Book Reviews

The new ReVista book review section features reviews of recent books about Latin America, the Caribbean and the Latinx community in all disciplines. 

Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree

Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree

In the natural and social sciences, as in any other scholarly discipline, certain researchers become intimately associated with the study of particular topics. Think about Walter Álvarez and…

Consolidating Mexico’s Democracy

Consolidating Mexico’s Democracy

On Mexico’s presidential election night, July 2, 2006, I stood with reporters in a brightly lit room in the Federal Electoral Institute, the sprawling nerve center located in Mexico City’s outskirts. The…

All About Almodóvar: A Passion for Cinema

All About Almodóvar: A Passion for Cinema

Pedro Almodóvar films, as any fan knows, are fastidiously designed and art-directed to the nth degree. They provide grist for mills aesthetic and ideological, emotional and intellectual, on…

Other Cities, Other Worlds

Other Cities, Other Worlds

Author of a marvelous book that excavates the palimpsests of memories encrypted in the image-filled voids of Berlin, Andreas Huyssen extends his investigation of the urban imaginary in…

Cuba on the Edge: Short Stories from the Island

Cuba on the Edge: Short Stories from the Island

If you want to read contemporary Cuban fiction and do not have access to the Spanish original, an increasing number of excellent translations will now allow you to become acquainted with…

God Needs No Passport

God Needs No Passport

For a practicing Buddhist, my first Mass attendance at St. Ambrose two years ago was a memorable event. I had spent the earlier part of the day visiting…

Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua

Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua

Stephen Kinzer, New York Times Bureau Chief in Nicaragua for most of the war years, pauses in his compelling account of the war and its politics to explain the Socratic method needed to give…

Santiago’s Children

Santiago’s Children

There are five reasons I jumped at the chance to write a preface to Steve Reifenberg’s memoir about living and working in the early 1980s in a home for Chilean children who would otherwise…

Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education

Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education

After an exhausting game of soccer with a crew of Mexico City street children, Vicente, a young teenager of 13 said, “Vamonos a la verga.” It was my third day with Casa Alianza, the international…

The Emergence of China

The Emergence of China

The vast majority of people in power in Latin America today—in business, government, labor unions, political parties and academia—entered professional life in the late 1960s and early….

Disappeared: A Journalist Silenced

Disappeared: A Journalist Silenced

The cover of Disappeared: A Journalist Silenced depicts the Guatemalan journalist Irma Flaquer holding up a page in her left hand as if proofreading. Yet, her eyes are not looking at the paper…

Paradise in Ashes

Paradise in Ashes

Traditionally, anthropologists have divorced themselves emotionally and physically from their subjects, placing the highest priority on objectivity and the role of the anthropologist as expert…

Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate

Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate

first met Kevin “Benito” Healy a little over four years ago at an information session he gave to a group of State Department Foreign Service officers on their way to assignments in the Andes. After the session, I asked Healy…

Integrating the Americas: FTAA and Beyond

Integrating the Americas: FTAA and Beyond

oday, two out of five people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) live below the official World Bank poverty line of two dollars per day. Over the last two decades, the number of poor…

Cacaos y tigres de papel

Cacaos y tigres de papel

During the political crisis that almost toppled the government of President Ernesto Samper, no one examined the role played by business. This was despite the fact that, on several occasions…

Linchamientos: ¿barbarie o justicia popular?

Linchamientos: ¿barbarie o justicia popular?

If you have stumbled on one of those news stories telling how an angry mob turned a suspected criminal into a human torch in Guatemala and wondered how such medieval violence can take…

Sex and the State

Sex and the State

Abortion, divorce and gender equality in the family are three of the most controversial policy issues that Latin American governments have faced in the twentieth century. Yet for too long…

Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy

Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy

The defeat of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known by its Spanish acronym as PRI, in the July 2000 presidential election was the anti-climatic finish to the process of democratization that…

My World Is Not of This Kingdom

My World Is Not of This Kingdom

Gregory Rabassa translated My World Is Not of This Kingdom by João de Melo because it was the most astonishing novel he had read since One Hundred Years of Solitude. He undertook this…

Proclaiming Revolution

Proclaiming Revolution

In April of 1952, Bolivia, an obscure, landlocked, country with a mining economy and an impoverished indigenous majority in the heart of South America jumped to the front pages of…

Poéticas del flujo

Poéticas del flujo

osé Antonio Mazzotti, in his second book, Poéticas del flujo. Migración y violencia verbales, identifies the different trends in 1980s Peruvian poetry. With characteristic flexibility and a wide…

Signs of the Inka Khipu

Signs of the Inka Khipu

How people know things is as important for study as is what they know. Facts do not exist without a system of thought. How facts become facts, the basic units of knowledge, is crucial to…

The Company They Kept

The Company They Kept

For nearly a century, Central America and the Caribbean were the mis-en-scène of the bananero culture that thrived for nearly a century (1870-1960). The culture itself is famous for…

Audacious Reforms

Audacious Reforms

For many Latin Americans, the hopes raised by political democracy over the past two decades have been dashed by the realities of persistent poverty and growing social inequality, and by the…

Globalization and the Rural Environment

Globalization and the Rural Environment

Those of us who work as leaders of rural development, training and agricultural research programs in low-income countries find that the daily realities of the field take up a large part of…

Crossroads and Unholy Water

Crossroads and Unholy Water

ARILENE PHIPPS’ FIRST full-length collection of poems, Crossroads andUnholy Water, is sure to draw the same attention that won her the Grolier Poetry Prize in 1993. Also a painter, Phipps uses…

Latin America and the World Economy

Latin America and the World Economy

Latin America and the World Economy since 1800 edited by John H. Coatsworth and Alan M. Taylor marks a watershed in the research agenda. It is important for several reasons. First, as the…

Indigenous Movements and their Critics

Indigenous Movements and their Critics

I arrived in Guatemala for the first time in 1996 to administer the cultural, information and educational exchange programs of the U.S. Embassy. This must have been around the same…