In this compelling history, Peter Chapman shows how the United Fruit Company took bananas from the jungles of Costa Rica to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., with not just clever marketing, but covert CIA operations, bloody coups and brutalised workforces. And how along the way they turned the banana into a blueprint for a new model of unfettered global capitalism: one that serves corporate power at any cost.
A gripping story of the ebbs and flows of US capitalism * * Guardian * * [An] insightful history of the company . . . [A] witty, energetic narrative * * New York Times Book Review * * A powerful example from the past . . . a century-long tale of plunder, bribery, corruption, labour abuse, death squads, military coups and war * * Financial Times * * Finely crafted . . . Chapman's broad-brush approach to history gives it a vigorous and entertaining narrative drive . . . Chapman's achievement is to make us realise what a long and complex moral journey even something as seemingly innocent as a banana has made to our fruit bowls -- Mark Cocker * * Guardian * * If you only read a handful of non-fiction books this year, [Bananas] is among your recommended five portions * * Observer * * Engagingly told . . . Delightful cameos of Carmen Miranda, Andy Warhol and Evelyn Waugh . . . Best is Chapman's account of the precarious ecology of the modern banana * * Independent * * The term banana republic has become so divested of meaning that it's been adopted by a mid-range clothing chain. Its sobering reality is spelled out in this clear, dryly witty account of United Fruit * * Metro * * Excellent, darkly humorous expose * * Herald * * A tale of corporate skulduggery, an irreversible lesson in agricultural folly and a musing on the banana's place on our collective palate . . . An impressive indictment of a deeply flawed corporation * * The Nation * * Any tinpot regime these days tends to get called a banana republic. We have to remember they were real, vicious and bloody regimes set up and toppled at the behest of US fruit companies. Those corporations gave globalisation a bad name before we even used the term, and Peter Chapman's racy but erudite read constantly makes you wonder how much has changed * * New Scientist * *
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