Mes Michener especially his early books such as Tales of the South Pacific I was surprised at what a page turner it was and read it in ust a few hoursIn the 1950s America had decided that the USSR was our greatest enemy that Communism was dedicated to the eradication of our way of life that foreign aid was the solution to successfully overcoming these threats to freedom and democracy America it would seem was born in revolt against a powerful enemy and so must always have one selected to keep us goingThe point in The Ugly American is not that we should fail to fight against Communism but that we were going about it in all the wrong ways The authors claimed that incidents in the book were true with only the names changed According to their views we were losing the fight against Communism in Southeast Asia because our diplomats and foreign service workers were alienating the peoples of Vietnam Indonesia Burma Cambodia Laos and Thailand due to arrogance rudeness and the inappropriate appropriations of billions of dollars in those countriesAmbassadors and their administrative aides seldom knew anything about the countries where they served could not speak the languages and conseuently were woefully out of touch with the peoples In contrast to the chapters exemplifying the above are others about honest hardworking well intentioned Americans who actually helped certain Asian villagers improve their lots by small effective measures such as showing them how to farm effectively or start small industriesThe book had a large impact in America and some say it led the way to the formation of the Peace Corps I was surprised to see a chapter The Lessons of War in which a US Army Major one of the good ones studied Mao Tse tung s writings on war and "Figured Out Why The Western "out why the Western cannot ever win against Asian guerillasAs I finished the book I wondered if it was still relevant today After all haven t we won in Asia because of Coca Cola Hollywood movies fashion the internet and all that I came across Mekong Network that featured a review of The Ugly American Bruce Sharpe founder of the site is an American who became involved with modern day issues in Southeast Asia after he began tutoring refugees from those countries in Chicago The last line of his review statesAnd yet America s foreign policy is still haunted by the same mistakes The Cold War *is long finished and communism discredited but it hardly matters Who needs an enemy like *long finished and communism discredited but it hardly matters Who needs an enemy like when you are already your own worst enemySo we still have a problem with our image not only in the Middle East but also in Asia And yes The Ugly American is still relevant If you ve ever heard the term ugly American used this is where it originated And if you want to understand why many folks from other countries refer to some Americans using that phrase this book will make it crystal clear why they do Excellent read Again and again while reading this book I found myself flipping to the copyright page to check the publication date 1958 How it is possible that something so pressing and relevant to contemporary America appeared over 50 years agoFrom 1958 to 2014 few things it seems have changedThe Ugly American is a tale of American foreign policy gone wrong It s a series of vignettes about dumb and dumber statesmen who are propped up in relative luxury overseas inadvertently causing massive harm to smaller and weaker countries Its fictional One theory is that the book is based on an actual US ambassador to South Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker a rich businessman He never learned the language or left the compound He s only given the information that his staff thinks he ought to have I first encountered this book as part of an undergraduate political science class on American politics Among other long and dry reading assignments I found myself thoroughly engaged in the book and looking forward to spending time reading Lederer and Burdick s work In fact. Not only important but consistently entertaining The attack on American policy in Asia this book makes is clothed in sharp characterizations freuently humorous incident and perceptive descriptions of the countries and people where the action occurs Robert Trumbull former chief correspondent for the New York Times in China and Southeast Asi.
review · PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Ö William J. LedererI was told that this is an American classic and that every "Soldier And Diplomat Going Downrange "and diplomat going downrange represent the US should read it Recently while reading another book about the French fight in Indochina and how we inherited Viet Nam from that effort I ran across the backstory on The Ugly American and decided it was time to get a copy Fifty six years after publication the book is still relevant The gist of this work appears in the chapter that shares the book s name The simple fact is Mr Ambassador that average Americans in their natural state if you will excuse the phrase are the best ambassadors a country could have They are not suspicious they are eager to share their skills they are generous But something happens to most Americans when they go abroad Many of them are not average they are second raters Many of them against their own udgment feel that they must live up to their commissaries and big cars and cocktail parties But get an unaffected American sir and you have an asset And if you get one treasure him keep him out of the cocktail circuit away from bureaucrats and let him work in his own way The authors hammered this together back in 1958 with crises brewing in Viet Nam in Berlin and Cuba in the age where both we and the Communists were dividing up the world and wrestling with the revelation that we now had city killer weaponry when we were analyzing the lessons learned from Korea and watching our British and French allies empires crumble in Africa and Asia This book still holds a stark message If we are doing business in someone else s house we should send the best Americans we have even if we ve won the political fight to keep Khrushchev and Mao from eating up the Third World I would argue that even the chapters on Dien Bien Phu and Mao s blueprint for insurgency are worth a look even today because again the world hasn t gotten any simpler The common assessment still stands The Ugly American is an American classic and anyone representing America abroad should check it out The Ugly American is a story about Americans living and working in the fictional South East Asian nation of Sarkhan Written in 1958 it is a critiue of American foreign policy specifically the work of embassies and expats abroad In this novel Lederer argues that the US is losing the tiny battles against the Soviet Union The US is too focused on dumping money into countries and building giant infrastructure projects that host countries aren t prepared for and don t really need We pay for huge highways through ungles in Asian lands where there is no transport except bicycle and foot 282 Instead Lederer argues the US must focus on the tiny battles Americans abroad must learn the local language spend time in the countryside assess local needs and come up with small realistic solutions that help the every man Lederer makes this argument through his characters of which there are two basic types those th The Ugly American was published in 1958 as a call for change It was are two basic types those th The Ugly American was published in 1958 as a call for change It was blockbuster with millions of copies sold The authors wanted to alert the American people to the fact that their government s diplomatic efforts against communism were failing due to a combination of unualified people being put in the foreign service and a we know best approach to other nations There was an impact JFK did start the Peace Corps and did appoint ualified people rather than big donors as ambassadors Long term not only have the lessons of this book been disregarded the entire State Department has been effectively dismissed in favor of military plays around the globeThe book as literature is laughable It should be read by anyone wondering what the words caricature and stereotype mean Written at an 8th grade level perhaps deliberately in order to reach all Americans it is a collection of short stories about individual Americans blindly serving themselves in a foreign land in contrast to a few selfless Yankees doing The multi million copy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroadFirst published in 1958 The Ugly American became a runaway national bestseller for its slashing expose of American arrogance incompetence and corruption in Southeast Asia Based on fact the book's eye opening stories and sketches drew a devastating He right thing among the natives Everyone will get the point because it is driven home again and again Tying the whole together is a dedicated US Ambassador to a fictitious
Asian country Sarkan who travels the area honestly trying to educate himself on the situationTo put it bluntly The Ugly American is an insult to the intelligence of the readerThat puts me in a bind on rating this work It accomplished what it set out to do successfully reaching a huge number of Americans probably far than the authors had hoped to reach The cause was worthy so five stars are well deserved for propagandaBut to the modern reader well I continually had to stifle a gag At the same time I realize that 1950 s America was an age of innocence and the portrayals in this book might well have resonated with readers at the timeIn keeping with the 1950 s outlook communism is without a doubt evil a creeping deceiving menace out to capture the innocents of the world in a net of absolute control While there is plenty in the book about the US supporting France there is nothing about the history of Vietnam being a French colony of France s intention to regain that colony after WW2 and the full cooperation of the US in that effort Nothing is said of Ho Chi Minh s admiration of the US and his initial attempts to gain US support in opposition to French re entryFar from being innocent peasants cluelessly waiting for selfless American individuals to enlighten them on building water pumps and raising chickens the Vietnamese were painfully aware of how the West had dumped them as they strove for independence after the Japanese occupation of WW2 and how the real concern of non communists was to regain "Control To The Point "to the point halting elections in South Vietnam out of fear of a communist win It was because of this hypocritical stand that America made itself ugly Even if everything this book s authors recommended had been done it would have been nothing to counterbalance America s betrayal of it s own ideals in Vietnam in favor of an ideological battle with communismA 1963 movie was made from this book starring Marlon Brando as the US Ambassador to Sarkan The movie is an effective believable tragedy and has one of the most powerful final scenes of any movie I ve seen Forget the book See the movie *15 StarsI M So Glad *starsI m so glad semester is almost over because my Political Science class has the worst reading curriculum This book was so drybland and the explanations were incredibly long winded I skimmed the last 70 pages for the purposes of writing my essay Never again I say never again I read this book in 1982 ust before I oined the Peace Corps The book was important to me because it solidified the idea that we are all walking a path that is uniue and the that we are engrossed by our own path consumed by our own needs wishes and desires we will miss the beauty and uniueness of every other person and every culture under the sun The book is timeless in that we could once again be called Ugly Americans or perhaps accurately Oblivious Americans or Arrogant Americans or Self Absorbed Americans We have changed in part due to the writing of The Ugly American and have improved some aspects of the way we approach the world as a nation and as individuals but we have also been content in our changes without recognizing how far we have yet to go I fear we are still like the Embassy workers who are content with the parties and the good life and not enough like the soldier in the Philippines who changed the country not by compassion and goodwill but with a sincere desire for understanding and relationship that is the essence of what we were created to be Though The Ugly American was published in 1958 it rose to 6 on the bestseller list in 1959 Set in the fictional country Sarkhan it is a fictional account of American foreign policy in Southeast Asia and particularly in Vietnam The writing style is reminiscent of Ja. Icture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia Combining gripping storytelling with an urgent call to action the book prompted President Eisenhower to launch a study of our military aid program that led the way to much needed reformPowerful and absorbing Should be reuired reading in Washington Kirkus Reviews. ,southeast asian country