Check out the Pride Celebration Treasure Hunt!
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Ugly American by William J. Lederer

The Ugly American (1958)

by William J. Lederer, Eugene Burdick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0351812,327 (3.72)54



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Yes, a how-to, and how-not-to, manual for winning hearts and minds in the Cold War, but the important point is that it was a brilliant inspiration to present it as a series of fictional vignettes. A genuine manual, or a non-fiction analysis, might have sold a few thousand copies and gathered dust in university libraries; The Ugly American was a multi-million copy bestseller which apparently remains in print. It had significant impact on politicians at the time. A concrete example of its own pragmatic philosophy. Cleverly conceived and entertainingly written. No need to be an admirer of American Imperialism to appreciate the authors' strategic approach.
  booksaplenty1949 | Aug 11, 2018 |
4.5 stars. Better late than never for reading this. Best book club selection we've had in a very long time. I had to read it in paperback (not available for Kindle or audio), which was very hard on my eyes, but managed a few pages at a time.

The book brought back memories of the Vietnam era and taught me some things I definitely didn't know, having never really studied much about this war. It made me want to learn more....which, was part of the point of the book. ( )
  Thebrownbookloft | Jun 29, 2018 |
A how-to on winning the Cold War in the Third World by winning "hearts and minds" with brilliant and multilingual American legates who would show the impoverished natives just how wonderful America really is. Reading something by William Appleman Williams such as The Tragedy of American Diplomacy would be a good corrective to the Lederer/Burdick brand of liberal-humanitarian imperialism.

Incidentally, the "Ugly" American was one of the authors' "good guys." ( )
  CurrerBell | May 7, 2018 |
If we have lived in a foreign country, we know what it's like. We can see ourselves being obnoxious. This provides us a mirror. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I really liked this book! I can't believe that it was written BEFORE our major involvement in Vietnam! The descriptions of American blundering in Southeast Asia are just too amazing, yet true! The authors explain why the American way of doing things wasn't working, and why the Communist way was! Simple things, like speaking the native language, were just not required, and therefore led to a great deal of problems for the Americans working overseas. Shockingly simple! And the idea that no one had read books by Mao, yet could not figure him out - amazing! It's too bad our leaders didn't read (and believe) this book before our troops were committed! Wow. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
"Still Ugly, After All These Years"

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William J. Ledererprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burdick, Eugenemain authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
The Honorable Louis Sears, American Ambassador to Sarkhan, was angry.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393318672, Paperback)

The multi-million-copy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroad.

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. Based on fact, the book's eye-opening stories and sketches drew a devastating picture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia. Combining gripping storytelling with an urgent call to action, the book prompted President Eisenhower to launch a study of our military aid program that led the way to much-needed reform. "Powerful and absorbing. . . . Should be required reading in Washington."—Kirkus Reviews "Not only important but consistently entertaining. . . . The attack on American policy in Asia this book makes is clothed in sharp characterizations, frequently humorous incident, and perceptive descriptions of the countries and people where the action occurs."-Robert Trumbull, former chief correspondent for the New York Times in China and Southeast Asia "Seldom has a deadly warning been more entertainingly or convincingly given."—Washington Star

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Homer Atkins is sent by the U.S. government to handled engineering projects in the Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan, and when he challenges the entrenched interests over priorities, he finds himself embroiled in controversy. Lederer and Burdick's fictional diplomat laid bare allegations of American arrogance and corruption in 1950s Asia.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.72)
1.5 3
2 15
2.5 4
3 27
3.5 12
4 52
4.5 5
5 32

W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,476,916 books! | Top bar: Always visible