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
"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)
Fun mix of business and history. The author treats the history with truth and humor. He presents all the information well and explains any biases he may have. Who knew a banana company could have such a torrid background?
this was an engaging rags to riches story of a man who would never give up, challenging and defeated powerful foes despite being considered nothing. eventually he became the powerful one, but his tactics didn't change.
i enjoyed the book very much. The story of Samuel is an outstanding example of an immigrant that finds freedom and the American dream to come true, through great effort and sweat. Excellent and I recommend it to all entrepreneurs.
I liked this book because of the indepth history and study they put into the subject matter, Sam Zummary. As a fan of business I hadn't even heard of Sam, I'm fascinated by the impact he's had on the World and his story from working the docks to being one of the wealthiest people of the nation.
I was interested in how United Fruit came to be such a well-connected company that they could have the CIA help them overthrow a democracy and install a dictator friendly to the company. The book gets to that towards the end, as Zimurray was an old man by that time.
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