This comprehensive account of U.S.-Bolivian relations presents startling contrasts between the histories, mythologies, and economies of the two countries, debunking the pop-culture myth that Bolivia is a poorer and less modern version of the United States. Kenneth D. Lehman focuses primarily on the countries' relationship during the twentieth century, highlighting periods when Bolivia became important to the United States as a provider of tin during World War II, as a potential source of regional instability during the Cold War, and as a supplier of cocaine to the U.S. market in recent years. While the partnerships forged in these situations have been rooted in mutual self-interest, the United States was—and is—clearly dominant. Repeatedly, the U.S. policy toward Bolivia has moved from assistance to frustration and imposition, and the Bolivian response has intensified from submission to resentment and resistance. Bolivia and the United States presents an illuminating discussion of the real as well as mythical bonds that link these most distant and different neighbors, simultaneously providing an abundance of evidence to show how factors of culture and power complicate and limit true partnership.
This is an important contribution because for the first time it puts together the whole history of U.S.-Bolivian relations.
—Erick Langer, coeditor of The New Latin American Mission History
[Lehman] has a good grasp of Bolivian history, the Bolivian present reality, as well as the historical literature and sources.
—Charles W. Arnade, University of South Florida