Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Fish That Ate the Whale

The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen

With engaging prose and an engrossing story, Cohen lays out the page-turning life of Sam the Banana Man. He started life on a Russian wheat farm, immigrated to America, and became head of United Fruit during its biggest financial success and largest moral failures.

Cohen can tell a story like nothing else, and this is quite the story to tell. Sam Zemurray is the American dream made real, in the best and worst ways. I didn't know a lot about US involvement in Latin and South America via fruit companies beyond the term "Banana Republic" and it being super shady, and this really helped lay out a lot of what was going on. From the New Orleans docks to Panamanian banana plantations to Manhattan boardrooms, it was a book I could not put down. A perfect blend of fascinating subject and wonderful narrative voice. I have put several other books by Cohen on hold.

Book Provided by... my local library

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