The Ugly American

The Ugly American

Book - 2019
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A piercing exposé of American incompetence and corruption in Southeast Asia, The Ugly American captivated the nation when it was first published in 1958. The book introduces readers to an unlikely hero in the titular "ugly American"--and to the ignorant politicians and arrogant ambassadors who ignore his empathetic and commonsense advice. In linked stories and vignettes set in the fictional nation of Sarkhan, William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick draw an incisive portrait of American foreign policy gone dangerously wrong--and how it might be fixed.Eerily relevant sixty years after its initial publication, The Ugly American reminds us that "today, as the battle for hearts and minds has shifted to the Middle East, we still can't speak Sarkhanese" (New York Times).
Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton and Company, 2019.
Copyright Date: ©1986.
ISBN: 9780393356724
0393356728
Characteristics: vi, 267 pages ;,21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Burdick, Eugene - Author

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FAIL-SAFE made a better film, starring Henry Fonda. This novel teaches quite a lot from the point of view of our diplomatic corp, of why we were stuck in that morass called Southeast Asia.

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lukasevansherman
Aug 24, 2014

If nothing else, Lederer and Burdick's "The Ugly American" was the rare book title that entered the lexicon. This book was something of a sensation when it was released in the Cold War atmosphere of the 50s and, as such, has to be read in context. Set in a fictional Southeast Asian country, it is critical of American foreign policy, especially the way it was combating communism in Asia. It is interesting (and a little depressing) as a look at Vietnam before we became involved militarily. Graham Greene's "The Quiet American" is a similar, if more cynical book. Turned into a film with Marlon Brando and followed by a sorta sequel called "The Deceptive American." Co-writer Burdick also wrote "Fail-Safe."

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