Historical Context

Marlon Brando as Ambassador Harrison Carter MacWhite in the 1963 film version of The Ugly American Published by Gale Cengage

The Cold War in the 1950s

During the 1950s, and continuing until the late 1980s, global politics was dominated by...

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The Ugly American Literary Style


The Ugly American is an unusual novel in that there is only a loose connection between all the...

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The Ugly American Compare and Contrast

  • 1950s: In 1957, the Russians launch Sputnik 1, the first space satellite, thus inaugurating the space age. This event prompts...

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The Ugly American Topics for Further Study

  • What was the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, and how did it lead to the Vietnam War? What are the lessons to be derived from the Vietnam...

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The Ugly American Media Adaptations

  • The Ugly American was made into a film in 1962, produced and directed by George Englund and starring Marlon Brando as...

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The Ugly American What Do I Read Next?

  • In Sarkhan (1965; published as The Deceptive American in 1977) Burdick and Lederer return to the fictional landscape of...

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The Ugly American Bibliography and Further Reading


Abrams, M. H., A Glossary of Literary Terms, fourth edition, Holt,...

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The Ugly American Bibliography

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Ferrer, Hugh. “Notes on the Connecticut Yankee.” Iowa Review 36, no. 2 (2006): 168-175. Makes connections between Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889) and Lederer and Burdick’s The Ugly American regarding American imperialism and styles of writing.

Hellmann, John. “Vietnam as Symbolic Landscape: The Ugly American and the New Frontier.” Peace and Change 9, nos. 2/3 (Summer, 1983): 40-54. An insightful analysis that discusses not only the novel’s reception and ramifications in American politics and writings but also the authors’ literary techniques and ideology.

Trumbull, Robert....

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