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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 American became 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.

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.

Praise For…

A very important bombshell.
— New York Herald Tribune

Not only important but consistently entertaining.
— New York Times

Slashing.... Draw[s] the reader into a vital subject rarely treated by fiction.
— Time

[A] powerful and absorbing indictment.... Should be required reading in Washington and elsewhere.
— Kirkus Reviews

To make use of the truth, unbelievable truth... William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick wrote this devastating indictment of American policy [in Southeast Asia] as fiction. But any correspondent who has been any length of time in the locale of the story will recognize its veracity.
— Robert Trumbull - New York Times Book Review

A delightfully readable book.
— James A. Michener

Both enlightening and absorbing reading, with humor and wit.
— Boston Herald

A powerful, searching book.
— Los Angeles Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393318678
ISBN-10: 0393318672
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: January 17th, 1999
Pages: 288
Language: English