Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World

Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World Review

“If you only read a handful of nonfiction books this year, [Bananas!] is among your recommended five portions.” —The Observer

In this gripping exploration of corporate manuevering and subterfuge, Peter Chapman shows how the importer United Fruit set the precedent for the institutionalized power and influence of today's multinational companies. Bananas! is a sharp and lively account of the rise and fall of this infamous company, arguably the most controversial global corporation ever – from the jungles of Costa Rica to the dramatic suicide of its CEO, who leapt from an office on the forty-fourth floor of the Pan Am building in New York City. From the marketing of the banana as the first fast food, to the company’s involvement in an invasion of Honduras, the Bay of Pigs crisis, and a bloody coup in Guatemala, Chapman weaves a dramatic tale of big business, political deceit, and outright violence to show how one company wreaked havoc in the “banana republics” of Central America, and how terrifyingly similar the age of United Fruit is to our age of rapid globalization.

Title:Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Rebecca

    Definitely an interesting read, though I'll echo what other reviewers have mentioned about the book: the writing leaves a lot to be desired. The introduction and epilogues, in particular, are clunky a...

  • John Gurney

    Bananas: How The United Fruit Company Shaped The World follows from inauspicious birth to heyday a corporation so powerful it orchestrated coups against unfriendly governments. It invented Seniorita C...

  • Carole

    This is a quick read and good overview of a company that had outsized influence in Central America. In a depressingly familiar scenario, it recounts how US capitalist interests lead to intereference i...

  • Jeffrey

    I really enjoyed the earlier chapters that dealt with the swashbuckling beginnings of the banana industry and the United Fruit Company. He is at his best when he stick to bananas. The book goes bad wh...

  • Nathan Willard

    As other reviewers have suggested, the book is fairly short and Chapman is not the world's most enthralling narrative writer. But I really enjoyed the fairly crazy way that the united fruit company do...

  • Joel

    didn't know anything about the united fruit company - the prototype for the modern multinational corporation, or about the history of bananas for that matter, but it made for pretty interesting readin...

  • Kim

    I learned a lot I didn't know about the history of US involvement in Central America at the beginning of the last century. But I thought the overall treatment was unsatisfyingly superficial. Would hav...

  • Raul

    This is a “must” read for those interested in the history of Central America, because it traces The company’s history from start to finish and in the process profiles the entire course of US gov...

  • Amanda S

    Years ago I read Dan Koeppel's "Banana: Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World." It was mostly about the banana itself, but touched briefly on the United Fruit Company and its antics - you can't tal...

  • Adrian Scoica

    Would you rather buy "Fair Trade" bananas or "Free Trade" bananas? It's not as easy a decision as you might think, especially because I forgot to mention that you don't necessarily need to buy bananas...