Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World

Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World

Bananas How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World If you only read a handful of nonfiction books this year Bananas is among your recommended five portions The ObserverIn this gripping exploration of corporate manuevering and subterfuge Peter Chapma

  • Title: Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World
  • Author: PeterChapman
  • ISBN: 9781841958811
  • Page: 199
  • Format: Hardcover
  • If you only read a handful of nonfiction books this year, Bananas is among your recommended five portions The ObserverIn 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 If you only read a handful of nonfiction books this year, Bananas is among your recommended five portions The ObserverIn 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.

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    394 Comment

    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 and disorganized. Once Chapman finally began describing events chronologically, I was hooked.This is less a book about bananas and more a book about the interrelated histories of colonization, capitalism and globalization. The banana lens gives us an interesting, and, at times, entertaining, way to l [...]

    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 Chiquita Banana. The book overreaches in saying it's a "United Fruit World", though UF had huge impact in the early 20th Century, introducing the banana to the world, standardizing bananas, and transforming huge swaths of Central American jungle to plantations via its "banana boats", railroads, ports [...]

    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 in, manipulation, and control of the affairs of weaker nations. This is not an in depth history, but rather a breezy summary that may not be well nuanced. But Chapman makes a strong case that the practices of United Fruit, and its government connections, served as the model and precedent for internat [...]

    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 when he strays into politics and economics, which are clearly not his strength and he simply drops blanket statements with no nuance or explanation. He comes down pretty clearly in the side of free market big business, which is irritating, especially when his politics shouldn't be prominent in a nonfi [...]

    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 dominated several countries for a century and then, basically, blew up. I particularly liked the history of the banana trade, and how UFC was an anachronistic holdover from the early periods of modern imperialism in latin america by the end of its period of dominance. In particular, I appreciated how [...]

    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 reading. Moved quickly, taught me a lot in training for jeopardy, gave a really good understanding of some of the central american dynamics under Big Banana, etc.

    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 have liked more intellectual rigor.

    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 government intervention in the area during the 20th century, revealing details and interconnections you won’t find when reading the histories of the individual affected countries. Where else would you find out the the same Howard Hunt who in the 1970’s masterminded the Watergate break-in that cause [...]

    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 talk about bananas without bringing up United Fruit. "Bananas!" is not about the fruit, it is all about the United Fruit Company. This book goes a long way in explaining why Central and South America are in the shape they are in, and how United Fruit Company got the US government to help make them that [...]

    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.

    Excellent insight about all the United Fruit Company moves for gaining power in South and Central America.

    Peter Chapman is a journalist and author, who works for the Financial Times and has done so since 1995. He was formerly a foreign correspondent in South and Central America for the BBC and the Guardian. He graduated from the London School of Economics with a masters in economics. He knows what he’s talking about. Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World by Peter Chapman is a detailed history of the United Fruit Company and its many challenges and duplicities that occurred in it [...]

    A lost opportunity by Mr. Chapman: such interesting subject should have made a great book; instead, it turned out to be superficial, incoherent, uninformed, and lacking in specifics and facts. Poorly written, the author's use and abuse of colons makes reading tortured and halting. I had to go over a number of paragraphs to understand what the author was trying to say.The book started with the suicide of Eli Black, whom certainly, I expected, the author would come back to in more detail; sadly, w [...]

    Read this in 2008, so this is a copy/paste of my review thereof which had earlier been posted elsewhere (just collating here).Having read "Bananas, How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World" by Peter Chapman provided new insight as to this seemingly ubiquitous and inexpensive exotic fruit now consumed by Americans more than apples and oranges combined! The banana is a relatively new to these northern climates, at least in mass amounts. For most of the twentieth century , United Fruit had a m [...]

    I should preface this review by stating my bias against bananas. They taste rather like how I imagine cardboard would taste, and I can barely tolerate them in smoothies let alone in baked goods. But bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the United States and this book, subtitled “How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World”, ended up on the list of books I wanted to read for the Honors Project. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time sourcing a copy of this book until now so I missed [...]

    This is a succinct, fact-packed history of both banana consumption in Western societies and the company that made it happen, the United Fruit Company. Ignorant as I was about most things banana, I found the book very informative. I wasn’t aware, for example, that the UFC is still around after a name change and a move from Manhattan to Cincinnati. Keep your eyes peeled for “Chiquita” stickers next time you go banana shopping: they will have been brought to you by the company formerly known [...]

    An extraordinary examination of The Octopus, United Fruit, and how it shaped politics, foreign policy, and finance in the US and across Latin America. Chapman covers the beast from its inception until its death when Eli Black jumped out the forty-fourth floor of the Pan Am building in New York. There is a lesson to be learned from this large multi-national corporation, Chapman argues. He asks his readers to examine the legacy of United Fruit and extrapolate those lessons of unbridled greed to cu [...]

    We live in a banana-shaped worldI found this work thoroughly engaging. It's as much a critique of capitalism unregulated as it is a history of the fruit or the fruit company. "Bananas" peels the skin back on big business to reveal a soft and rotten core. From land swindles to destabilizing governments, from machine gun massacres to human rights violation, from propaganda to market manipulation, Chapman takes an unflinching look at just how far an organization motivated solely by profits is willi [...]

    Good book worth reading--especially now in the age of multinational corporations. I always knew that United Fruit was a "bad" company. I visited a banana plantation when I was in college and learned only a little about the difficulties people faced there. I didn't know that United Fruit was instrumental in numerous coups in Central America and even provided boats for the Bay of Pigs invasion. I didn't know the company was based in Boston, and I didn't know it was one of the great originators of [...]

    This book reads as a well written and engaging article from corpwatch - and I was looking for a bit more about the BANANAS. However, I'm enjoying it, it just will be much slower.I don't think I'll read this entire book, just flip through and read parts. The intro chapters and epilogue, but not all the history. I'm interested in corporations as the current dominant social institution, and this sets up United Fruit as pioneering multi-national corporate behavior for the last hundred years. It is g [...]

    A good and entertaining overview of the cautionary tale of United Fruit, covering its history and cataloging its corporate crimes against Central and South America and those of the usually complicit U.S. government. The book's greatest strength is probably the clarity with which it explains how the company established its monopoly and de facto governance over the "banana republics", while painting vivid and complete portraits of its founders.As the history progresses, however, the book far too o [...]

    Geez, this book was a real snoozer! While it offers some interesting history (bananas are cloned & can't reproduce, Standard Fruit became Dole and United Fruit became Chiquita), it is very poorly written. The beginning and the end were the only attention grabbers.I did enjoy how Chapman mentioned UFC as the forefather of the multinational corporations. He then goes on about how the future of the world may indeed be the "market state." In light of the Citizens United Supreme Court case of Jan [...]

    I may have started reading this book with expectations that were too high. It's an interesting subject, but it wasn't handled all that well. There is a list of characters at the start of the book, together with a brief description of who they are. That description, however, is often most of the information provided. There has to be more there, not only about the players involved but the events that make up the history of United Fruit. The book just feels incomplete and too much feels glossed ove [...]

    This book was chosen for a class I am going to teach in the fall. I think it was a good choice, because for a non-fiction book it is light and kind of jokey. I only detected one slight error: the author says that "Pepe"Figueres, President of Costa Rica, had a Swedish wife, but she was actually of Danish descent, born in New York. For many people, this book will tell them more than they want to know about the United Fruit Company and its skullduggery in Central America, or just enough, but perhap [...]

    I'm giving this book an extra star because it does a decent job recapping the history of the west over the past century or so, something my public school education failed to do. Good, if shallow, reflection on capitalism, social democracy, communism, and a lack of self-determinism in the banana republics.A few interesting facts, like that the banana no longer is capable of reproduction and new plants are simply grafted, that this monoculture is precariously close to being wiped out by a disease [...]

    I gleaned some valuable history lessons from Bananas! but I thought I'd enjoy the read more. Chapman has some fun historical tidbits about the development of the banana industry, but I was hoping for even more color--more detailed anecdotes about key players and characters-in-passing (a la Erik Larson.) I also felt like he dispensed with some major historical events: revolutions, massacres, etc. in just a handful of paragraphs. That keeps Bananas! short--so the reader isn't overwhelmed--but it k [...]

    The two is pushing three starsThe opening of this compact little volume by a Financial Times /BBC Latin American journalist offers an engaging beginning glimpse into the cultural history of the banana and a look at the rise and fall of the United Fruit Company, whose story seems relevant in the globalized world in which we all live. The London Guardian quote on the cover prompted me to scoop this off the shelf (and so far I have not been disappointed): "Chapman's achievement is to make us realiz [...]

    This book is incredibly average. Its blessing is its curse - it's 200 pages. The beauty of that is, you don't have to invest much in the book (which is good b/c it's not particularly good). The problem is, for a topic like "bananas" and the United Fruit Company, the book falls incredibly flat in providing any detailed account. Basically, my take is that this was the author's Master's Thesis (or undergraduate) and he turned it into a book. Take a look at the Bibliography if you want to see how IN [...]

    Gah!This book took me an A-G-E to get through despite being less than 250 pages long!The premise of the book seems to have come from the authors dissertation at university, and whilst I'm sure that was interesting and readable, the extension of the essay into a longer book doesn't quite work. As an introduction to the role of United Fruit in Central America it probably has some value as it is short and concise.Unfortunately, as I came to the book after reading more detailed and analytical accoun [...]

    United Fruit was the biggest and most ruthless multi-national corporation that most people have never heard of. Long before Coca Cola, McDonalds, GM, and Starbucks spread across the globe, United Fruit was ruling nations, toppling governments, and exploiting workers all in the name of bringing fresh bananas to first world breakfast tables.There's an interesting, convoluted history here. It drags a bit at times, but in others is quite exciting. Not many business histories involve boatloads of mer [...]

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