front cover of After the Coup
After the Coup
An Ethnographic Reframing of Guatemala 1954
Edited by Timothy J. Smith and Abigail E. Adams
University of Illinois Press, 2011
This exceptional collection revisits the aftermath of the 1954 coup that ousted the democratically elected Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz. Contributors frame the impact of 1954 not only in terms of the liberal reforms and coffee revolutions of the nineteenth century, but also in terms of post-1954 U.S. foreign policy and the genocide of the 1970s and 1980s. This volume is of particular interest in the current era of the United States' re-emerging foreign policy based on preemptive strikes and a presumed clash of civilizations.

Recent research and the release of newly declassified U.S. government documents underscore the importance of reading Guatemala's current history through the lens of 1954. Scholars and researchers who have worked in Guatemala from the 1940s to the present articulate how the coup fits into ethnographic representations of Guatemala. Highlighting the voices of individuals with whom they have lived and worked, the contributors also offer an unmatched understanding of how the events preceding and following the coup played out on the ground.

Contributors are Abigail E. Adams, Richard N. Adams, David Carey Jr., Christa Little-Siebold, Judith M. Maxwell, Victor D. Montejo, June C. Nash, and Timothy J. Smith.


front cover of Bitter Fruit
Bitter Fruit
The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, Revised and Expanded
Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer
Harvard University Press, 2005
Bitter Fruit is a comprehensive and insightful account of the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. First published in 1982, this book has become a classic, a textbook case of the relationship between the United States and the Third World. The authors make extensive use of U.S. government documents and interviews with former CIA and other officials. It is a warning of what happens when the United States abuses its power.

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Bitter Fruit
The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, With New Essays by John H. Coatsworth, Richard A. Nuccio, and Stephen Kinzer
Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer
Harvard University Press, 1999


Bitter Fruit recounts in telling detail the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. The 1982 book has become a classic, a textbook case study of Cold War meddling that succeeded only to condemn Guatemala to decades of military dictatorship. The authors make extensive use of U.S. government publications and documents, as well as interviews with former CIA and other officials. The Harvard edition includes a powerful new introduction by historian John Coatsworth, Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; an insightful prologue by Richard Nuccio, former State Department official who revealed recent evidence of CIA misconduct in Guatemala to Congress; and a compelling afterword by coauthor Stephen Kinzer, now Istanbul bureau chief for the New York Times, summarizing developments that led from the 1954 coup to the peace accords that ended Guatemala's civil strife forty years later.


front cover of Managing the Counterrevolution
Managing the Counterrevolution
The United States and Guatemala, 1954–1961
Stephen M. Streeter
Ohio University Press, 2001

The Eisenhower administration’s intervention in Guatemala is one of the most closely studied covert operations in the history of the Cold War. Yet we know far more about the 1954 coup itself than its aftermath. This book uses the concept of “counterrevolution” to trace the Eisenhower administration’s efforts to restore U.S. hegemony in a nation whose reform governments had antagonized U.S. economic interests and the local elite.

Comparing the Guatemalan case to U.S.-sponsored counterrevolutions in Iran, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Chile reveals that Washington’s efforts to roll back “communism” in Latin America and elsewhere during the Cold War represented in reality a short-term strategy to protect core American interests from the rising tide of Third World nationalism.


front cover of Out of the Shadow
Out of the Shadow
Revisiting the Revolution from Post-Peace Guatemala
Edited by Julie Gibbings and Heather Vrana
University of Texas Press, 2020

Guatemala’s “Ten Years of Spring” (1944–1954) began when citizens overthrew a military dictatorship and ushered in a remarkable period of social reform. This decade of progressive policies ended abruptly when a coup d’état, backed by the United States at the urging of the United Fruit Company, deposed a democratically elected president and set the stage for a period of systematic human rights abuses that endured for generations. Presenting the research of diverse anthropologists and historians, Out of the Shadow offers a new examination of this pivotal chapter in Latin American history.

Marshaling information on regions that have been neglected by other scholars, such as coastlines dominated by people of African descent, the contributors describe an era when Guatemalan peasants, Maya and non-Maya alike, embraced change, became landowners themselves, diversified agricultural production, and fully engaged in electoral democracy. Yet this volume also sheds light on the period’s atrocities, such as the US Public Health Service’s medical experimentation on Guatemalans between 1946 and 1948. Rethinking institutional memories of the Cold War, the book concludes by considering the process of translating memory into possibility among present-day urban activists.


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