Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977-1992

Synopsis

In this book, William LeoGrande offers the first comprehensive history of U.S. foreign policy toward Central America in the waning years of the Cold War. From the overthrow of the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua and the outbreak of El Salvador's civil war in the late 1970s to the final regional peace settlements negotiated a decade later, he chronicles the dramatic struggles - in Washington and Central America - that shaped the region's destiny. LeoGrande's central argument is that our Central American policy was driven by the specter of Vietnam and conflicting views on how to avoid repeating that history. Throughout the book, LeoGrande interweaves three principal thematic threads: how events in Central America came to be considered threatening to the United States, how debates within the executive branch over the appropriate response shaped policy, and how conflicts between the White House and Congress constrained presidential options.