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Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (Second Edition) 2nd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393309645
ISBN-10: 0393309649
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The first edition of Inevitable Revolutions, published ten years ago, was widely hailed and quickly became a bestseller. Now, completely revised and updated--one third of its contents are entirely new--Walter LaFeber brings to a new generation of readers the story, in Arthur Schlesinger's words, 'of a long and squalid history of U.S. exploitation and intervention combined with neglect-a history whose consequences we are reaping today.'

About the Author

Walter LaFeber is professor of history at Cornell University and the author of The Clash and Inevitable Revolutions.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2 edition (January 17, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393309649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393309645
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In Inevitable Revolutions, Walter LaFeber paints a thorough picture of United States involvement in Central America. It is a sordid picture. Tracing back to the mid-19th century, LaFeber pinpoints the moments when the U. S. government began carving out its sphere of influence in this poor region. He comprehensively brings his analysis into the 20th century with corporations such as United Fruit and the continuing utilization and expansion of the Monroe Doctrine. This concept was continually shaped in so many various ways that it became unrecognizable from its original form. Of course the dominating force in Central America in the middle and later parts of this century was anti-communism. LaFeber justly attacks characters such as the Dulles brothers, who selfishly pursued their own agenda at the expense of the people in the region. Support for dictators and military-oligarchial complexes play a major part of this century's troubles in Central America. The Somozas in Nicaragua benefitted from their close relationships with US lawmakers and politicians. Somoza (all three of them) made our politicians feel comfortable, they spoke English, and they went to our universities, they also carefully guarded our institutions and corporations. This is really a sad history, the bottom line is that scores of people in these countries never benefitted from the US-Central American relationship. The Reagan era proved to be worse than any other eras, the revolutions and their after effects finally came to fruition. LaFeber shows that if the Reagan administration had not looked to Central America as a zealot's playground, there could have been measurable progress. A sordid tale, indeed.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book as part of a Political Science course I took, "The Politics of Revolution". I found this work both highly enjoyable and informative. The author does and excellent job of analyzing American foreign policy towards the region of central america as a whole, and then breaking it down and reviewing US involvement in each of the countries. Whether this book has a "politcal agenda" or not (I don't see how any book on history or political science could not) is not the issue. The author points out mistakes in US foreign policy, as well as its ambiguities and paradoxes. I also found the book to be well written and easy to read, I found myself reading 100 pages one night without even putting the book down. Many of my classmates however, found the book to be difficult to read, so that must be taken into account as well. But, for me, I found the book to be an excellent one-volume work on the region and US involement there in the 20th century, and the results of such involvement. It should not be so neatly wrapped up and generalized as being "left-wing presentist bias" as some people seem to do.
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Format: Paperback
Written by a distinguished historian of American foreign relations, Inevitable Revolutions is a well written and well documented history of USA policy towards Central America from the end of the 19th century to the Reagan/Bush 1 period. Lafeber provides not only the basic narrative but a nice analysis of the basic structural features of US-Central American relations. The fundamental structural feature that emerges at the end of the 19th century is essentially an colonial one. The Central American nations are the site of considerable US investment and their role in the US economy is to provide primary products for the US market and markets for US industries. In addition, the Central American nations (like several Caribbean nations also subject to US domination) are close to crucial sea lanes, a fact enhanced by the construction of the Panama canal. To guarantee political and economic stability, the US government underwrites the power of local oligarchies. In the first decades of the 20th century, this involves numerous direct military interventions. By the 30s, however, US power rested on indirect rule via indigeous governments, usually oppressive military regimes like that of the Somoza family, ruling in tandem with a small upper class. The nature of the economic relationship between the US and the central American nations, and continued population growth, resulted in progressive impoverishment of the majority of people in central American. The ultimate result is that political and social change are possible only via violent political revolutions, either coups to transfer power within the ruling elites, or actual attempts at real social revolutions aimed at the reconstruction of society.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A reader" wrote a scathing review of this book, which actually inspired me to read it. "A reader" obviously has never read the book, and relies on the back cover quotes to critique the entire book. He uses the common "mistake" defense: if America causes a atrocity, it is a "mistake".

This typical, preprogrammed, ideological, response just shows "a reader" has never read the book. Lafeber meticulously goes through the ENTIRE history of Central America and shows that America's support of dictators and the frequent American intervention is not a "mistake". Americas foreign policy instead is a very successful and profitable policy for American business interests and a small Latin American elite.

"it is very clear that this is agenda history or left-wing propaganda more than it is history."

When you boil down what "A reader" is trying to say is that if this book does not sing the praises of Americanism (the religion of Americans), he will not read it.

"but if you are writing a "history" book be fair and objective and not so obviously political."

What "a reader" means is a "history" which praises America, similar to high school textbooks. A history which ignores or justifies away all of America's massacres.

If a history book doesn't have this tone, "a reader" will not read passed the back cover, nor unfortunately, will most Americans, to our neighbors to the south's detriment.

Thanks "a reader" your mindless Americanism encouraged me to read this book!
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