To celebrate the release of My First Life, the story of Hugo Chávez’s early years told in his own words, we present a reading list of titles on Latin America. From a tour of Latin American architecture to a graphic biography of Che Guevara to writings from Toussaint L’Ouverture, the leader of the Haitian Revolution, to the definitive history of the drug cartels, we have plenty to help you brush up on Latin American history and contemporary politics as we head into the new school year!
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My First Life
by Hugo Chávez with Ignacio Ramonet
Translated by Ann Wright
Hugo Chávez, military officer turned left-wing revolutionary, was one of the most important Latin American leaders of the twenty-first century. This book tells the story of his life up to his election as president in 1998. His collaborator on this book is Ignacio Ramonet, the famous French journalist (and editor for many years of Le Monde diplomatique), who undertook a similar task with Fidel Castro (Fidel Castro: My Life).
Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics
by Jules Boykoff
Foreword by Dave Zirin
With the Rio Olympics just getting under way, thousands of Brazilians are protesting the inequalities highlighted by the opulence of the Games, the broken promises of the government to clean up the city and build new infrustructure, and the interim presidency of Michel Temer. Power Games is a timely, no-holds barred, critical political history of the modern Olympic games written by political scientist and former US Olympic team member Jules Boykoff.
A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America
by Óscar Martínez
Translated by Daniela Maria Ugaz and John Washington
Introduction by Jon Lee Anderson
Martínez travels to Nicaraguan fishing towns, southern Mexican brothels where Central American women are trafficked, isolated Guatemalan jungle villages, and crime-ridden Salvadoran slums. With his precise and empathetic reporting, he explores the underbelly of these troubled places.
“A chilling portrait of corruption, unimaginable brutality and impunity”
– Financial Times
The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail
by Óscar Martínez
Translated by Daniela Maria Ugaz and John Washington
Introduction by Francisco Goldman
Martínez writes in powerful, unforgettable prose about clinging to the tops of freight trains; finding respite, work and hardship in shelters and brothels; and riding shotgun with the border patrol. Illustrated with stunning full-color photographs, The Beast is the first book to shed light on the harsh new reality of the migrant trail in the age of the narcotraficantes.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by The Economist & The Financial Times
“A revelatory work of love and hair-raising courage.” – New York Review of Books
The Story of Vicente, Who Murdered His Mother, His Father, and His Sister: Life and Death in Juárez
by Sandra Rodríguez Nieto
Translated by Daniela Maria Ugaz and John Washington
This book traces the rise of a national culture of murder and bloody retribution, and is a testament to the extraordinary bravery of its author. Among other things, it is an account of how poverty, political corruption, failing government institutions and US meddling combined to create an explosion of violence in Juárez.
“This is a masterpiece of reportage from the murder capital of the world.”
– Ed Vulliamy, writer for the Guardian and Observer
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers
by Anabel Hernández
Translated by Iain Bruce and Lorna Scott Fox
Introduction by Roberto Saviano
The definitive history of the drug cartels, Narcoland takes readers to the front lines of the “war on drugs,” which has so far cost more than 60,000 lives in just six years. Hernández explains in riveting detail how Mexico became a base for the mega-cartels of Latin America and one of the most violent places on the planet.
Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of A New Architecture
by Justin McGuirk
Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving.
Planet/Cuba: Art, Culture, and the Future of the Island
by Rachel Price
Planet/Cuba examines how art and literature have responded to a new moment, one both more globalized and less exceptional; more concerned with local quotidian worries than international alliances; more threatened by the depredations of planetary capitalism and climate change than by the vagaries of the nation’s government. Rachel Price examines a fascinating array of artists and writers who are tracing a new socio-cultural map of the island.
The Last Soldiers of the Cold War: The Story of the Cuban Five
by Fernando Morais
Translated by Robert Ballantyne and Alex Olegnowicz
The Last Soldiers of the Cold War tells the story of those unlikely Cuban spies and their eventual unmasking and prosecution by US authorities. Five of the Cubans received long or life prison terms on charges of espionage and murder. Global best-selling Brazilian author Fernando Morais narrates the riveting tale of the Cuban Five in vivid, page-turning detail, delving into the decades-long conflict between Cuba and the US, the growth of the powerful Cuban exile community in Florida, and a trial that eight Nobel Prize winners condemned as a travesty of justice.
Passion of the People?: Football in South Americ
by Tony Mason
Brazil’s victory in the 1994 World Cup is the latest chapter in an extensive history of the world’s most popular game in South America. In this engaging account, Tony Mason reviews the place of football in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. He concludes by asking if the attention focused on football in Latin America today is exaggerated or whether the game truly is the “passion of the people.”
Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolution
by Paul Mason
Originally published in 2012 to wide acclaim, this updated edition, Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere, includes coverage of the most recent events in the wave of revolt and revolution sweeping the planet.
BBC journalist and author Paul Mason combines the anecdotes gleaned through first-hand reportage with political, economic and historical analysis to tell the story of today’s networked revolution. Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere not only addresses contemporary struggles, it provides insights into the future of global revolt.
Che Wants to See You: The Untold Story of Che Guevara
by Ciro Bustos
Of the fifty-one guerrillas who joined Che Guevara in Bolivia, most were either killed in action or executed after being captured. Including Che, there were three Argentines, but only one survived. He was Ciro Bustos, a young artist-turned- revolutionary at the time, Che’s Argentine Lieutenant and his right-hand man in the struggle for revolution.
For the first time Ciro Bustos tells his story in this memoir, revealing the truth behind what really happened in Bolivia in 1967 and who was responsible for Che Guevara's death.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope
by Tariq Ali
The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela has brought Hugo Chávez to world attention as the foremost challenger of the neoliberal consensus and American foreign policy. Drawing on first-hand experience of Venezuela and meetings with Chávez, Tariq Ali shows how Chávez’s views have polarized Latin America and examines the hostility directed against his administration. Contrasting the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionary processes, Ali discusses the enormous influence of Fidel Castro on Chávez, President of Bolivia Evo Morales and, in this fully updated edition, the newly elected President of Ecuador Rafael Correa.
The New Mole: Paths of the Latin American Left
by Emir Sader
The New Mole is a major new analysis of recent developments in Latin American politics by one of the continent’s leading political thinkers. Emir Sader explains the resurgence of radicalism in terms of the region’s history and explores its theoretical underpinning.
Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir
by Marc Cooper
"If any lingering post-election doubts remain that the American government believes more in peace through democracy than power through capitalism, they can be alleviated with a reading of Marc Cooper's Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir" writes Friction magazine's Michael Gutierrez. In this captivating memoir award-winning journalist Marc Cooper, translator to President Allende until the coup of 1973, reconstructs the startling atmosphere of the final days of the Allende government.
Conversations with Allende: Socialism in Chile
by Régis Debray
In this book Régis Debray furnishes an analysis of Chilean history and politics - situating Allende in the past and present of the country - and explores the dynamics of the class struggle now unfolding there.
Without Fear of Being Happy: Lula, the Workers Party and Brazil
by Emir Sader and Ken Silverstein
Taking its title from the Workers Party’s slogan in these elections, Without Fear of Being Happy shows how the party’s development reflected the increasing social inequalities under Brazil’s military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985, and gives an account of the wave of strikes organized by Workers Party leaders which accelerated the collapse of the generals’ regime.
Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics
by Forrest Hylton and Sinclair Thomson
In this comprehensive history of insurrection in Bolivia, Forrest Hylton and Sinclair Thomson trace the rise to power of Evo Morales’s new administration, whose announced goals are to end imperial domination and internal colonialism through nationalization of the country’s oil and gas reserves, and to forge a new system of political representation.
Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment
by Peter Hallward
Damming the Flood is both an invaluable account of recent Haitian history and an illuminating analysis of twenty-first century imperialism. For those who would like to comprehend the signification of how the people of Haiti inspired resistance to U.S. slavery, and for setting an example of the true potential of declarations of liberty espoused by the French Revolution, this book is an essential resource.
The Bolivarian Revolution
by Simon Bolivar
Known throughout Latin America as El Libertador, Venezuelan revolutionary Simón Bolívar was one of the most important leaders in the wars of independence from Spain. In this book his original writings are introduced by the author's political heir, the late Hugo Chavez. Do Bolivar's words still resonate today?
The Declarations of Havana
by Fidel Castro
Introduction by Tariq Ali
In response to the American administration’s attempt to isolate Cuba, Fidel Castro delivered a series of speeches designed to radicalize Latin American society. As Latin America experiences more revolutions in Venezuela and Bolivia, and continues to upset America’s plans for neo-liberal imperialism, renowned radical writer and activist Tariq Ali provides a searing analysis of the relevance of Castro’s message for today.
Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race
by Patrick Wolfe
Traces of History presents a new approach to race and to comparative colonial studies. Bringing a historical perspective to bear on the regimes of race that colonizers have sought to impose on Aboriginal people in Australia, on Blacks and Native Americans in the United States, on Ashkenazi Jews in Western Europe, on Arab Jews in Israel/Palestine, and on people of African descent in Brazil, this book shows how race marks and reproduces the different relationships of inequality into which Europeans have coopted subaltern populations: territorial dispossession, enslavement, confinement, assimilation, and removal.
Marx and Freud in Latin America: Politics, Psychoanalysis, and Religion in Times of Terror
by Bruno Bosteels
This book assesses the untimely relevance of Marx and Freud for Latin America, thinkers alien to the region who became an inspiration to its beleaguered activists, intellectuals, writers and artists during times of political and cultural oppression.
I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala
by Rigoberta Menchú
Edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray
Translated by Ann Wright
Now a global bestseller, the remarkable life of Rigoberta Menchú, a Guatemalan peasant woman, reflects on the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America. Menchú suffered gross injustice and hardship in her early life: her brother, father and mother were murdered by the Guatemalan military. She learned Spanish and turned to catechistic work as an expression of political revolt as well as religious commitment.
Che: A Graphic Biography
by Spain Rodriguez
Edited by Paul Buhle
A graphic biography of the most iconic revolutionary figure of the twentieth century.
“Spain is one of the true giants of the comics medium. He is a singular artist; his work is unmistakable.” – Joe Sacco
The Haitian Revolution
by Toussaint L'Ouverture
Edited by Nick Nesbitt
Introduction by Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Toussaint L’Ouverture was the leader of the Haitian Revolution in the late eighteenth century, in which slaves rebelled against their masters and established the first black republic. In this collection of his writings and speeches, former Haitian politician Jean-Bertrand Aristide demonstrates L’Ouverture’s profound contribution to the struggle for equality.
Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia, 1952-1982
by James Dunkerley
Rebellion in the Veins demonstrates that behind the succession of coups lies an exceptional and coherent record of political struggle. The country’s location at the heart of Latin America has not, however, guaranteed it the attention it deserves. Dunkerley here redresses the balance in a masterly survey of Bolivian society since the early 1950s. The revolution of 1952 was, with the Cuban revolution, the most radical attempt in the western hemisphere since the Second World War to break the cycle of capitalist underdevelopment. It was channeled into a more familiar pattern of repression and dictatorship only after bitter struggles, and Dunkerley analyses the pressures that compromised it, providing lucid accounts of the country’s economy, political history and class structure, as well as its relations with the United States.