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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Story

Incredible story about the banana man

The story of Sam Zemurray was fascinating. I had no idea who he was until I heard about this book when it was recommended to me. Amazing tale of how he got started, his hustle, his demise, and the entire build up of the banana industry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fun business and history.

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?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great lessons in this book

What a great book with so many hidden lessons I recommend it for sure thanks

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great book of a great life!

inspiring and good to know of how business was done in the old days as not much has changed except perhaps forms of communtniation to an extent

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Super Interesting Worth the Buy!

Admittedly prior to getting this download, all I knew of Sam “The Banana Man” was what I saw on Drunk History. As a resident of New Orleans I found it beyond intriguing...all the stories/historical events that spawned from the Business almost seems unreal. Cannot recommend high enough!

  • Overall

The banana king.

This is a book about a person who had a lot of self confidence and did not give up. Truly amazing. Neil

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Powerful Story of a Titan!

This book shows the good and bad of running a corporation in a cut throat industry.

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Gripping...

Brilliantly narrated and written, explains the hidden side of US foreign policy and the levers of power.

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Brilliant, entertaining,

So worth my time, delivered way more than I expected. Please listen and appreciate human existence.

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  • Chris
  • Midlothian, VA, United States
  • 09-13-17

Moderately interesting

Just read "Shoedogs", story of Phil Knight (Nike) and listening to that story and his hurdles he had to overcome was far more compelling than this.