Related to This Book

Other Sites

The Ugly American

Eugene Burdick (Author), William J. Lederer (Author)


The multi-million-copy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroad.

In the episode that lends the book its title, the "ugly American" is Homer Atkins, a plain and plain-spoken man, who has been sent by the U.S. government to advise the Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan on engineering projects. When Atkins finds badly misplaced priorities and bluntly challenges the entrenched interests, he lays bare a foreign policy gone dangerously wrong.

First published in 1958, The Ugly American became a runaway national bestseller for its slashing exposé of American arrogance, incompetence, and corruption in Southeast Asia. In linked stories and vignettes, the book uses gripping storytelling to draw a devastating picture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • January 1999
  • ISBN 978-0-393-31867-8
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 288 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“A very important bombshell.” — New York Herald Tribune

“Not only important but consistently entertaining.” — New York Times

“Slashing.... Draw[s] the reader into a vital subject rarely treated by fiction.” — Time

“[A] powerful and absorbing indictment.... Should be required reading in Washington and elsewhere.” — Kirkus Reviews

“To make use of the truth, unbelievable truth... William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick wrote this devastating indictment of American policy [in Southeast Asia] as fiction. But any correspondent who has been any length of time in the locale of the story will recognize its veracity.” — Robert Trumbull, New York Times Book Review

“A delightfully readable book.” — James A. Michener

“Both enlightening and absorbing reading, with humor and wit.” — Boston Herald

“A powerful, searching book.” — Los Angeles Times

Also by Eugene Burdick All

  1. Book CoverThe Deceptive American


  2. Book CoverThe Ugly American


Also by William J. Lederer All

  1. Book CoverComplete Cross-Country Skiing and Ski Touring

    Second Revised Edition / Paperback

  2. Book CoverCreating a Good Relationship


  3. Book CoverThe Deceptive American


All Subjects