A sort of alternative history showing how American foreign policy works in a fictional Southeast Asian country called Sarkhan, The Ugly American is well worth the read if only for the sheer inspiration and awesome ingenuity displayed by some of its characters even in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. It teaches not to miss the trees for the forest, that the devil is truly in the details. It unhesitatingly grabs and rips away the curtains to expose without apology what pathetically passes for American foreign policy in Southeast Asia when communism was rampant. It takes neither side of the conflict save for that of the people. Even better, my being from the area allowed me to enjoy the book that much more, what with the similarities and all hitting rather close to home. Only the average writing, somewhat disjointed narrative, and confusing multitude of characters keep this book from being truly great, but are far from justifiable cause for not reading it.