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The Killing Zone

The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America

Second Edition

Stephen G. Rabe

Publication Date - April 2015

ISBN: 9780190216252

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

In Stock

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, Second Edition, 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.

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.

New to this Edition

  • An expanded chronology for the years 2010-2014
  • A new section on Mexico
  • An expanded analysis of the Cold War in Argentina and Guatemala
  • A revised Aftermath that includes new developments in Latin America from 2010-2014 and an analysis of Pope Francis's role in the Cold War and post-Cold War period
  • Updated footnotes and recommended readings

About the Author(s)

Stephen G. Rabe is the Ashbel Smith 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).

Previous Publication Date(s)

March 2011


"The Killing Zone is the best volume on U.S. policy towards Latin America in the Cold War."--Mitchell Lerner, Ohio State University

"The Killing Zone is an exemplary study of transnational history. Rabe demonstrates that the hemisphere's history must be understood from multiple angles and perspectives."--Jonathan D. Ablard, Ithaca College

"The Killing Zone convincingly emphasizes U.S. power and agency. It is a fine synthetic analysis of the origins and impact of U.S. interventions in Latin America."--David S. Foglesong, Rutgers University

"The best book available on U.S.-Latin American relations during the Cold War."--Andrew J. Kirkendall, Texas A&M University

Table of Contents

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

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