In the first edition of The Hovering Giant, Cole Blasier analyzed U.S. response to revolutions in Latin America from Madero in Mexico to Allende in Chile. He explained why U.S. leaders sponsored paramilitary units to overthrow revolutionary governments in Guatemala and Cuba and compromised their own differences with revolutionary governments in Mexico and Bolivia. The protection of private U.S. interests was part of the explanation, but Blasier gave greater emphasis to rivalry with Germany or the Soviet Union. Now in this revised edition, Blasier also examines the responses of the Carter and Reagan administrations to the Grenadian and Nicaraguan revolutions and the revolt in El Salvador. He also brings up to date the interpretation of U.S.-Cuban relations. Blasier stresses U.S. defense of its preeminent position in the Caribean Basin, as well as rivalry with the Soviet Union, to explain these later U.S. responses. Seemingly unaware of historical experience, Washington followed patterns in Central America and Grenada similar to earlier patterns in Guatemala, Cuba, and Chile even though the latter had adverse effects on U.S. security and economic interests.
The book is well related to the literature on international and hemispheric relations and the case studies are used to develop broader insights. It is a book that is to be recommended for its capacity to link domestic and international politics, for its insights into how foreign policy decisions get made, and for its analysis of how policy change occurs.
[S]tudents of inter-American relations will find it a very useful and readable addition to the literature on their subject.
[T]his volume constitutes a useful contribution, serving to pierce the veil of partisan and ideological rhetoric that often mars analses of this question to indicate additional operative factors.
This is, in many ways, an extremely satisfying book. It is well written, insightful, balanced in interpretation, and superbly documented primarily from American and German archives. Though his book is diplomatic history at its best, Blasier's central aim is that of a political scientist, generating 'propositions' about 'official behavior.'
A political scientist and founder of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Blasier has combined the methodological techniques of political science and the examples of history in a book that is informative, interpretive, and imaginative.
Students of U.S. policy toward Latin America will find the book balanced, thoroughly researched, interesting and informative. So, too, will students of U.S. foreign policy generally. One hopes, probably without much basis, that U.S. foreign policy-makers will read and learn from The Hovering Giant.
The book is fastidiously researched, carefully reasoned and basically well-organized. . . . [T]he analysis is carefully drawn and cleanly argued. . . . Blasier's book features a splendid comparative analysis of the United States' Latin American policy. It is "must" reading for all students of interamerican and Latin American politics and highly recommended for those interested in foreign policy and comparative revolutionary change.
Drawing upon his university experiences in Latin America and his foreign service background in Europe and Washington, he has produced a volume both timely and provocative —- immensely useful to students of inter-American relations and worthy of intensive study by Washington policy makers.
This excellent book is the first comparative analysis of revolutionary change in Latin America.
Cole Blasier, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, is author of The Giant’s Rival: The USSR and Latin America. Blasier studied or taught at Universities in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico and served as a career foreign service officer in Belgrade, Bonn, Moscow, and Washington. Because of long first-hand experience in official Washington and Moscow and extensive residence in Latin America, Blasier is uniquely qualified to appraise this complex arena of conflict.