Summary of Gangs of America

The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy

Berrett-Koehler, more...

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Gangs of America book summary
The surprisingly complex history of corporate power is ancient, dark and far more intriguing than you might imagine.


8 Overall

3 Applicability

10 Innovation

8 Style


This interesting book traces the history and development of corporations from the time of Queen Elizabeth I to the present day. Much of the book focuses on little-known episodes in the corporate chronicle - the cruel Jamestown settlement in Virginia, for example, or the British East India Company’s depredations in India. About midway through, the book shifts from such tales to a close examination of Supreme Court justices who tilted the playing field in favor of corporate power. Breezily written and accessible, this book puts a lengthy and complicated history easily within reach of ordinary readers. Its bias is clear - the subtitle leaves no doubt that author Ted Nace is a foe of corporate power - and the closer to the present the story comes, the more accusatory the author’s conclusions may seem. Nonetheless, finds this is a worthwhile read for those who seek background information on the dark side of the American corporate success story.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What the nature of corporate power is
  • How corporations historically have used the political process to gain power
  • How some corporations utilized power corruptly, including the power of pals on the Supreme Court


The Author’s Revelation
Ted Nace founded a little company called Peachpit Press to publish his how-to books. His company grew and prospered, and the author, who was also CEO, believes he became more and more detached from daily reality. At one point, he was shocked to find that the people...
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About the Author

Ted Nace once served as staff director of the Dakota Resource Council, organizing farmers and ranchers against rural coal strip mines and power plants. Nace became a freelance writer for PC World, Macworld and Publish. In 1985, he founded Peachpit Press to self-publish how-to books. He sold the company in 1996 to the Pearson conglomerate and returned to political activism and writing.

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