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The Ugly American

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 15, 2004

I've seen a lot of references to "ugly Americans," sometimes to characterized those Americans who steal of mutilate towels, but most often to characterize their reputation and moral standing, usually among non-Americans. Fair enough, but let's not forget that the term is almost certainly as popular as it is because of it was the title of a well-received book by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer, "The Ugly American," published in 1958. The protagonist (I remember only his first name, Homer) was physically ugly, but a quiet do-gooder who earned the readers' admiration for his acute observations of the harm Americans and American policies were doing in Southeast Asia. President Eisenhower, much impressed, is said to have made several reforms in American policy and its implementation. SS