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The Secret War of the Dulles Brothers

This book is not only very well-written and amply documented, it is prophetic — reminding us of the dark side of our national character that still informs the way we Americans think about ourselves and, unfortunately, conduct foreign policy. Having lived in Guatemala for five years, I know first hand the violent consequences of U.S. efforts at “regime change” to serve the interests of corporate power.

In Kinzer’s description of the U.S-led overthrow of President Arbenz of Guatemala in the 1950s, I can almost hear the Dulles brothers checking off their list of strategies: “Liberation army? Too piecemeal. Propaganda in the press? Too many illiterates. Fake radio reports? Few radio owners. Sermons from the pulpits? Bingo — call Francis Cardinal Spellman.” Of all these strategies they cooked up, Spellman’s pastoral letter read to all churches in Guatemala was the one that “…mobilize[d] the emotions of Guatemala’s poor masses.”

This reviewer cringes at how fellow “staunch” Presbyterians left no holes barred in their zeal to project onto Western thinking a war between good and evil and then set about to win it without giving a second thought to the log in the eye of their own foreign policies. This book should be required reading in all American history courses along with other books by Kinzer (Bitter Fruit and Overthrow).

Time to buy old US gold coins

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The Secret War of the Dulles Brothers


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