Category: Book Reviews

El misterio de las causalidades

Are the coincidences in our lives just random or could they have hidden causes and deeper meanings? Argentine author Maud Daverio Cox…

For Christ and Country

In the opening scene of James Weis’s superb For Christ and Country, Militant Catholic Youth in Post-Revolutionary Mexico…

Wait for Me

Forty years ago, when traveling to visit family and friends in Europe from conflict zones of Central America, I was often asked: “So, how are things going over there?” But there was…

Indigenous Peoples, Active Agents

Recently, the Amazon and its indigenous residents have become hot issues, metaphorically as well as climatically. News stories around the world have documented raging and relatively…

Beyond the Sociology Books

If you are not from Colombia and hoping to understand the South American nation of 50 million souls, you might tend to focus on “Colombia the terrible”—narcotics and decades of socio-political violence…

Spatial, Sonic and Sublime Remains of War

I read Javier Uriarte’s book over the course of a winter long both in metaphor and reality, during a pandemic that peaked in snowy New England in the early months of 2021. One might imagine

Poetry and History in 18th-century Brazil

In his presentation of the beautifully published volume, Obras Completas de Alvarenga Peixoto, historian Kenneth Maxwell turns our attention to one of his specialties, the late 18th-century

The Price of Gold

English + Español
I loved to be in the Chocó. My work on a biodiversity conservation project allowed me to travel frequently to the seldom-visited northwest fringe of Colombia. The…

Bolivia in the Age of Gas

Bret Gustafson’s Bolivia in the Age of Gas is an ambitious and exquisitely detailed historical ethnography of Bolivia and its complicated relation with gas (and oil). Fossil fuels, Gustafson argues, have been central to the making of Bolivia, of this “gaseous state.” Drawing on a deep, decades-long engagement in the region…

El jardín pandémico

English + Español
Imagine the tranquility of a garden. With the aroma of flowers mixed in with the buzzing of bees and the contrast of shady trees against the fierce Paraguayan sun. From the intimacy of a family garden in which daily ritual leads one to water the plants, gather up the dry leaves…

How Democracies Die

How Democracies Die analyzes the main dangers that modern democracies face. As the authors warn, 21st-century democracies do not die in one fell swoop, in a violent way, by hands that do not always belong to the political system. On the contrary, modern democracies…

The Return of Collective Intelligence

My college Native American Culture professor,  the Mescalero Apache scholar Inez Sánchez, told our class that we should regard the word “primitive” as synonymous with “complex.” I gained a better understanding of what Sánchez meant reading The Return of Collective…

Vernacular Sovereignties

English + Español
Manuela Lavinas Picq, a professor at the Universidad San Francisco en Quito, Ecuador, offers a rarely seen representation of Latin American Indigenous women as a collective, historical and political actor in search of justice and social transformation. Eurocentric, capitalist…

The Fernando Coronil Reader

English + Español
Fernando Coronil appears on the cover of this posthumous book in a photograph taken by his daughter Mariana. Cement and a communications tower appears to distance him from his beloved plains and grasslands. But no such distance exists. The hammock from…

Borderland Battles

When then-President Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace accord with one of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest guerrillas in 2016 (the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), optimism ran high that an end to decades-long violence in Colombia had been…

Exile Music

Novels about the Holocaust and Jewish survival span countries and languages and audiences of all ages. Such stories tend to be told against a European or United States background. Rarely does a novel involve European Jewish refugees who found sanctuary in Latin…

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