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"Meticulously researched and brilliantly argued, The Big Ditch provides a seminal analysis of the economic motivations and consequences of American imperialism. The book is not just about the Panama Canal, but also much more broadly about the nature and legacy of Western colonialism. It will force many of us to rethink what we thought we knew."--James Robinson, coauthor of Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy
"Why did the United States build the Panama Canal at tremendous cost in lives and treasure, and then give it away to the Panamanians? What exactly did we do with the Canal when we owned it? Did it make money or was it a boondoggle? Read this fascinating book and learn the answers."--Stephen Haber, Stanford University
"This landmark book offers important new insights that will significantly advance our understanding of the national and global economic consequences of the Panama Canal. It will have a profound and lasting impact on the history of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and represents a contribution to the emergent literature on the new political economy of empire."--Alan Dye, Barnard College, Columbia University
"This dynamic and entertaining book provides the first modern and quantitative interpretation of the economic and political history of the Panama Canal, one of the largest infrastructure works ever connected to the creation of a new country, the prevention of malaria and yellow fever, the reduction of transport prices, the promotion of international trade, and the redistribution of wealth in the United States."--Xavier Duran, London School of Economics and Political Science and Northwestern University