Now in a concise edition created expressly for students and general readers, this widely hailed study traces the transformation of the tropics in modern times. Exploring the central role of the United States in the ongoing devastation of tropical lands, Richard Tucker highlights the unrelenting pressure caused by the demands of U.S. consumerism. The forced domestication of varied natural systems ultimately led to a devastating decline in biodiversity. The author brings his analysis to life with a series of vivid case studies of sugar, bananas, coffee, rubber, beef, and timber-each a virtual empire in itself. All readers who are interested in environmental degradation and its links to the world economy will be enlightened by this nuanced history.