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The Fish That Ate the Whale review - Rich Cohen

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STRANGE FRUIT The rags-to-riches story offers a compelling look into international affairs and capitalism

The Fish That Ate the Whale

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Rich Cohen
publisher:
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
genre:
Biography

We gave it a B+

Cohen’s biography of ”Banana King” magnate Samuel Zemurray in The Fish That Ate the Whale is really a history of the yellow fruit itself. And like the single-topic books of John McPhee (Annals of the Former World) and Mark Kurlansky (Cod), it’s actually ?a lot more interesting than you might think. A Russian Jew who bootstrapped his way from the docks to the top of the United Fruit Co. and whose meddling in Central American affairs eventually led to mass bloodshed, Zemurray exemplified both the best and worst of American capitalism. His saga provides plenty of food for thought next time you grab one off the bunch. B+