Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
The Ugly American

The Ugly American

by Wiliam J. Lederer, Eugene Burdick
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The multi-million-copy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroad.

In the episode that lends the book its title, the "ugly American" is Homer Atkins, a plain and plain-spoken man, who has been sent by the U.S. government to advise the Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan on engineering projects. When Atkins finds badly misplaced priorities and bluntly challenges the entrenched interests, he lays bare a foreign policy gone dangerously wrong.

First published in 1958, The Ugly Americanbecame a runaway national bestseller for its slashing exposé of American arrogance, incompetence, and corruption in Southeast Asia. In linked stories and vignettes, the book uses gripping storytelling to draw a devastating picture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393318678
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/17/1999
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 97,394
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Eugene Burdick was a political scientist and author of The Ugly American,Fail-Safe, and other books.

William J. Lederer (1912-2009) was was a former U.S. Navy captain and the co-author of The Ugly American (with Eugene Burdick), The Mirages of Marriage (with Don D. Jackson), and other books.

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The Ugly American 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has taken me literally years to finish reading this book because it was often so frustrating to read I had to put it down, then pick it up again a little later for just a bit because it was so riviting before having to put it down again. I often found myself saying out loud "Don't do that!" or "You're so ignorant!". Though it was written over fifty years ago we are still having to learn these lessons. How many times will the United States make these same kind of mistakes before our leaders "get it"? I will cherish the old 1963 Crest Book printing that I scrounged. It will be one of only a very small handful of books I may read again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the greatest books I have ever read. It was witty and funny, but alos informative. I loved it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read The Ugly American summer of '97 when I ended up in summer school for History...I couldn't put it down (i always say i loved it too much that i made the unconscious decision to flunk history again the next year so i could read it again). It's become one of my favorite books, the tongue in cheek, cynical and almost satyrical view of american foreign policy is absolutely brilliant. Almost ten years later, I'm hoping to get into the MSFS (masters in foreign service) program of Georgetown in DC. There's hope yet for our nation's foreign diplomacy...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was forced to read this book for a history class. I started out knowing very little about asian foregin policy. But I was definately impress with the insight this book gave me on it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was an excellent book. It deeply impacted me by giving me a new perspective on America and its foreign policy. The novel also gives some fancinating stories about some heroic and non-heroic Americans in South East Asia in the 60's. Please read, it will surely give you a different or new perspective of what foreigners really think of Americans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was forced to read "The Ugly American" for english class and in the end I discovered that it is by far the best book I have ever read for school! I really proves to us all that our government is very "ugly". It should be a lesson to us all!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The same as the reader who hates to read, I to am not very fond of reading all the time. But this book was recommended by a friend while I was working abroad on Diplomatic duty. I found those people still present on diplomatic duty and was not able to understand how they can go to these places and just hate the people and what they do so much. But of course the money looks good to them. Maybe the Government should lower wages and get people out there who do want to help, and not just get paid high wages. These people make Americans as a whole look like really bad people, luckily I made alot of people feel diferently about us. Maybe because I was there to help, and not for the money. As in the book there are plenty of good Americans out there who want to help change the world for good, lets listen to them for a change.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title character -- the 'Ugly American' himself -- was the GOOD GUY in this book. The people of the SE Asian country in which the book is set LIKED him, because he was unpretentious and humble and truly helpful to them. (For example, he found a way to convert abandoned Jeep engines into pumps to help irrigate their rice paddies.) Only his face was 'ugly' to them. So when you hear somebody refer to a loudmouthed know-it-all tourist as an 'ugly American', you can be sure they haven't read the book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really anjoyed the book although it carries with it the times in which it was written. The scary thing about the book is that it rings so true. American diplomats are still ignorant about the culture in which they are stationed and we still fail to attract the cream of the crop to enter the foreign service. I have never met an American diplomat that is fluent in a foreign language and I have come into contact with very many through my business with Americans. So sad and so true is the real summary of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel explores some of the failings of the US foreign policy abroad. It was extremely popular when it was released (Ike even read it on vacation). However, the true interest in this novel is not its bashing of US foreign policy, but the fact that it was read and popular during the 50s. This was a time of liberal consensus and followed shortly on the heels of McCarthyism. The historical significance of The Ugly American is that it exposes gaps in the popular belief in a perfect and infallible America.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book, i read it for my sophomore class, and this was a great book. I recommend it