Capturing the Revolution: The United States, Central America, and Nicaragua, 1961-1972

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At the start of the 1960s, revolution challenged the established world order. In every corner of the underdeveloped world, discontent with the status quo fueled attempts to revoke colonialism and the strangleholds on power maintained by entrenched local oligarchies. This book examines the causes of revolution in the sixties and the various responses crafted to stop it, in particular, the Alliance for Progress, a program which represented the best products of American developmental and counterinsurgency theory. Equally important, however, is an examination of the independent policies implemented by Latin Americans themselves, often in direct opposition to those pursued by the U.S.

For the United States the period represented a challenge to both its sovereignty and its leadership in the so-called Free World. Perhaps more importantly, the disruptions blanketing the globe also pointed out the dramatic weaknesses of an American policy dominated by preparations for thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union. For Latin America, revolution challenged national stability and, in the cases of the regimes it was directed against, their very survival.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Every serious student of modern Latin America and of US foreign policy in the region should consult this work. All academic collections."



"Gambone's work is exhaustively documented, cogently argued, effectively written, and fills a significant void in the current literature. Anyone interested in placing the Central America crisis of the 1970s and 1980s in its immediate historical perspective would be well advised to consult this study."


The Journal of Military History

"[A] classical study in diplomatic history… a valuable contribution to a better understanding of a crucial period of US-Latin American relations."



After World War II, explains Gambone (history, Kutztown U.), governments of rich countries combined monetary aid with military threats and action to head off the revolutionary zeal that accompanied the end of overt colonialism. He describes how the US government, beginning with the Kennedy administration, applied that two-pronged approach, which had worked well in Europe, to Latin America. The complexity of tradition interacting with the Cold War, he says, blurred the distinctions between disagreement and rebellion, and reform and repression. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275965945
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/30/2001
  • Pages: 288
  • Lexile: 1620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL D. GAMBONE is Assistant Professor of History at Kutztown University.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms
Introduction 1
Pt. I The Revolution Arrives, 1961-1963
1 Revolution and Democracy in Latin America 21
2 The Challenge of Guerrilla War 45
3 The Economic Revolution in Central America 69
Pt. II The Revolution Contained, 1963-1968
4 Revolution and Lyndon Johnson 97
5 Influence and Internal Security at Mid-Decade 125
6 Recapturing Economic Reform 148
7 Pt. III The System Crumbles, 1969-1972
7 Nixon Doctrine and Latin America 173
8 The New Balance of Military Power 197
9 The Approaching Economic Crisis 219
10 Conclusions 245
Bibliography 255
Index 271
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