Yankee No! Anti-Americanism in U.S.-Latin American Relations

In This Review

Yankee No! Anti-Americanism in U.S.-Latin American Relations

By Alan McPherson
Harvard University Press, 2003
272 pp. $39.95

McPherson examines the years from 1958 to 1966, when anti-Americanism was a prominent theme in inter-American diplomacy, to deliver a helpful reminder that anti-Americanism is not a new phenomenon nor a product only of the Middle East -- and that it has been confronted quite effectively in the past, at least when its sources were sought out and taken seriously. He provides several vivid case studies, starting with the attack on Vice President Richard Nixon in Caracas and continuing on to Cuba, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. Together, these examples show the variability and ambivalence of anti-Americanism; they also emphasize the importance of U.S. policies that respond to its challenges rather than dismissing it as a cynical invention of alienated elites. McPherson describes how sophisticated instruments of counter-propaganda -- from the Alliance of Progress and the Peace Corps to the engagement of prominent intellectuals such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. -- helped reverse the tide, while "arrogance in the face of aggression eventually produces more aggression." This well-written and balanced book should be required reading in the White House, in Langley, and around Foggy Bottom.

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