally Denton is one of those books that I come across every once in a while; I’ll like the book but not the subject. I enjoyed it as a well-written, intriguing history of one the biggest, most powerful, most profitable companies on Earth. And, on the other hand, by the time I had finished it, I came to think of this as an infuriating story with Bechtel as a villain, a mega-company that only cares about wringing every last bit of income from the bloated government contracts that form the vast majority of their business. The revolving door of government officials, going from the highest levels of government to Bechtel, or from Bechtel to high government service, and then back to Bechtel again, is enough to make a person dizzy. What is most galling is that in some cases, American foreign policy decisions have been influenced by Bechtel’s cadre of lobbyists. If Bechtel has former government officials in its employ, and the government has former Bechtel employees holding important governmental positions, how could anyone believe that they have no influence? And what does Bechtel want? Well, profit, of course. Their lobbyists regularly try to influence the government to do what is best for Bechtel’s bottom line, seemingly with little regard for what is the best policy for America. Sally Denton, with skill and persistence, pulls back the veil, shining essential light on the secretive Leviathan that is Bechtel.

Mar 03, 2016

This is a good book, well researched and presented, with some very interesting factoids included. While not on the same esoteric and outstanding level as Jane Mayer's book, Dark Money, or David Talbot's recent book, The Devil's Chessboard, it is still well recommended. [I especially liked her presenting of the perfidy of the Clinton administration against Dr. Wen Ho Lee, kept in solitary confinement - - shackled hand and foot - - for 278 days, then found not guilty and released - - most probably a move by the Clinton administration to privatize the nuke labs and reward the managing to their cronies, and also that McCone, Kennedy's CIA director replacement for Dulles who was there during his murder in Dallas, sat on the board of ITT when Salvador Allende of Chile was killed!]

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