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A Concise History of Bolivia (Cambridge Concise Histories) Paperback – 31 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (31 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521183723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521183727
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 963,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

This new edition brings the history of Bolivian society up to the present, covering the fundamental changes that have occurred since the National Revolution of 1952, the return of democracy in 1982, the installation of the first self-proclaimed Indian president and the major changes from the government of Evo Morales.

About the Author

Herbert S. Klein is the author of 22 books and 163 articles in several languages on Latin America and comparative themes in social and economic history. Among these books are The Atlantic Slave Trade, 2nd edition (2010) and four studies of slavery, the most recent of which are Slavery and the Economy of São Paulo, 1750–1850 (co-author, 2003), African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean (co-author, 2008) and Slavery in Brazil (co-author, 2009), as well as four books on Bolivian history. He has also published books on such diverse themes as The American Finances of the Spanish Empire, 1680–1809 (1998), A Population History of the United States (2004) and Hispanics in the United States Since 1980 (co-author, 2010).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. A. Gower on 3 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having not known a thing about Bolivia prior to reading this book I am inspired to find out more. Although obviously a standard text for courses on Latin America I found it easy to read and consumed the book within a week. Bolivar has a fascinating history shaped by geography, ethic mix and economic structure that have had provided an interesting background to a somewhat volatile political situation. My only criticism is the basic nature of the maps within the book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard O Knight on 18 April 2005
Format: Paperback
Our news organisations may seldom remind us of the fact, but there is a marvellous continent in our world called South America, where the landscape is breathtaking, the people warm-hearted and generous, and the history fascinating. One of its most remote countries is the jewel that is Bolivia: dramatic, vertiginous, colourful, and dynamic. For those who have awoken to this nation as a place to discover, this history offers a most readable account of Bolivia's history from the time of the Incas, through the plundering of its mineral riches by the Spanish, and on to the establishment of an independent republic and all the political tribulations that have ensued.
Klein clearly has a passion for his subject, and a thorough knowledge of Bolivian history. Moreover, he writes with a clarity of style and enables the reader to engage with the unfolding story that he has to tell. The best aspect for me was that whilst informing me of many fascinating aspects of Bolivian culture and history, he left me wanting to find out more.
I thoroughly recommend this book, but be warned: if you haven't already been to this special country, you will want to after reading Klein's book. And if, like me, you have had the good fortune to travel there, you will only wnat to return all the more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Valuable to any traveler to Bolivia 12 July 2004
By fdoamerica - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read Herbert Klein as I traveled, through Bolivia. The first five chapters (Pre-Columbian through the Creation of a Nation State 1841) enriched my visits to Sucre, Potosi, Oruro, and La Paz. Though the text is not intended for the average tourist, it is valuable to any traveler who has more than a passing curosity about this unusual, provocative country.

Herbert Klein is Profossor of Lain American History at Columbia and his writting style reflects this. "A Concise Short History of Bolivia" reads like a college text book, jammed with dates, famous and obsure names, events and the obicucious commentary. It is evident that Klien has a sharp grasp of Bolivian politics and ecomnomics, and his comments bring light to the the plight and oppression that the people of Bolivia have endure. No where in South America have the poor been as exploited as they have in Bolivia.

The leaders of Bolivia have consistantly placed the hopes for an economic renewal in Bolivia on one major export (first silver, then tin, now gas). They have not learned from history. They exploit one non-renewable resource, and spend the money (that doesn't first go into the pockets of corrupt politians and their cornies) on bigger government building, a larger militiary (Bolivia, a land locked nation still supports a Navy) and squander the people's future. Herbert Klein clearly show how history documented this. Saddly, it is happening again today with the newly found reserves of LPG.

After visiting Potosi and its infamious mines of 'Cerro Rico', a huge cone shaped mountain where over 300 mines exist to extract silver, I was perplexed to find that Klein does not mention that over 8 million, million! men have suffered and died mining this mountain since 1545 when the silver was discovered. Klein glosses over this fact, choosing not to elucidate how the Spanish Crown was responsible for the genenocide, yes genenocide, of the indigious poplulation. Strikingly, Klien is silent. I sensed in reading this history text he did not want to rock any boats, and instead choose a text that would be "acceptable" for any college class (including those in Spain)... Viva the status quo!

That said, the text is strongly recommended for any student of South American history, Bolivia and for those that are planning more than a few days in this wonderfully obscure country.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Read it if you must (but what else is there?) 20 Jun. 2007
By Jonathan Carr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I grabbed this book as we packed our things and headed to the hospital for my baby's birth. I don't believe I would have read it otherwise. But I had nearly two days and while my wife and baby slept, I read.

The writing is tedious--single sentence paragraph after single sentence paragraph. Klein often repeats his ideas and his historical summaries. It is as if he knows that the previous paragraphs lack clarity, and he circles around for another go.

But the worse part is that Klein leaves out all the things that make history interesting. There are no personal stories or anecdotes. He handles famous Bolivian figures like Simon Patiño, once the wealthiest man in the world, by looking at his land holdings and his mining operations. He does not examine the man himself. He glosses over entire regimes, barely touching on known and well documented atrocities. He does not draw connections between Bolivia and the rest of South America, does not mention the influx of Jews feeing Nazi Germany (nearly all of whom left after the war). Only a few paragraphs mention slavery (both Indian and African).

There are not many books about Bolivia. And I understand why. There are more people in Manhattan than all of Bolivia. However, its history is fascinating. It is a history of grand failures. Though Klein's book did fill-out my understanding of Bolivian history, it failed to do the place justice. There is no magic in Klein's history, no personality. The tragedy of the place is lost in long circular sentences and pedestrian historical examinations. The book will be a good reference should I ever need one, but I would not recommend reading it through.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Accurate and engaging 29 Mar. 2005
By A. Wise - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a college student doing research on Bolivia, this text provided an excellent framework for my overall understanding of Bolivia's development. The book is both accurate and interesting, and provides a broad overview that includes virtually every important development in Bolivian history. There is also an excellent bibliography. Excellent resource, highly recommended
A good introduction to the theme... 24 April 2009
By Clayton M. Cunha Fh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book is really good if you're looking for a way to enter the study of Bolivian politics. Though I found that in the end, it should have stressed more the political rise of the coca leaf peasants trade unions and party.
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