cover of book

In Their Own Best Interest: A History of the U.S. Effort to Improve Latin Americans
by Lars Schoultz
Harvard University Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-674-98414-1 | Paper: 978-0-674-24492-4 | eISBN: 978-0-674-98901-6
Library of Congress Classification F1418. S395 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 327.7308


Winner of the William M. LeoGrande Prize

For over a century, the United States has sought to improve the behavior of the peoples of Latin America. Perceiving their neighbors to the south as underdeveloped and unable to govern themselves, U.S. policy makers have promoted everything from representative democracy and economic development to oral hygiene. But is improvement a progressive impulse to help others, or realpolitik in pursuit of a superpower’s interests?

“In this subtle and searing critique of U.S. efforts to ‘uplift’ Latin America, Lars Schoultz challenges us to question the fundamental tenets of the development industry that became entrenched in the U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy over the last century.”
—Piero Gleijeses, author of Visions of Freedom

“In this masterful work, Lars Schoultz provides a companion and follow-up to his classic Beneath the United States…A necessary and rewarding read for scholars and students of U.S. foreign policy and inter-American relations.”
—Renata Keller, The Americas

Nearby on shelf for Latin America. Spanish America / Latin America (General):