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Download The History of Latin America: Collision of Cultures (Palgrave Essential Histories Series) epub

by Marshall C. Eakin

This narrative history of Latin America surveys five centuries in less than five hundred pages. The first third of the book moves from the Americas before Columbus to the wars for independence in the early nineteenth century. The construction of new nations and peoples in the nineteenth century forms the middle third, and the final section analyzes economic development, rising political participation, and the search of identity over the last century. The collision of peoples and cultures--Native Americans, Europeans, Africans--that defines Latin America, and gives it both its unity and diversity, provides the central theme of this concise, synthetic history.

Download The History of Latin America: Collision of Cultures (Palgrave Essential Histories Series) epub
ISBN: 1403980810
ISBN13: 978-1403980816
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Marshall C. Eakin
Language: English
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First edition (June 12, 2007)
Pages: 448 pages
ePUB size: 1634 kb
FB2 size: 1907 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 352
Other Formats: txt lrf mbr mobi

a good read.
This is the perfect view for someone who wants to fill in the blanks on Latin America. The region hasn't been a primary focus for study in our schools. It's a pretty easy read. Enjoy.
El trabajo de Eakin nos invita a bucar y encontrar el significado de nuestra historia y de la situación de America en el mundo.
This book has not been edited by anyone! literally the author repeats the same sets of sentences word for word within paragraphs of each other, and sometimes it seems one is reading deja vu sentences from previous chapters. Found several badly written sentences and disjointed meanings and even few typos! Meaning- this book has not been edited by anyone, and probably not even subsequent drafts by the author. BUT- it is easy to read at a steady pace to start to have a good basis for understanding latin america, and also as a reference for any left-leaning works on Latin American history you might be reading such as Galeano. The pages do keep moving though and its more palatable than a textbook,I just think the editing was very unprofessional/ non existent
Eakin is an ever interesting guide to almost the whole continent. He's sensitive to how myriads of struggles appeared to all groups involved. His focus is wide, but with certain boundaries. He only glances at Native cultures before contact with Europe, because "Latin America" only appeared with the mixing of worlds and races. He basically omits mention of the Mexican regions seized by the United States, or of areas colonized by non-Iberians such as the Guyanas, Suriname, Belize, and Jamaica. But he covers Haiti. Almost everywhere Natives, Africans and Latin White folks mixed together, Eakin tells the tale.

The book gives helpful background on what "Liberal" and "Conservative" have meant in these parts of the world. But the political options advanced by Native comminities seem basically overlooked in the Liberal-Conservative crossfire. The long-running tension between managed and unregulated economies gets a general, even-handed account. But the nationalist response to US-backed corporate interests is better explored by Naomi Klein.

For most of the book Eakin gives theme-based surveys of the whole continent. Then he gives brief, insightful summaries on each nation. But I wanted more light on Colombia's disturbing troubles. I think the book offers more insight on many smaller countries, including the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and even Puerto Rico, than it gives on Colombia.
I'd like to start by saying that Latin American history is a subject that anyone interested in politics should make themselves familiar with. While many history and polisci buffs have a good deal of American and European history under their belts, but they don't realize that there are 21 politically advanced countries that they have little to no knowledge of.

Beyond this, Latin American history is comparatively easy to learn, as unlike Europe or the Middle East, there are relatively few influences, which Eakin describes as a collision of 3 cultures--European (specifically Iberian), African, and Amerindian. My review on this book will focus more on history books as a whole than on the History of Latin America : Collision of Cultures, because what it does is avoids the pitfalls that many other histories fall for.

The first difficulty when it comes to writing a history book is what narrative to take. Too simplistic a narrative will show that you have an axe to grind, which may give you book sales, but will make the book worse when it comes to education value. However, this is made slightly easier by the subject. Compared to the myriad influences of Europe and the Middle East, which make any detailed narrative come out as rather inane, for instance, everyone agrees that the Crusades influenced Europe and the Middle East. However, how much did the Crusades influence these regions? Is the narrative of crusade and counter-crusade an appropriate view to take? By writing over such a long period, Eakin is able to partially avoid the problem of narrative--because with such a great deal of facts to deal with in such a small amount of space, it's rather hard to insert a story into all of these events.

The explanation Eakin gives to Latin America's poverty (a subject which many theories have tried to explain--Dependency theory was originally made to explain this and later was extrapolated towards all of the third world) has to do with the lost half-century after the independence wars, when there was endemic instability, multiple civil wars, and generally a set of things which don't support long term political and economic growth. This missing 5 decades meant that when these countries finally opened up to the international market, they were overtaken by the far stronger economies (this actually follows rather well, for instance, Buenos Aires was, in 1910, the size that New York was in 1860). Beyond this, the history of autocracy left by the Spaniard and Indoamerican Empires conspired to keep a majority of these countries autocratic (this theory also follows--the most democratic nations in the region, those being Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Costa Rica, were all the backwaters of the Spanish Empire), though this is a history that all of the countries have been trying to avoid. This narrative avoids the racism of a cultural explanation, the blame of dependency theory (though there is definitely blame to go around and Eakin puts credit where credit is due--stating that the problems that Mexico inherited from Spain were exacerbated by constant meddling on the USA's part).

The second problem with writing a history is when one shifts eras. The speed at which events occur is different pre-1800 than post 1800, and they're also different pre-1945 than post 1945. However, the chapters dealings with the Colonial period deal with the lack of things going on by also detailing the growing of the cultural divergences between the Metropolis and the Periphery, leading to a Creole culture (a narrative which works for the entirety of political history in the New World, to the degree where the book calls the Founding Fathers Creoles). The Victorian Era, which is where a great deal of histories occur, reads similarly to any other Victorian history. And when he gets to the post WW2 era, where, admittedly even for a single country it becomes almost too complicated to write as part of a larger book, he splits it up into 5 page segments for each country.

All in all, a fantastic history, and a great, unbiased start for a student about to take a Latin America course.
You have to expect that any book covering more than one year of history per page is going to be a survey, and this is a good one. The author has a clear and comfortable style, command of his facts, and tenable theses. The book is littered with references to other materials you will be tempted to pursue.