- Term Papers and Free Essays

Ugly American

Essay by   •  March 18, 2011  •  483 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,920 Views

Essay Preview: Ugly American

Report this essay
Page 1 of 2

The Ugly American, by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, was published in 1958. Set for the most part in the fictional Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan, with excursions to Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Burma, the novel takes place in the 1950s, during the cold war, when the United States and the Soviet Union struggled for supremacy across the globe. Sarkhan is presented as a country of about 18 to 20 million people with a rather shaky government that fears a possible coup attempt by the communists, who are powerful and well organized. Sarkhan tries to stay independent of the two superpowers and as a result receives aid from both. But too often, as the authors make clear in this fictional story that they claim is based on fact, U.S. aid does not meet the needs of the local people. Moreover, the American diplomats who serve in Sarkhan and throughout Southeast Asia do not for the most part have any knowledge of the country's language or culture, so they are not effective in winning the people to their side. By contrast, Russian diplomats are well trained. The authors fear that unless the United States adopts a different strategy and trains its Foreign Service personnel better, it may end up losing the cold war.

The "Ugly American" symbolized the attitude of Americans who displayed their arrogance when working or living in other countries. These Americans didn't understand or respect the local culture of the people and didn't address the real needs of the people. The book was written to point out the failure of the U.S. to defeat Communism in Southeast Asia during the Cold War between America the Soviet Union. This book could easily just as well refer to American involvement in the Arab world today.

The title refers to an individual in the book but I do think there is an insinuation in the title. This is a brilliant book that said so much then in 1958, and says so much now today. The implicit references are strikingly



Download as:   txt (2.8 Kb)   pdf (59 Kb)   docx (9.3 Kb)  
Continue for 1 more page »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 03). Ugly American. Retrieved 03, 2011, from

"Ugly American" 03 2011. 2011. 03 2011 <>.

"Ugly American.", 03 2011. Web. 03 2011. <>.

"Ugly American." 03, 2011. Accessed 03, 2011.