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Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama (American Encounters/Global Interactions) Paperback – February 11, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0822330981 ISBN-10: 0822330989

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Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama (American Encounters/Global Interactions) + The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914
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Product Details

  • Series: American Encounters/Global Interactions
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (February 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822330989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822330981
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Lindsay-Poland´s book Emperors in the Jungle should be read by all Americans who do not understand why the U.S. has a serious image problem overseas and how the Department of Defense weakens U.S. policy. My experience is that the U.S. military becomes arrogant, hypocritical and unwilling to comply with treaty commitments when there is a budgetary cost involved, even if it means like in Panama, leaving behind threats to human life, health and safety.”— Fernando Manfredo Jr.,  former Panama Canal Treaty negotiator and co-Chairman of the Panama-U.S. Working Group for the removal of the hazards in the U.S. military ranges in Panama.


“[John Lindsay-Poland] tells us of ill-known truths and badly understood realities and thus helps prevent useless hatreds between two peoples who share so much common history. Panamanians must aspire to be universal if we want to survive as a people and as a nation in a globalized world, but we can only achieve that if we are authentic. On that path toward ourselves, John Lindsay-Poland has been and will be a welcome friend.”— Guillermo Castro, Panamanian sociologist, from the afterword


Emperors in the Jungle stands out as a most valuable contribution to understandings of the complex relationship between the United States and a tiny neighbor. It is one of the best available examples of Thucydides’s dictum that large nations do what they want, and small nations accept what they must, yet at the same time a reminder that small nations are not without power—after all is said and done, Panama now owns its canal.”—Lars Schoultz, author of Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy toward Latin America


”John Lindsay-Poland has dedicated himself to issues of human rights and justice for Panamanians. His tireless efforts continue to motivate people and shed needed light on the truths he discovers. Emperors in the Jungle is a timeless look at the real dimensions of U.S. foreign policy.”—Barbara Trent, director of the Academy Award®-winning documentary, The Panama Deception

About the Author

John Lindsay-Poland is Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean. He is a coauthor of Inside Panama: The Essential Guide to its Politics, Economy, Society, and Environment. He was the editor of and staff writer for the quarterly Panamá Update and has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, NACLA Report on the Americas, The Progressive, Covert Action Quarterly, and Fellowship, among other publications.

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Peter M. Sanchez on May 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Lindsay-Poland has written an exceptional book that brings to light fascinating information about US activities and motivations in Panama. Anyone interested in Panama and/or US-Panama relations must read this book. Rather than looking at the isthmus superficially, e.g., focusing on the Noriega crisis or the Canal Treaties, the author takes an historical view of US military interests in Panama and even globally. The book is factual, insightful and enjoyable!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen Saum on February 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Emperors in the Jungle" by John Lindsay-Poland, co-director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean, is a "must read" for Americans to understand what has indeed been "the hidden history of the U.S. in Panama."

After the Spanish-American War, 1898, when with the acquisition of the Philippines, the United States became a Pacific power and before we had an armada in every body of water on earth, it became imperative that our navy be able to travel quickly between our interests across the Atlantic Ocean and our new interests in lands across the Pacific. The answer was a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. The story of U.S. manipulation and conquest of that land is splendidly told by Lindsay-Poland in "Emperors in the Jungle."

As the granddaughter of one of those Americans who, escaping poverty in Ohio, helped build that canal, and the daughter of a woman born in a construction town flooded in the creation of Gatun Lake as part of that canal, as a patriot of Panama as well as of the United States, I was heartened to read an account of the history between these two countries as accurate and balanced as Lindsay-Poland's.

I quarrel with only a couple small inaccuracies, for instance that Americans in Panama did not share with Panamanians the loss of certain consumer goods during World War II. As a child, I remember my mother and her sisters struggling to draw a line on the back of their calves to simulate the seam of silk stockings which were not available; and my dad's drinking rum for the duration as Scotch, too, had disappeared.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Froehlich on October 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I thought I was reasonably well informed about U.S. history in Panama. While reading EMPERORS IN THE JUNGLE, I realized how many major events I hadn't known about. Among them are these:

* The U.S. military intervened 20 times since 1856.
* The U.S. wrote the one-sided 1903 canal treaty and basically imposed it on Panama.
* The leading cause of death in building the canal was due to pneumonia and TB because of poor working and living conditions for the West Indian workforce.
* The U.S. invasion in 1989 was the most violent event since Panama became independent in 1903.
* The U.S. decided to invade and remove Noriega in 1989 even as we supported far more brutal generals in El Salvador and Guatemala.
* The U.S. conducted extensive testing of chemical weapons in Panama.
* The U.S. conducted a 14-year investigation (1956-1970) of using 250 nuclear weapons to excavate a new sea-level canal.
* When the U.S. departed at the end of 1999, it left behind more than 800,000 acres adjacent to growing communities contaminated with tens of thousands of explosives, despite the fact that the 1977 canal treaty obligated the U.S. to first remove all threats to life, health and safety.

John Lindsay-Poland obviously knows his subject well, especially his first-hand knowledge about negotiations in the 1990s to clean up the shooting ranges, which contained many generations of unexploded ordinance.

In short, this book is an unsettling eye-opener for Americans who have heretofor settled for the heroic U.S. version of the canal construction and who didn't understand it when President Carter agreed to turn the Canal and the Canal Zone over to Panama. Some other reviewers take umbrage with a version of history where the US role has not always been heroic. In this case, it's better to recognize that history is not the sanitized version we were taught in school and wish it were.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mascarin Perigault on July 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
John Lindsay-Poland we reviewed in this story the hidden history of the U.S. in Panama. The book has seven parts but really addresses five key issues.

Initially gives us a look, very briefly, the history of relations between Panama and USA for the reader who is not familiar with knowing. Immediately going to address the five issues separately: prohibited weapons tests in different sites of Panama, the intentions of making a canal by nuclear means in Darien, intentions to establish military bases after 2000 with the aim disguised control drugs, environmental problems that increase with more damming rivers along with the creation of new reservoirs for the canal expansion and the sale of the land reverted to the highest bidder.

The book is clear, direct, sounding journalistic purpose. Clearly shows how the rulers of Panama agreed or collaborated when they were informed and how many times they were not even informed.

It shows how since 1939 had begun to expand the canal and as expected until it reverted to Panama for the Panamanians were those who bear the cost of extending that benefit most benefits Panama international shipping interests, to words of author.

It is a book that all should read Panamanian. There is a Spanish edition published by the University of Panama in 2003, of which 1,000 copies were printed but not found either in the library of the university and this has nothing to do with the sale or distribution, that is, we must trace to find.
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