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The Life and Times of America's Banana King

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rich Cohen tells the story of Samuel Zemurray, who arrived in America in 1891, penniless, and became one of the richest, most powerful men in the world. The Fish that Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King unveils Zemurray as a hidden kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary, connected to the birth of modern American diplomacy, public relations, business, and war.

Guests:

Rich Cohen

Comments [5]

Consuelo from NY, NY

I can't believe anyone would have anything good to say (let alone write a book gushing with admiration) about a man who set Guatemala on the road to nearly fifty years of civil war. hundreds of thousands murdered, disappeared or tourtured and condemened its citizens to continuing po;tical instability and extreme poverty.

All with the aid and saastance of the US government, simply to maintain his banana company.

I know this guy has a fetish for "Tough Jews" but seriously, this is chutzpah in the extreme.

Jun. 15 2012 07:01 PM
David

Here's an interesting book about the United Fruit Company's helping to overthrow a government in the 1950s:

http://www.amazon.com/Bitter-Fruit-American-Guatemala-Rockefeller/dp/067401930X/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339435436&sr=1-1

Jun. 11 2012 01:24 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Is the word Mr. Cohen's looking for "rationed"?

Jun. 11 2012 12:57 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Bananas are legal but very fattening. Nonetheless, an interesting story of a hustler/entrepreneur who found a niche and worked it well to make a fortune. No substitute for ambition, street-smarts and the refusal to take "no" for an answer.

Jun. 11 2012 12:49 PM
anne from manhattan

I grew up north of New Orleans and a major treat was to visit Zemurray Gardens, which was open to the public. Acres and acres of azaleas and camellias with huge white-painted iron statues of Greek gods and goddesses. Wonderful bird watching. I didn't know about Zemurray's background until I read Cohen's wonderful book.

Jun. 11 2012 12:49 PM

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