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on 3 August 2014
Too much left unexplained in this. Very much outward looking in perspective and doesn't get into the subject, more an elevated view. Unlike penguins history of the USA, this feels like a really distant perspective with practically no human element. Pretty disappointed with this and will seek elsewhere to get a better understanding of what seems like a fascinating subject. Really not very engaging either.
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on 29 April 2013
It's hard to find a completely neutral yet accurate history of Latin America. This is both of those things, yet still very readable. If you want a concise history of this fascinating continent, I couldn't recommend this book more.
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on 30 October 2014
The best book on the history of this fascinating continent which endured such a dreadful birth at the hands of the Spanish
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on 11 February 2001
This is a first rate general introduction to Latin American history. It covers all the major movements and events in a sensible and balanced fashion and is written in a pleasantly accessible style. I particularly enjoyed the sections on literary and cultural developments. The text is supported by well-chosen charts and a useful selection of black-and-white maps which bring out clearly some of the points the author makes. Doubtless recognising that no work of this length can go into particular aspects of Latin American in any kind of detail the author has taken some pains over his bibliography, giving several good suggestions for further reading. I wish all regional histories were of this quality!
The only slight drawback with the book is its age. Quite a lot has happened in Latin America since 1993, when the book was first published. I hope Edwin Williamson finds time to publish an updated version; I should certainly be one of the first people to buy it.
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on 25 May 2015
Beware of buying the Kindle version - you do not get the revised 2009 edition, only the original 1992 publication.
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on 9 March 2014
This is a Comprehensive, well-written, well-researched book that provides an excellent account of the history of Latin America from Columbus onwards. Pre-columbian issues are covered where this helps to explain later interactions between colonists and the indigenous populations. The book is well-set out with the broad historical period broken down into relevant and manageable chapters. A particular strength of the book is the explanatory interweaving of developments in European politics and economics with the evolutionary course of Latin American history. Revelatory insights are offered on well-trodden topics such as interactions between colonists and "Indians", the role of the Catholic Church, and slavery. This, in my view, is an outstanding book and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who seeks insights into an area of historical discussion often neglected in mainstream works.
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on 14 November 2012
This is a sweeping panoramic review of Latin America, its origins and the momentous changes which occurred there once the Spanish conquistadores exploited the continent and left their mark for all time. This edition is of course out of date but still offers a general basic history. Williamson has produced a readable history on the development over 500 years and whets the appetite for more knowledge especially updated knowledge as Brazil awakens to become a powerful modern force in Latin America and the world, far outstripping her neighbours. Political change - always volatile in South America - needs to be reassessed in light of the Chavez regime and Argentina's turbulent existence. A fascinating continent it will always draw immense interest.
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on 20 November 2013
If you want the latest (2009) edition you need to buy the book not the Kindle download. Other than that I'm finding the book a very good introduction to the whole subject which I know very little about.
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on 7 November 2015
This is a terrific book. I've been reading it while travelling in Peru/Bolivia/Chile and I found that it gave me a fascinating insight into why things are the way they are. It covers a huge swathe of history in (for me) just the right level of detail - though I did skim read some of the stuff on the literary heritage. It is easy to read, very informative and leaves you with a taste for a bit more detail in the areas that especially interest you interested.
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on 5 February 2012
Haven't read all of this yet but from dips into a few sections I get the impression that the author is the kind of historian who tries to identify and analyse trends over time as opposed to just recording disparate events. Some people prefer this form of history but it can lead to a bit of revisionism and thus the artificial formation of non-existent trends along with tenuous links and causations. Nonetheless quite readable and enjoyable with some interesting theories. The one thing that struck me as with many histories of non-European regions is the focus on European colonial history and its effects to the almost complete ignorance of indigenous culture and their story. Indigenous peoples are discussed but mostly in reference to their interaction with Europeans.
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