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Panama: The Whole Story Hardcover – May, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1St Edition edition (May 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067172794X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671727949
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a tense narrative that reads like a spy thriller, Buckley traces Manuel Noriega's ascension to power and his ties to the U.S. government. The book begins with an account of the murder of Noriega opponent Hugo Spadafora in 1985, which set in motion the chain of events culminating in Operation Just Cause in December 1989. Buckley raises questions about the invasion ("the single bloodiest event in Panama's history") and suggests that very little benefit to either side was accomplished other than the ouster of Noriega. The author describes Noriega's daily life in the "Dictator's Suite" at the Metropolitan Correctional Center near Miami and explains how his "long record of service" to Washington is in large part responsible for the bizarre legal tangle that threatens to delay his trial indefinitely. A former Newsweek bureau chief in Saigon, Buckley presents a gripping account of Central American-style hubris in action and grievous foreign-policy bungling on the part of the Americans.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The author, a former Newsweek correspondent, vividly describes events leading up to the "Just Cause" invasion of Panama by U.S. troops. His book covers the complexities of Panamanian political intrigues, the corruption, the political culture, the involvement of the United States with Manuel Noriega, and the interaction between Noriega and the major domestic and international actors from 1986 through January 1990. Using details and anecdotal information, Buckley fleshes out the motivations and actions of each character, maintaining throughout a sense of suspense and mystery, even for the specialist familiar with the events. Highly recommended for all libraries.
- Roderic A. Camp, Central Coll., Pella, Ia.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Calugo on December 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having lived in Panama during the Noriega dictatorship, I am an avid reader of books covering this particular period of Panamanian history. While I found Kevin Buckley's book to be generally well written, it tries to cover too much ground in too little space, providing readers with an abbreviated account of major events during the rule of strong men Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. For a more in-depth perspective on Panamanian history, I found that using the names of these two dictators as key words in my search resulted in a better selection of books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on November 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Buckley shows how America sometimes creates its own problems. This is shown by the rise and fall of Manuel Antonio Noriega (MAN for short). MAN played both sides of the street. He supported the Contras and yet also supported the Marti front in El Salvador. He turned in drug smugglers but also facilitated the mass importation of cocaine to the U.S. from Columbia. Yet the United States supported him until he became an embarassment to U.S. Foreign policy. Bush I met with him twice. MAN was also a killer. He used his PDF to suppress the oposition. MAN was also a drunk most of his waking hours. Why the U.S. ever supported him is beyond me.

Buckley shows the contradictions in U.S. policy. Eventually, the U.S. had to use extreme force in Operation Just Cause to topple MAN's regime. This is a nice read about an embarassment in U.S. Foreign policy. For another nice read on the same subject see "In the Time of Tyrants". The only improvement in this book would be the addition of pictures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chris on April 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Very useful, readable account of the events surrounding the invasion, and vivid details of another example of the age-old American policy of overthrowing foriegn regimes.

Often critical but never overtly opinionated, Buckley's best section relates to the failed U.S.-backed coup and its tragic aftermath.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Barringer on November 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since 1989, when the United States invaded Panama, there have been no shortage of books looking to explain what exactly led up to the American intervention there. Who is Noriega? What did he do to make himself so useful to the United States government in the early 1980s, and how did he fall from grace so spectacularly? Buckley's book is good, very good, and worth a read for any student of central American history, foreign policy, United States military history, and the like. It was also used a source for David Harris' excellent book, "Shooting the Moon," which I recommend wholeheartedly (it's actually better than this one is).
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