- Series: Series on Latin American Studies (Book 4)
- Paperback: 330 pages
- Publisher: David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; Revised edition (December 30, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067401930X
- ISBN-13: 978-0674019300
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, Revised and Expanded (Series on Latin American Studies) Revised Edition
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About the Author
Stephen Schlesinger is Director of the World Policy Institute.
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One can feel the indignation as they turn the pages of Bitter Fruit that the coup plan would extend so far into the US government at a point in time where the US government had just won World War II and stood for freedom and democracy for such a relatively minor business interest. As we sit and think about it, maybe it was just a harbinger of things to come, is it not a similar idea behind Middle Eastern oil or Geopolitical self-interests? The United States will support any bad guy as long as they give the US what they want.
Perhaps the big story is not that it happened, but that it could happen again.
Unlike some reviewers, I don't find it biased at all, in fact I read it without much knowledge of the conflict and understood clearly both sides of it. This isn't a story about good innocent guys suffering from the hands of bad gringos, it's a story about wrong incentives both among Guatemalans and owners of the United Fruit Company.
I currently work in a Mexican company started by one of the 150,000 Guatemalan immigrants of the 80s. I had never given much thought on this before, but now I can even relate better to the history of my own job and the nature of some cultural traits I find both in Mexicans and Guatemalans.
I had thought it would be hard reading as an academic production. I was wrong. This carefully documented book gives in great detail the recent history of Guatemala, and America's role in that history. For me, it was extremely interesting. It read like a John Grisham novel; I couldn't put it down; I wanted to know what happened next. Tragically, it is a true horror story, with terrible consequences for Guatemala and thus for all of us. An estimated 200,000 Guatemalans died in a civil war begun by the clearly illegal and immoral actions of the USA CIA and army, with the knowledge and approval of US Presidents starting with President Eisenhower. As a result, progress in such matters as land reform and justice for all in Guatemala has been compromised to this day.
I hope that all Americans read and take to heart this very powerful book.
More importantly, Bitter Fruit is supported by excellent sources - many Freedom of Information Act documents and also many memoirs and interviews of people involved in the events. This is comforting and assures that while the book is almost written in the style of a fictional thriller, the authors did not take any liberties of rewriting or embellishing history to make the book more fun to read.
Schlesinger and Kinzer also do an excellent job of providing the background of the parties involved and the historical context in which the revolution and coup took place. They also wrap up the book well in their 'Aftermath' final chapter and provide much needed closure to the story, in which they discuss the fates of the major players since the coup.