In This Review

F.D.R.'S Good Neighbor Policy: Sixty Years of Generally Gentle Chaos
F.D.R.'S Good Neighbor Policy: Sixty Years of Generally Gentle Chaos
By Fredrick B. Pike
University Of Texas Press, 1995, 394 pp
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A brilliant though unorthodox treatment of the cultural and intellectual developments that lay behind the policy of the Good Neighbor. The influence of culture on foreign policy is a theme open to absurd generalizations and pointless anecdotes and is often dealt with poorly. Pike does it superbly, with successive chapters that illuminate how the Great Depression profoundly altered the way in which many norteamericanos and Latin Americans conceived of their mutual relations. The years of the Good Neighbor, roughly coterminous with F.D.R.'s presidency, find Americans reconsidering virtually everything, and the sly but likable Roosevelt--who had a knack for doing things B la latina--winning admiration in Latin America for the style and substance of his policy. Though the 1930s are a highly unusual period in inter-American relations, Pike manages to shed a penetrating light on broader trends and attitudes within that relationship, and not only in the concluding section that brings the story up to the present. This charming and perceptive work deserves a wide readership among students of hemispheric relations.