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Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World


Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World Cover

ISBN13: 9781847671943
ISBN10: 1847671942
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Publisher Comments:

In this compelling history of the United Fruit Company, Financial Times writer Peter Chapman weaves a dramatic tale of big business, deceit, and violence, exploring the origins of arguably one of the most controversial global corporations ever, and the ways in which their pioneering example set the precedent for the institutionalized greed of todays multinational companies.

The story has its source in United Fruits nineteenth-century beginnings in the jungles of Costa Rica. What follows is a damning examination of the companys policies: from the marketing of the banana as the first fast food, to the companys involvement in an invasion of Honduras, a massacre in Colombia, and a bloody coup in Guatemala. Along the way the company fostered covert links with U.S. power brokers such as Richard Nixon and CIA operative Howard Hunt, manipulated the press in new, and stoked the revolutionary ire of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.

From the exploited banana republics of Central America to the concrete jungle of New York City, Peter Chapmans Bananas is a lively and insightful cultural history of the coveted yellow fruit, as well as a gripping narrative about the infamous rise and fall of the United Fruit Company.

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Shoshana, December 29, 2009 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Three stars for content, one star for writing style, so two stars overall. Chapman presents very interesting information rather haphazardly, leaving many questions unanswered. In addition, he's a pretty clunky writer. The reader has to work to follow his inexplicable mid-paragraph topic changes and unfortunate grammar.

The content is worth it, if the reader perseveres. Chapman provides some background on bananas' natural history and modern banana culture. He associates this with the history of the United Fruit Company, focusing on its agricultural practices (monoculture, pesticides) and political practices (monopolies, underhanded dealings, colluding with military forces to take over countries (whence, apparently, the phrase "banana republic"), and intimidation.

It's a useful story to consider as we examine the espoused and covert roles of the U.S. in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Chapman makes it hard to keep reading.
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Product Details

Chapman, Peter
Canongate Us
Corporate History
Corporate & Business History - General
Industries - Agribusiness
Latin America - Central America
Business-History and Biography
Edition Description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Publication Date:
7.75 x 5 in 8.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Latin America » General
History and Social Science » World History » Central America
History and Social Science » World History » Latin America

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Product details 240 pages Conongate Us - English 9781847671943 Reviews:
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