Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinser, is the most elaborate and well researched account of the factors that led to the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954.The book recounts the modern history of a country struggling with extreme inequality, and how the interests of the United States, particularly the United Fruit Company, played into that struggle. The story begins with the fall of Dictator Jorge Ubico and the rise of the first popularly elected President of Guatemala, a teacher, Juan José Arévalo, in 1945. Arévalo enacted a wide array of reforms, among them the consolidation of democracy, the protection of labor, mild agrarian reform, and a host of other liberties associated with a modern democracy. In what was a relatively tumultuous transfer of power, Jacobo Arbenz became Guatemala’s second popularly elected president in 1951.In 1952, Arbenz engineered the passage of land reform legislation which drastically affected the holdings of the United Fruit Company. A vicious U.S. public relations campaign ensued eventually leading to the covert toppling of Arbenz’s regime under accusations of communism. Guatemala was then ruled by successive right-wing dictators, all supported by the U.S. politically and financially, enduring political violence the likes of which very few countries have seen, until the 1996 signing of the peace accords.