- Series: David Rockefeller Center Series on Latin American Studies (Book 4)
- Paperback: 374 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; Expanded edition (August 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674075900
- ISBN-13: 978-0674075900
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #959,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala Expanded Edition
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The reappearance of this small classic is most welcome and important. It helps us understand the disasters that misshaped U.S. and Central American relations after 1954, especially into the 1980s and 1990s.
--Walter LaFeber, Cornell University
From the Publisher
With an introduction by Harrison Salisbury and a new foreword for the 1990 edition, the authors have written a history which reads like a thriller, detailing the dirty tricks, the manipulation of public opinion, and the corrupt foreign policy which characterized U.S. involvement in Guatemala. They show that this covert action became a blueprint for later incursions by the U.S. into Central America. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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.
Kinzer and Schlesinger's writing is impeccable, and somehow manages to stay apolitical. The authors do an excellent job of not flaunting the miscues of the American overthrow of Guatemala's democratically elected government, but merely let the facts from all angles tell their own story. In addition, the writing is quite fast-paced in style but pays attentive detail to fact and exhautively denotes the sources behind the writing. I purchased this for reading as part of a class assignment - and then cited it in two places in my senior essay!
So instead of buying a FICTIONAL thriller or adventure or spy novel for your downtime reading, why not pick up a book where the plot . . . actually happened?! In addition, despite being originally published a quarter century ago, the book is amazingly relevant to issues in today's foreign policy (*cough* Iraq *cough*). Also, I HIGHLY recommend for history buffs like myself - but this book can be enjoyed by anyone. Well, "enjoyed" isn't really the word - after reading this book, I felt a sense of anger towards our government for their selfish actions 50 years ago, and a sense of pity toward the people of Guatemala, who had no idea what hit them. But the feelings weren't on the level as to wish that I had never read the book - on the contrary, it made me feel more enlightened both about the Cold War era as well as today's international climate.