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Our Man in Panama: How General Noriega Used the United States- And Made Millions in Drugs and Arms

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An award-winning investigative journalist uncovers and dramatizes the secret history of Noriega's rise to power with the help of the United States. Photographs. An award-winning investigative journalist uncovers and dramatizes the secret history of Noriega's rise to power with the help of the United States. Photographs.


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An award-winning investigative journalist uncovers and dramatizes the secret history of Noriega's rise to power with the help of the United States. Photographs. An award-winning investigative journalist uncovers and dramatizes the secret history of Noriega's rise to power with the help of the United States. Photographs.

30 review for Our Man in Panama: How General Noriega Used the United States- And Made Millions in Drugs and Arms

  1. 4 out of 5

    John Vandike

    I picked this up at Half Price Books out of a sense of curiosity. I was only ten when the US invaded Panama, so I thought it would be an interesting walk down memory lane. The author is an investigative journalist, as such the book weaves a bit between a biography of Noriega, a history of Panama and its politics, and an investigation into the drug wars in Central America. There were plenty of familiar names sprinkled throughout the book: Reagan, George HW Bush, Ollie North and Pablo Escobar as we I picked this up at Half Price Books out of a sense of curiosity. I was only ten when the US invaded Panama, so I thought it would be an interesting walk down memory lane. The author is an investigative journalist, as such the book weaves a bit between a biography of Noriega, a history of Panama and its politics, and an investigation into the drug wars in Central America. There were plenty of familiar names sprinkled throughout the book: Reagan, George HW Bush, Ollie North and Pablo Escobar as well as people who probably figured prominently in newspaper accounts at the time (Kalish) but have fallen out of general memory. Though Noriega had quite the reputation for violence, drunkeness, and sexual escapades the author sticks to what is provable, generally avoiding lurid and unsubstantiated details. As a result, the books ends up a little on the dry side, but the writing flows easily. Finally, this book is not half "Panama before Operation Just Cause" and half after the US intervention. In fact, the US invasion of Panama, Noriega's ten-day long asylum in the Papal Nuncio's residence, and his surrender all take place over a brisk three pages. The author's final chapter is an intriguing analysis of Noriega and his relationship with the United States. He (the author) posits that by-and-large the US was fairly content to 'look the other way' on Noriega's drug and arms dealing and his sometimes excessively cozy relationship with Fidel Castro so long as he did not make too many waves on the US's murky involvement in Nicaragua and the rather one-sided Panama Canal Treaty. But eventually, Noriega went just a little too far and the US decided it was time to tighten the leash on one of its Central American clients. (An aside: as usual there are a few pictures tucked into the center of the book. One of them is a cartoon with George HW Bush conducting a meeting about "our crumbling infrastructure" and Noriega sticking his head around Bush's chair mocking the elder Bush that he (Noriega) is still in power. What I chuckled about was that this was published in 1990...30 years ago...and our infrastructure was crumbling even then.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lance Karlson

    Highly detailed and well-researched investigation into Manuel Noriega's sordid affairs with the United States. He was a man who played the US, the Cubans and the Medellin Cartel at the same time, blackmailing and scheming his way to power. Yet it was the United States who ultimately created his success and funded him through the CIA. This book became a significant contribution to my research for my novel, The Noriega Tapes. Thanks John for this work, for your feedback and support. Highly detailed and well-researched investigation into Manuel Noriega's sordid affairs with the United States. He was a man who played the US, the Cubans and the Medellin Cartel at the same time, blackmailing and scheming his way to power. Yet it was the United States who ultimately created his success and funded him through the CIA. This book became a significant contribution to my research for my novel, The Noriega Tapes. Thanks John for this work, for your feedback and support.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

    from http://weeksnotice.blogspot.com/2013/... I happened to pick up John Dinges' Our Man in Panama, a 1990 book about Manuel Noriega's rise to power. The invasion itself is mentioned only briefly at the end, which was fine with me. What's more interesting is how the situation developed. It is a reminder of how weird that invasion was. The U.S. government was split any number of ways about Noriega and only toward the very end did anyone consider him an "enemy." Even then, many still didn't. For the from http://weeksnotice.blogspot.com/2013/... I happened to pick up John Dinges' Our Man in Panama, a 1990 book about Manuel Noriega's rise to power. The invasion itself is mentioned only briefly at the end, which was fine with me. What's more interesting is how the situation developed. It is a reminder of how weird that invasion was. The U.S. government was split any number of ways about Noriega and only toward the very end did anyone consider him an "enemy." Even then, many still didn't. For the most part, he was the friendly leader who helped the DEA (including, ironically, the arrest and extradition of someone who later testified against him) and helped the Contras. He was a team player. That he was corrupt was no big deal--everyone was corrupt. Omar Torrijos had established the system that Noriega inherited. Noriega's own addition was drug trafficking, which the U.S. had first officially noticed in the early 1970s. Dinges goes through all the evidence with care, showing how deeply involved Noriega was in the drug trade and how brutal he could be. As he notes, and it's still true now, no one feels sorry for him as he had almost no redeeming qualities. But going straight to invasion essentially for personal reasons is still amazingly disproportionate. Using similar criteria elsewhere, we'd be involved in even more wars than we are now.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Dinges

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  6. 5 out of 5

    Todd

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gilson Landry S. Brasil

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark Brown

  9. 4 out of 5

    Basscampva

  10. 4 out of 5

    Reader from Costa Rica

  11. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Rich

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul Andersen

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  15. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Chan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Izabela

  17. 4 out of 5

    Russ

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Mojica

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  20. 4 out of 5

    Richard Bauer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chiranjit Samanta

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Starn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jose

  28. 4 out of 5

    George R.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marggie Brumas

  30. 5 out of 5

    Enrique

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