I mentioned last week I thought Petras and Morley's The United States and Chile didn't discuss Chile very much, preferring to focus on what the United States was doing to Chile. This was not a problem James Whelan's Allende: Death of a Marxist Dream had. It's focus, outside of a 5-page mention of the CIA monitoring events in Chile, is entirely concerned with the day Allende's government was overthrown by the military. Which makes for an interesting disconnect when compared to the other book.
Petras and Morley focused almost entirely on how the U.S. used economic influence to actively undermine the stability of the Allende government, and to strengthen likely opposition (such as the military). Whelan puts the blame for the fall of Allende's government solely on Allende. There's not a single mention of things like the U.S. drastically cutting aid, or how the began demanding immediate repayment of the credit they'd loaned the previous administrations. Kissinger gets one mention, but only in terms of negotiating the release of some of Allende's cabinet from prison.
Whelan does make certain points that suggest Allende wasn't really helping himself or his country with his policies. The near constant shuffling of people in his cabinets, and especially his tendency to assign such positions to people who had just been impeached by Congress, is petty at best, dangerous at worst. The armed raids on anti-Allende radio stations or newspapers don't help either.
At the same time, Whelan's writing is a little too obviously slanted in favor of the coup, without sufficient evidence to back it up. He quotes an Admiral Merino, who says the military conducted its own investigation into the 1973 congressional elections and found massive fraud. OK, what kind of fraud? What's your evidence or documentation? Keep in mind, this is guy involved in overthrowing a government, it might behoove an author to wonder if they guy is inventing justifications for their actions. If he can actually produce the proof, it doesn't hurt his case any, but nothing.
Whelan also tends to bestow dramatic and flowery descriptions to the military, and more derisive ones for Allende and his supporters. Merino is described as, 'a man of such iron resolve it did not desert him even in the shadow of the most momentous day of his life.', which, that's a bit much. Meanwhile, it was also necessary to describe Allende as a 'dandy', because he chose to wear a spotted handkerchief in his pocket as he went to work that morning. Pro-Allende radio stations are uniformly described as 'virulent' or 'churlish'. Carlos Altamarino, who claimed any people who revolted would be crushed by him personally, is mocked for fleeing once the fighting starting. Yes, it's sad he couldn't back up his tough talk, but it isn't as though any of these officers - Merino, Pinochet, or Leigh - were on the front lines themselves. They had other people doing their fighting and dying.
So in some ways, the book was informative, and written by a more objective author, it probably would have been an even better book. As it is, Whelan comes off like he has some anti-Marxist axe to grind, and unlike Morley and Petras, who also clear had a slant against the U.S. and its policies, Whelan didn't bring nearly enough supporting evidence to the fight. One might argue he's isn't attempting to justify the revolution, merely describe the events of it, but the language he uses throughout suggests otherwise.