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The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King | [Rich Cohen]

The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King

When Samuel Zemurray arrived in America in 1891, he was tall, gangly, and penniless. When he died in the grandest house in New Orleans 69 years later, he was among the richest, most powerful men in the world. In between, he worked as a fruit peddler, banana hauler, dockside hustler, and plantation owner. He battled and conquered the United Fruit Company, becoming a symbol of the best and worst of the United States: proof America is the land of opportunity, but also a classic example of the corporate pirate who treats foreign nations as the backdrop for his adventures.
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Publisher's Summary

When Samuel Zemurray arrived in America in 1891, he was tall, gangly, and penniless. When he died in the grandest house in New Orleans 69 years later, he was among the richest, most powerful men in the world. In between, he worked as a fruit peddler, banana hauler, dockside hustler, and plantation owner. He battled and conquered the United Fruit Company, becoming a symbol of the best and worst of the United States: proof America is the land of opportunity, but also a classic example of the corporate pirate who treats foreign nations as the backdrop for his adventures. Starting with nothing but a cart of freckled bananas, he built a sprawling empire of banana cowboys, mercenary soldiers, Honduran peasants, CIA agents, and American statesmen.

©2012 Rich Cohen (P)2012 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What the Critics Say

"This is popular history and biography at its best, making for an easy verdict: This book will appeal strongly to lay readers and scholars alike. Highly recommended to all." (Library Journal)

"...it is nearly impossible to put the book down, and that's something you don't say about a lot of biographies - and especially biographies of businessmen. For anyone who enjoys a good life story, this one is an absolute must-read." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (93 )
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  •  
    Grétar Hannesson 03-05-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great stories, but too long and drawn out"

    With its many tangents, many lasting for whole chapters, the storytelling is drawn out and often somewhat confusing. Half the time I was hoping they'd hey back to the point. The storytelling was great when they did, however

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam 03-04-15
    Adam 03-04-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible story!"

    Amazing rags to riches story tied in with overthrowing governments, civil war and the CIA. Recommended listening!
    Enjoyable fun narration also.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew 01-28-15
    andrew 01-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    REVIEWS
    5
    2
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    Story
    "Exceptionally Entertaining"

    This book was not only the most entertaining financial education book I've ever read, I also learned a lot. Will definitely listen again soon.

    Andrew

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nick 01-23-15
    nick 01-23-15 Member Since 2013
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    2
    1
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    Story
    "Fascinating peice of history"

    Great story that seems to have best lost to all but a few people in the sands of time. Banana Cowboy is my new favorite term when describing someone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave H Los Angeles 01-21-15
    Dave H Los Angeles 01-21-15 Member Since 2011
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    3
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    "A part of history everyone should know"

    One if the best books I've listened to in a long time. However knew bananas had such a colorful history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-13-12
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-13-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    631
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    464
    356
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    262
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    Story
    "the henry ford of bananas"

    Entertaining story of how to use hustle, grit, corruption and your brain to build an analog business. Super narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Herndon, VA, United States 12-14-12
    Susan Herndon, VA, United States 12-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    REVIEWS
    3
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    Story
    "Fascinating history. A lot of questions"
    Would you listen to The Fish That Ate the Whale again? Why?

    Being from South America, I had always been aware of the issues between the "Gringos" and the rest. However this book does a fantastic job, specially towards the end, of bringing these issues to light.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The voice


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. It was great for a perfect afternoon drive


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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