The Ugly American (Paperback)

By Eugene Burdick, William J. Lederer

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393318678, 288pp.

Publication Date: January 17, 1999

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/2/2019)

List Price: 15.95*
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The multi-million-copy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroad.

In the episode that lends the book its title, the "ugly American" is Homer Atkins, a plain and plain-spoken man, who has been sent by the U.S. government to advise the Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan on engineering projects. When Atkins finds badly misplaced priorities and bluntly challenges the entrenched interests, he lays bare a foreign policy gone dangerously wrong.

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. In linked stories and vignettes, the book uses gripping storytelling to draw a devastating picture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia.

About the Author

Eugene Burdick was a political scientist and author of The Ugly American, Fail-Safe, and other books.

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.

Praise For The Ugly American

A very important bombshell.

Not only important but consistently entertaining.

Slashing.... Draw[s] the reader into a vital subject rarely treated by fiction.

[A] powerful and absorbing indictment.... Should be required reading in Washington and elsewhere.

To make use of the truth, unbelievable truth... William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick wrote this devastating indictment of American policy [in Southeast Asia] as fiction. But any correspondent who has been any length of time in the locale of the story will recognize its veracity.
— Robert Trumbull

A delightfully readable book.
— James A. Michener

Both enlightening and absorbing reading, with humor and wit.

A powerful, searching book.