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The Killing Zone

The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America

Stephen G. Rabe

Publication Date - April 2011

ISBN: 9780195333237

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $19.95

A sweeping, no-holds-barred rebuke of U.S. Cold War triumphalism in Latin America


The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America is a comprehensive yet concise analysis of U.S. policies in Latin America during the Cold War. Author Stephen G. Rabe, a leading authority in the field, argues that the sense of joy and accomplishment that accompanied the end of the Cold War, the liberation of Eastern Europe, and the collapse of the Soviet Union must be tempered by the realization that Latin Americans paid a ghastly price during the Cold War. Dictatorship, authoritarianism, the methodical abuse of human rights, and campaigns of state terrorism characterized life in Latin America between 1945 and 1989. Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala endured appalling levels of political violence. The U.S. repeatedly intervened in the internal affairs of Latin American nations in the name of anticommunism, destabilizing constitutional governments and aiding and abetting those who murdered and tortured.

Incorporating recently declassified documents, Rabe supplements his strong, provocative historical narrative with stories about the fates of ordinary Latin Americans, an extensive chronology, a series of evocative photographs, and an annotated bibliography.

About the Author(s)

Stephen G. Rabe is Professor of History at The University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of several books, including John F. Kennedy: World Leader (2010), U.S. Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story (2005), and The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (1999).


"A tight, compelling, deftly-drawn overview. . . . Rabe helps readers see how this doleful past challenges the popular, triumphalist version of the anticommunist struggle. A fresh, valuable addition to the literature." --Michael H. Hunt, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Gracefully written and carefully documented, Rabe takes us inside Washington's policy making process to explain not simply the substance of U.S. policy, but also the logic behind it." --Lars Schoultz, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"The Killing Zone astutely synthesizes recent cutting-edge scholarship. At once analytic and empathetic, Rabe has delivered a thunderous dissent in the midst of the 'job-well-done' back slapping that continues to pass for much of Cold War historiography." --Greg Grandin, New York University

"Historian Stephen G. Rabe's The Killing Zone is a powerful indictment of United States policy in Latin America during the Cold War. ... The Killing Zone is an engaging synthesis of the literature on recent United States-Latin American relations..." --International Social Science Review

Table of Contents

    The United States and Latin America: Cold War Chronology
    1. Roots of Cold War Interventions
    2. The Kennan Corollary
    3. Guatemala--The Mother of Interventions
    4. War Against Cuba
    5. No More Cubas--The Kennedy and Johnson Doctrines
    6. Military Dictators--Cold War Allies
    7. Cold War Horrors--Central America
    Recommendations for Further Reading and Research Index

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