The multi-million-copy bestseller that blends truth and fiction in a “devastating indictment of American policy” (New York Times Book Review).
A piercing exposé of American incompetence and corruption in Southeast Asia, The Ugly American captivated the nation when it was first published in 1958. The book introduces readers to an unlikely hero in the titular “ugly American”—and to the ignorant politicians and arrogant ambassadors who ignore his empathetic and commonsense advice. In linked stories and vignettes set in the fictional nation of Sarkhan, William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick draw an incisive portrait of American foreign policy gone dangerously wrong—and how it might be fixed.
Eerily relevant sixty years after its initial publication, The Ugly American reminds us that “today, as the battle for hearts and minds has shifted to the Middle East, we still can’t speak Sarkhanese” (New York Times).
William J. Lederer (1912-2009) was was a former U.S. Navy captain and the co-author of The Ugly American (with Eugene Burdick), The Mirages of Marriage (with Don D. Jackson), and other books.
Eugene Burdick was a political scientist and author of The Ugly American, Fail-Safe, and other books.