Why this book?
I read historian Shattered Hope while a graduate student at an American university and it forever changed my sense of the complexity and nuance of Cold War-era U.S. interventions in the Americas, in this case, Washington’s overthrow of a democratically-elected leftist head of state: Jacobo Árbenz. Two decades hence, I love the book even more for its boldness and historical rigor but also the author's willingness to break taboos like the widely-held notion that there was little communistic influence in Árbenz’s government.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
The most thorough account yet available of a revolution that saw the first true agrarian reform in Central America, this book is also a penetrating analysis of the tragic destruction of that revolution. In no other Central American country was U.S. intervention so decisive and so ruinous, charges Piero Gleijeses. Yet he shows that the intervention can be blamed on no single "convenient villain." "Extensively researched and written with conviction and passion, this study analyzes the history and downfall of what seems in retrospect to have been Guatemala's best government, the short-lived regime of Jacobo Arbenz, overthrown in 1954, by…