The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.


672 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-676-97800-1
DDC 306.3'42






Reviewed by Sean Hurley


When the advocates of unfettered free markets speak of “opportunity” amid the wreckage of the current global economic crisis, readers of The Shock Doctrine must surely be worried. The author of this book leads the reader from the electric shock and LSD therapy of Canada’s own mad scientist, Ewen Cameron, through Latin America, Asia, Russia, and Iraq. The connecting thread is the effort at erasing the personality of the individual or the culture of the state and leaving a blank slate on which to redraw and, in the case of nations, to plunder. “This is how the shock doctrine works,” she explains, “shocked societies often give up the things they would otherwise fiercely protect.”


Klein is one of the world’s most important journalists, and she brings to the reader an entertaining, terrifying, and ultimately hopeful insight into global politics and economics from a perspective not previously examined. Her research is meticulous and well documented. However, it is her uncanny ability to recognize obscure patterns and bring them into clear focus for observation that is the genius behind her journalism.


The Shock Doctrine will appeal to an audience that is familiar with the politics and history of the late 20th century, but would not likely find favour with the disciples of deceased economics guru Milton Friedman, whose neo-liberal philosophy Klein effectively takes to task. This book is immensely readable and includes an index to complement the table of contents as well as detailed notes for self-researchers.


At a time when trillions of dollars are being used to bail out the world’s largest banks and their obscenely wealthy executives while working men and women are being told to make sacrifices and lower their expectations, the message of The Shock Doctrine could not be more relevant nor more necessary. In the context of current events, it is a must-read.


Klein, Naomi., “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,