Tom Engelhardt

Tom Engelhardt is the founder of TomDispatch and a fellow at Type Media Center. TomDispatch began in November 2001 as his unnamed e-list of commentary and collected articles from the world press. In December 2002, it gained its name, became a project of Type Media Center, and went online as “a regular antidote to the mainstream media.”

Before that, Engelhardt worked as an editor at Pacific News Service in the early 1970s, and, these last three decades, an editor in book publishing. He was Senior Editor at Pantheon Books for 15 years, where he edited and published award-winning works ranging from Art Spiegelman’s Maus and John Dower’s War Without Mercy to Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire trilogy. He is now Consulting Editor at Metropolitan Books, as well as co-founder and co-editor of Metropolitan’s best-selling American Empire Project. Many of the authors whose books he has edited and published over the years now write for TomDispatch. A collection of interviews with several of them were published in Mission Unaccomplished: TomDispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters (Nation Books, 2006), and The World According to TomDispatch: America and the Age of Empire (Verso, 2008).

His most recent books are A Nation Unmade by WarShadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World; The United States of Fear; and, with Nick Turse, Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050. He is also the author of The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s (Haymarket Books, 2010) and the highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture (University of Massachusetts, 1998), which has just been thoroughly updated in a newly issued edition that deals with victory culture’s crash-and-burn sequel in Iraq, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing.

Recent Work

Tomgram: Engelhardt, An "Earned Media" Presidency

Face it: it’s been an abusive time, to use a word he likes to wield…

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Unquiet Flows The Don

Who could forget that moment?

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Anniversaries That Never Will Be

We’re already two years past the crystal anniversary and eight years short of the silver one, or at least we would be, had it been a wedding — and, after a fashion, perhaps it was…

Best of TomDispatch: Engelhardt, Putting War Back in Children's Culture

Now that Darth Vader’s breathy techno-voice is a staple of our culture, it’s hard to remember how empty was the particular sector of space Star Wars blasted into…

Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World

Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World

In 1964, a book entitled The Invisible Government shocked Americans with its revelations of a growing world of intelligence agencies playing fast and loose around the planet, a secret government lodged inside the one they knew that even the president didn’t fully control. Almost half a century later, everything about that “invisible government” has grown vastly larger, more disturbing, and far more visible. In Shadow Government, Tom Engelhardt takes in something new under the sun: what is no longer, as in the 1960s, a national security state, but a global security one, fighting secret wars that have turned the president into an assassin-in-chief. Shadow Government offers a powerful survey of a democracy of the wealthy that your grandparents wouldn’t have recognized.


The United States of Fear

The United States of Fear

In 2008, when the U.S. National Intelligence Council issued its latest report meant for the administration of newly elected President Barack Obama, it predicted that the planet’s “sole superpower” would suffer a modest decline and a soft landing fifteen years hence.

In The United States of Fear, Tom Engelhardt makes clear that Americans should don their crash helmets and buckle their seat belts, because the United States is on the path to a major decline at a startling speed. Engelhardt offers a savage anatomy of how successive administrations in Washington took the “Soviet path”—pouring American treasure into the military, war, and national security—and so helped drive their country off the nearest cliff.

A Nation Unmade by War

A Nation Unmade by War

As veteran author Tom Engelhardt argues, despite having a more massive, technologically advanced, and better-funded military than any other power on the planet, in the last decade and a half of constant war across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, the United States has won nothing. Its unending wars, in fact, have only contributed to a world growing more chaotic by the second.

From its founding, the United States has been a nation made by wars. Through incisive analysis and characteristic wit, Engelhardt ponders whether in this century, its citizenry and government will be unmade by them.


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