Winner of the William M. LeoGrande Prize
For over a century, the United States has sought to improve the behavior of the peoples of Latin America. Perceiving their neighbors to the south as underdeveloped and unable to govern themselves, U.S. policy makers have promoted everything from representative democracy and economic development to oral hygiene. But is improvement a progressive impulse to help others, or realpolitik in pursuit of a superpower’s interests?
“In this subtle and searing critique of U.S. efforts to ‘uplift’ Latin America, Lars Schoultz challenges us to question the fundamental tenets of the development industry that became entrenched in the U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy over the last century.”
—Piero Gleijeses, author of Visions of Freedom
“In this masterful work, Lars Schoultz provides a companion and follow-up to his classic Beneath the United States…A necessary and rewarding read for scholars and students of U.S. foreign policy and inter-American relations.”
—Renata Keller, The Americas
The insightful historical narrative of the interplay between altruism and realism over the 20th century, the case studies, the trenchant analysis, and the clear, jargon-free exposition make this a highly recommended read.
In this subtle and searing critique of U.S. efforts to ‘uplift’ Latin America, Lars Schoultz challenges us to question the fundamental tenets of the development industry that became entrenched in the U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy over the last century. Deeply researched and beautifully written, In Their Own Best Interest is a sobering and thought-provoking meditation on U.S. relations with Latin America.
Schoultz’s outstanding book does a monumental job of tracing Washington’s compulsion to improve our Latin American neighbors, whether they like it or not. Schoultz’s extraordinary account of U.S. policymaking over the last one hundred years is compelling, with a richness of detail and characters that bring the history alive. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of our relations with our neighbors to the south.
- 2018, Winner of the William M. LeoGrande Prize
- 400 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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