Bananas! by Peter Chapman
How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World

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Synopsis

“If you only read a handful of nonfiction books this year, [Bananas!] is among your recommended five portions.” —The Observer

In 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.
 

About Peter Chapman

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Peter Chapman is a senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania in Australia and was nominated for the Tasmanian Pacific Bicentenary History Prize for his editing of Historical Records of Australia Series III, Volume VIII.
 
Published January 21, 2008 by Canongate U.S.. 272 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bananas!

Kirkus Reviews

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Financial Times (London) journalist Chapman’s insider account of United Fruit as the template for the modern multinational company often gets mired in the minutiae of a century’s worth of dubious business practices.

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The New York Times

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a law unto itself and accustomed to regarding the republics as its private fiefdom.” United Fruit essentially invented not only “the concept and reality of the banana republic,” but also, as Chapman shows, the concept and reality of the modern banana.

Mar 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Bananas!: How The United Frui...

Publishers Weekly

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With its vast banana plantations and control of railroads and even national treasuries, the Boston-based United Fruit—known as El Pulpo , the Octopus—made the Central American countries whose economies it dominated into archetypical “banana republics.” This jaundiced history briskly recaps the fi...

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Bananas!: How The United Frui...

AV Club

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Koeppel is more thoughtful and meandering in tracing the banana and various varieties, including lab visits to the fruits of the future, though Chapman, who wrote his undergraduate thesis on the banana business, has the reporting advantage of several years' interviews.

Jan 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Bananas!: How The United Frui...

Daily Kos

These people want to be aristocrats - the most entitled assholes the world has ever seen - the kind of people that the French revolutionaries were mad enough to kill.

Jun 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Bananas!: How The United Frui...

Bookmarks Magazine

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 i...

Apr 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Bananas!: How The United Frui...

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