Category: Book Reviews

Savoring the Maya Past

Every now and then, a book review request lands at just the right time to contemplate, even savor the work. I read and mused over Her Cup for Sweet Cacao as part of my journey from the United…

Modernity in Black and White

For years, one of my favorite pieces in the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) was the iconic Abaporu (1928), by Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral: a canvas…

La Güera Rodríguez

By now, history has added a layer to the many ironies that Brandeis historian Silvia Arrom highlights in her spirited book about a controversial historical figure. The recent irony is…

Authoritarian Police in Democracy

This deeply researched book suggests to its reader a truly tragic paradox: the possibility that under certain conditions, democratic institutions and processes may undermine rather than strengthen the rule of law. Building on grounded…

Surviving Mexico

Mexico is by far the most dangerous country for journalists to work in the Americas, and routinely hovers near the top of the world’s most dangerous, competing with countries like Iraq which are active war zones. Since 2000, 145 journalists have been killed in Mexico for…

Becoming Free, Becoming Black

The year was 1690. In the city of Havana, Cuba, a 20-year old enslaved woman named Juana asked the man who held her in slavery, one Juan Junco González, to grant her…

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 Robert 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

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