This book offers a new historical synthesis of U.S.-Latin American relations in the twentieth century. One way that Mark T. Gilderhus accomplishes this is by placing his analysis and conclusions in sharp historiographical focus. At times, this takes the form of tweaking his colleagues: "Aided by the advantage of hindsight," (p.32) Gilderhus writes dryly at one point, historians have assessed the policies that constituted dollar diplomacy as failures. His point is that to describe dollar diplomacy as either a success or a failure is neither useful nor particularly probing of the nature of U.S. policy or its results. Here and elsewhere in the narrative, the author is smart, terse, and analytically sharp. Gilderhus is not interested in a revisionist harangue, nor is he concerned with a historical defence of U.S. actions. The approach is realistic; both in the case of dollar diplomacy and more generally, the author is interested in probing the motives for U.S. policies, understanding related Latin American decision-making, then identifying what worked for the U.S., what did not, and why. Like much of U.S. policy in the twentieth century, dollar diplomacy represents a mixed bag of outcomes that includes, most importantly, the implementation of something Gilderhus describes as closely resembling an empire, but, at the same time, Washington's inability to sustain peace, order and predictability.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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