Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution And The United States, 1944-1954

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Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution And The United States, 1944-1954

By Piero Gleijeses
Princeton University Press, 1991
418 pp. $29.95
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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 a CIA-orchestrated coup. By focusing primarily on the Guatemalan background of the Arbenz regime, the author paints a detailed and credible picture. He downplays the oft-discussed role of the United Fruit Company in opposing Arbenz, credits Washington with improving its intelligence and understanding over the course of the Guatemalan revolution and makes it plain that the communists did have a significant and growing influence in the Arbenz entourage, although they did not come close to taking over the country. "There is no convenient villain of the piece, but rather a complex interplay of imperial hubris, security concerns and economic interests"-all contributing to a tragic and bloody detour in Guatemala's history.

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