The Penguin History of Latin America

The Penguin History of Latin America A single volume history of Latin America Professor Williamson starts with the pre Columbian Indian peoples and the slow often savage process of colonization by which Spaniards and Portuguese came to

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  • Title: The Penguin History of Latin America
  • Author: Edwin Williamson
  • ISBN: 9780140125597
  • Page: 411
  • Format: Paperback
  • A single volume history of Latin America Professor Williamson starts with the pre Columbian Indian peoples and the slow, often savage process of colonization by which Spaniards and Portuguese came to control territory many times the size of Spain Indeed, it was not until the age of the Enlightenment, dynastic shifts, imperial reforms and Napoleonic conquests in Europe thA single volume history of Latin America Professor Williamson starts with the pre Columbian Indian peoples and the slow, often savage process of colonization by which Spaniards and Portuguese came to control territory many times the size of Spain Indeed, it was not until the age of the Enlightenment, dynastic shifts, imperial reforms and Napoleonic conquests in Europe that the scene was set for independent republics Our own century has witnessed both the long decline of Argentina and the dynamic corporatism of Mexico, lurches between dictatorship and democracy in Brazil and Chile, and utterly distinct developments in Cuba All this is summarized and surveyed in this book.

    One thought on “The Penguin History of Latin America”

    1. Brrghhh. A good cold shower after reading this is just the thing, rather along the same lines as panning for gold, to try and wash away the superfluous and get down to the shining nuggets.The recent death of Fidel Castro prompted me to return once more to my ongoing multi-year project to read or reread the many neglected books on my shelves (view spoiler)[a project which innocently I originally assumed would take me a year(hide spoiler)] since I recalled it has a section on Cuba even though the [...]

    2. Williamson's history of Latin America succeeds far more than one has any right to expect. He has struck the perfect balance between breadth and depth -- a daunting task considering the amount of time, geographical area, governments, and personalities he must describe. All of this could be overwhelming when dealing with only one Latin American country, let alone all of them. Certainly the book should be considered an introduction: read it to get a relatively quick and quite substantial grounding, [...]

    3. I read about 50% of the book on the kindle version because I was interested mainly in the conquest and imperial eras.Even though I read the book consistently every day, it took me about two months to read half of it. It is extremely long and exhaustive, covering various subjects, from internal economical structure of the colonies, to cultural works produced in them, such as literature and poetry. I found almost everything interesting and informative, and mostly written in an engaging fashion.On [...]

    4. When I first started reading this, I knew very little about Central and South America. This book does a great job of explaining the social, economic, and cultural factors that all intermix to create the tensions and troubles that have plagued this part of the world both before and after the Europeans arrived. I love it because it tells me the "why" of what happened, and not just the "what." All the while, it stays very academic and objective, without glorifying or criticizing what the Europeans [...]

    5. Such a well-written and easy-to read-book. Gives a thorough one-volume coverage of Latin American history, and it's disturbing that anyone can know so much about so many things! Particularly enjopyed the material on literature.

    6. Super helpful for students studying the major countries of Latin America, gives a variety of viewpoints & is so condensed that it was very easy to pick out important points. Probably some prior knowledge is needed before reading.

    7. Summarising the entire history of any part of the world is a colossal undertaking. And with Edwin Williamson's The Penguin History of Latin America, the geographical scope is enormous. This work lives up to its title in encompassing not only most of South America (other than the Guianas), but Central America, and substantial portions of the Caribbean and North America.A certain amount of attention is also paid to Iberian history, and by extension its interactions with broader European history (b [...]

    8. A solid, concise and readable overview that serves as a good starting point to delve deeper into the continent through wider reading. I found, however, that it lacked material on the Andean nations and Central America, focusing heavily on the more developed Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico instead. Also a little dry in spells, struggling to bring life or insight to the huge amount of information to be covered in a single volume.

    9. Very hard going, like a text book, interesting, yet high brow and very political in language, with a need to have solid economic understanding

    10. I didn't like it . too boring . I didn't like the cover , the cover looks creepy to me. I don't appreciate the work of art or the story it represents

    11. A great overview about latin America. You rarely can go wrong with Penguin edition, when it deals with history.Of course, this book does not go much into details, but on such a large topic, covering so many countries, it was hardly achievable. However, for the layman (as I am), it is definitely a brilliant introduction to this part of the world. Starting from the pre-Colombian times (particularly revolving around the three most brilliant native nations that are aztecs, mayas and incas), to the i [...]

    12. DNF at around halfway through - mainly becauso I'm currently not that interested in the individual independence wars and the reason I read this book was for a uni module that didn't have much need for depth.That being said, the half I did read was very detailed but in an introductory and accessible way which is ideal for students like myself who are unfamiliar with Latin American history. Unlike some other Penguin history books can be, this was easy and enjoyable enough to read from cover to cov [...]

    13. This book gave me a basic historical and cultural primer that, in retrospect, was vital to a better understanding of fiction/essays from Latin American authors as well as current events. On its own merits it was a really interesting read, it's amazing how little I learned about this part of the world in school and elsewhere in life. I found the similarities and differences with U.S. history particularly fascinating as many of the same historical pressures were experienced by both the north and t [...]

    14. I had to put this book down on page 85. I am shocked to discover this author is considered an expert in Latin American studies. His blatant biased against Americanos detracts from any historical significance of his work. I continued to read when Williamson justified the "discovery" of the Americas as a necessary precursor to be included in the annals of (Western) world history. I continued to read when he referred to aggressive Natives tribes as barbarian and savage; but referred to the murderou [...]

    15. I'm helping my nephew with learning Spanish, which where we lived is now based on Latin American Spanish than the European Castillian Spanish I learned back in the 1970s. I realized how little I really knew about Latin America and picked up this book to learn more. I thought it was an excellent overview of what is now 20 countries. Yes, it was a long book, but an enjoyable one because of the author's skill in keeping the narrative smoothly flowing.

    16. An interesting read -- more a factual overview rather than a narrative style history. It's quite difficult to cover the entire history of an entire continent in a mere 600 pages, but as expected it covered a great deal of breadth with limited depth. I think it's fair to say that this will spur some future reading.

    17. This is an excellent analysis of the history of Latin America. It took me a LONG time to read, because it's very thorough, but it was worth it. I had a little bit of difficulty understanding the economics, but then again, in college Economics of Latin America was the hardest B+ I have ever worked my butt off for. The edition I have covers through 2009.

    18. Vascillated between a 2 and a 3-star rating. However, the section where it talks about how native peoples thought Cortez was the second coming of Quetzalcoatl was too damning - that's just completely false and should stop being repeated. This is a history book - act like it.

    19. Need a primer on Latin America? This is a great read, beginning around the time of the conquest and ending towards the end of the 20th Century. Getting outdated, but still an excellent read. Read this book while travelling in South America.

    20. This is a very good introduction for someone with little background on the subject and looking to deepen her knowledge.

    21. Highly recommended. Read it! Otherwise, it'll be my duty to start any opinion saying: The Penguin History of Latin America states that and we don't want that.

    22. I skimmed most of this book after the first few chapters but I did find it a great overview of Latin American history that tried to string together a interesting narrative.

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