Cover: In Their Own Best Interest: A History of the U.S. Effort to Improve Latin Americans, from Harvard University PressCover: In Their Own Best Interest in HARDCOVER

In Their Own Best Interest

A History of the U.S. Effort to Improve Latin Americans

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.Choice

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.—Piero Gleijeses, author of Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976–1991

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.—William M. LeoGrande, coauthor of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

From Our Blog


Who We Might Have Been, and Who We Will Become

Who among us hasn’t considered what our lives would be like if we had taken alternate paths, made different decisions? Storytellers of every stripe write of the lives we didn’t have, says Andrew H. Miller, author of On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives. As we live through a worldwide pandemic, the ideas of what might have been are even more appealing. Much like the adolescents on the verge of adulthood in Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, Miller tells us, we wait to see what comes next.