Gangs of America (Hardcover)

The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy

By Ted Nace

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 9781576752609, 296pp.

Publication Date: August 10, 2003

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (9/11/2005)
Paperback, Large Print, Large Print (8/18/2011)

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The corporation has become the core institution of the modern world. Designed to seek profit and power, it has pursued both with endless tenacity, steadily bending the framework of law and even challenging the sovereign status of the state. Where did the corporation come from? How did it get so much power? What is its ultimate trajectory?
After he sold his successful computer book publishing business to a large corporation, Ted Nace felt increasingly driven to find answers to these questions. In Gangs of America he details the rise of corporate power in America through a series of fascinating stories, each organized around a different facet of the central question: "How did corporations get more rights than people?" Beginning with the origin of the corporation in medieval Great Britain, Nace traces both the events that shaped the evolution of corporate power and the colorful personalities who played major roles. Gangs of America is a uniquely accessible synthesis of the latest scholarly research, a compelling historical narrative, and a distinctive personal voice.

About the Author

While working for the u.s. forest service during high school, Ted Nace learned about the plans of several major corporations to develop coal strip mines and other energy projects near his hometown of Dickinson, North Dakota. During graduate school, Nace worked for the Environmental Defense Fund, where he helped develop computerized simulations that demonstrated the investor and ratepayer benefits of re- placing coal-fired power plants with alternative energy programs. The EDF simulations led to the cancellation of a multi-billion-dollar coal- based power complex proposed by two California utilities. After completing his graduate studies, Nace worked for the Dakota Resource Council, a citizens’ group concerned about the impacts of energy development on agriculture and rural communities.

Praise For Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy

“An important and highly accessible book about the legal and political environments that shaped the modern corporation. Highly recommended.”

“A joy to read . . . clear, straight-forward, and very accessible . . . one of those books that can awaken people’s consciousness.”
—Corporate Reform Weekly

“Entertaining and sometimes arresting . . . the book is a lively read, and Nace is an interesting companion.”
—New Leader

“Gangs of America is a brilliant page-turner revealing how powerful, greedy corporations wage institutional terrorism. Reading it is the first step to saving our communities, our democracy, and our planet’s environment.”
—John Stauber, coauthor of Toxic Sludge Is Good for You!

“A beautifully documented and readable history.”
—Ben H. Bagdikian, author of The Media Monopoly

“The essential guide to the history of the American corporation. Nace explodes the myth of inevitability surrounding the corporate takeover of our lives.”
—Maria Elena Martinez, executive director, CorpWatch