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U.S. Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story (New Cold War History) Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 26, 2009
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"This cautionary tale constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of major power intervention in Latin America and the rest of the world."
Hispanic American Historical Review
"A deeply engaging, lucid, and superb book. . . . The most complete account to date of what actually took place in British Guiana. . . . [Rabe's] research is meticulous; his factual presentation is flawless . . . his judgment is on the mark."
Journal of Cold War Studies
"Rabe has succeeded in artfully weaving a narrative that almost seamlessly balances a number of separate and complex conflicts. . . . Deserves to be, and should become, the standard text for the U.S. subversion of British Guiana for the foreseeable future."
Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe
U.S. Intervention in British Guiana is built on memorable characterizations of important world leaders and a close examination of their leadership. It is hard to hold onto romanticized images of Kennedy and Churchill after reading about how they casually betrayed Guiana. Cheddi Jagan belongs alongside Salvador Allende, Jacobo Arbenz, and Mohammad Mossadeq in the roster of popular, democratic leaders victimized by American misunderstanding.--Nick Cullather
This cautionary tale constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of major power intervention in Latin America and the rest of the world.--Hispanic American Historical Review
A deeply engaging, lucid, and superb book. . . . The most complete account to date of what actually took place in British Guiana. . . . [Rabe's] research is meticulous; his factual presentation is flawless . . . his judgment is on the mark.--Journal of Cold War Studies
Rabe has succeeded in artfully weaving a narrative that almost seamlessly balances a number of separate and complex conflicts. . . . Deserves to be, and should become, the standard text for the U.S. subversion of British Guiana for the foreseeable future.--Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe
With persistent and thorough research, Stephen Rabe uncovers a story the Central Intelligence Agency didn't want the public to know. The Agency systematically burned its documents on British Guiana, but it couldn't remove traces that remained in British archives, the records of labor unions, and in private hands. Its broad outline is all too familiar. . . . Policymakers from the Pentagon to the Green Zone should take note of Guiana's lesson: that 'regime change' can turn easily and disastrously into ethnic warfare.--Nick Cullather
Rabe skillfully analyzes the mix of racial, geopolitical, developmental, and sexual assumptions out of which American strategists drew their tragic misinterpretations of Guianese events. . . . As Rabe shows, cultural preconceptions shaped policy as much, or more, than economic or political interests. Rabe has recovered a crucial episode in the cold war and interpreted it with verve and sophistication.--Nick Cullather, Indiana University
Rabe manages to drive home the pathos of Guyana's political history from the 1950s to the 1990s and in particular to reveal the heavy price the Guyanese people paid as hapless victims of America's Cold War.--Journal of American History
[U.S. Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story] makes an important contribution to the historical scholarship on British Guiana's (Guyana) struggle for independence. It should appeal to college students, scholars, government officials and others with an interest in Guyana and the Cold War.--The Americas
A highly instructive history of an important and tragic place in Cold War history. Rabe's introduction of newly released documents will no doubt spark other scholars' interest in expanding and exploring new facets of this story.--American Historical Review
An important addition to the growing number of scholarly works on Guyana.--H-Caribbean
A definitive and innovative analysis. . . . Rabe has found a rich and more complicated history of repeated and persistent US interventions in Guyana between 1953 and 1969 that has remained largely unknown.--International History Review
Stephen Rabe's study of U.S. intervention in British Guiana under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson serves up some first-rate history by a first-rate historian. It provides a disturbing account of how far obsessional anti-Communists would go to make sure that no 'second Cuba' took hold in South America, even though no real evidence demonstrated that Cheddi Jagan posed such a threat.--Mark T. Gilderhus, Texas Christian University
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
This book should be a must for all secondary school students in Guyana.
The subversion of Guyana was only one act in the very hot US war against Latin America, maintaining an imperial sphere of influence under cover of anti-Communism. The latter, of course, meant whatever those in Washington wished it to mean (ie, the "duck test"). Neutralism was all good in Asia, Africa, or on the Yugoslav rim of the Soviet bloc: but certainly not an option in the Western Hemisphere any more than the Danube basin. In seeking to prevent "another Cuba," Washington ironically justified to Castro the wisdom of his own course: go for broke and burn bridges via a revolutionary dictatorship, refusing to be bound by rules of democracy the other side had no intention of respecting while formally defecting to the opposite side with no apology.
Interesting, too, was the US embrace of "affirmative action" in the form of Forbes Burnham's racist demagoguery, at a time when Black Power advocates were the subject of FBI entanglement. Jagan was lucky - unlike other left reformers, he survived to see his own vindication by returning to power and - this last time - serving his full elected term. That Washington's behavior was essentially about empire, and not countering "international Communist aggression," was further illustrated in the parallel attitude toward Chavez' Venezuela.
As Stalin once told the Yugoslav Milovan Djilas, modern war was not like wars of the past. Now a victorious power must impose its own social system as far as its armies can reach - men at arms or mobs with sticks. While a bit repetitious and meandering, Rabe's book is essential reading for those interested in the real cold war - the one fought at home, in as dirty a manner as Stalin could have wished.