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Sunday, July 03, 2011

New Books - South American Topics, Part 2

We have some leftovers from June on South American topics, mostly non-fiction:

New Books in June - South American Topics, 
Part 2

Judges beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictatorship: Lessons from Chile
(Cambridge Studies in Law and Society) Paperback Cambridge University Press (May 26, 2011)ISBN-10: 1107402360 ISBN-13: 978-1107402362
Lisa Hilbink

A longitudinal case study of Chile that assesses competing hypotheses regarding judicial behavior in both democratic and undemocratic contexts, this book explores the relevance of regime-related factors, judges' personal policy preferences, social class, and legal philosophy, but argues that institutional features grounded in the ideal of "apoliticism" best explain the persistent failure of Chilean judges to take stands in defense of rights and rule of law principles, before, during, and after the authoritarian interlude. 

Dr. Hilbink offers comparative examples to support broader theoretical claims about when judges will be willing and able to assert their independence against abuses of public power.

Rock del país: Una mirada de la cultura juvenil argentina en los ochenta
(Spanish Edition) Paperback Editorial Académica Española (May 5, 2011)
Language: Spanish
ISBN-10: 3844336915
ISBN-13: 978-3844336917
Alcira Martínez (Author), Leandro Canteli (Author)

En este trabajo se analiza cómo fueron construidos discursivamente los procesos sociales estructurantes de la juventud de la década del ochenta en Argentina, a partir de la música y del rock en particular. 

Luego del desarrollo del contexto histórico-político, en el que se hace hincapié en las consecuencias que dejó la dictadura militar de la década anterior, se abordan los discursos que impartían de las instituciones para dar cuenta de como se plasmaron en la sociedad con la llegada de la democracia y el derrumbe económico que empobreció al país entre los años 1987 y 1989. 

Si bien de modo central se toma como análisis el espacio de las columnas de rock de la revista Humor, por haber sido un hito puntual en aquella juventud, no se deja de lado el diálogo con otras publicaciones, entrevistas o voces representativas de los ochenta, para enriquecer el análisis de los procesos de la época.

Bolivar: The Liberator of Latin America
Hardcover Skyhorse Publishing (June 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1616083166 ISBN-13: 978-1616083168
Robert Harvey 

Simon Bolivar freed no fewer than what were to become six countries — a vast domain some 800,000 square miles in extent — from Spanish colonial rule in savage wars against the then-mightiest military machine on earth. 

The ferocity of his leadership and fighting earned him the grudging nickname “the devil” from his enemies. His astonishing resilience in the face of military defeat and seemingly hopeless odds, as well his equestrian feat of riding tens of thousands of miles across what remains one of the most inhospitable territories on earth, earned him the name Culo de Hierro — Iron Ass — among his soldiers. 

It was one of the most spectacular military campaigns in history, fought against the backdrop of the Andean mountains, through immense flooded savannahs, jungles, and shimmering deserts. Indeed the war itself was medieval — fought under warlords across huge spaces by horsemen with lances, and infantry with knives and machetes (as well as muskets). It was the last warriors’ war.

Although the creator of the northern half of Latin America, Bolivar inspired the whole continent and still does today. 

This is Robert Harvey’s astonishing, gripping, and beautifully researched biography of one of South America’s most cherished heroes and one of the world’s most accomplished military leaders, by any standard. 24 black-and-white illustrations

South America and the Treaty of Versailles: The Peace Conferences of 1919-23 and their Aftermath 
(Makers of the Modern World) Hardcover Haus Publishing (June 14, 2011)
ISBN-10: 190659824X ISBN-13: 978-1906598242
Michael Streeter

Brazil was the only South American country to fight in World War I. But four others — Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay — stopped diplomatic relations with Germany, sympathetic to the Allies. 

Their reward: a place at the Paris Peace Conference and an introduction to the world stage.

South American Fights & Fighters: the Conquistadors and Other Accounts of Adventure
Paperback LEONAUR (June 19, 2011) ISBN-10: 0857065807 ISBN-13: 978-0857065803
Cyrus Townsend Brady (Author)

A selection of frontier and naval adventures.

This is the sixth book in Cyrus Townsend Brady's 'Fights and Fighters' series. It follows Brady's sometimes idiosyncratic approach to his project of fascinating insights into conflict and is divided into two broad sections. The first focuses on the drama that was the conquest of Central and South America, with emphasis on Panama and Balboa but also touching on Pizarro and Peru. 

The second part is an exciting selection of 'adventures;' featured are the account of the whaling ship Essex, the cruise of the Tonquin, a piece about the American hero John Paul Jones, an interesting account of Indian fighting along the Pitt River by the U. S. Army under Crook in 1868 and finally an account of boyhood in the West told in the first person. 

This series contains essential information for those interested in the conflicts fought on the American frontiers. The volumes in the 'Fights and Fighters' series are: 1. Colonial, 2. Revolutionary, 3. Border, 4. Indian, 5. North-Western and 6. South American. All have been or will soon be published by Leonaur.

Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket; our hardbacks are cloth bound and feature gold foil lettering on their spines and fabric head and tail bands.

Precarious Democracies: Understanding Regime Stability and Change in Colombia and Venezuela
(ND Kellogg Inst Int'l Studies) Paperback
University of Notre Dame Press; 1st Edition edition (June 15, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0268022267 ISBN-13: 978-0268022266
Ana Maria Bejarano

Why has democracy in Colombia and Venezuela evolved in very different directions? In Precarious Democracies, Ana Maria Bejarano provides a comparative historical analysis of how the democratic regimes in these two countries have diverged, following similar transitions from authoritarian rule to democracy in the late 1950s.

Rather than focusing on resource-driven explanations, such as the role of oil in Venezuela and coffee in Colombia, or on short-term elite choices and calculations, Bejarano argues that democratic development in Colombia and Venezuela is best understood from a vantage point that privileges political history, especially the history of institutional evolution. 

The book makes the case that a comparative historical institutional framework--focused both on institutional legacies from the distant past (such as the state and political parties) and on those from more recent critical junctures (the foundational pacts)--provides the best lens to account for the divergent trajectories followed by democratic regimes in Colombia and Venezuela in the second half of the twentieth century.

Costume and History in Highland Ecuador
(Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture) Hardcover University of Texas Press (June 1, 2011) ISBN-10: 0292725914 ISBN-13: 978-0292725911
Lynn A. Meisch (Author), Ann Pollard Rowe (Author, Editor)

The traditional costumes worn by people in the Andes -- women's woolen skirts, men's ponchos, woven belts, and white felt hats -- instantly identify them as natives of the region and serve as revealing markers of ethnicity, social class, gender, age, and so on. 

Because costume expresses so much, scholars study it to learn how the indigenous people of the Andes have identified themselves over time, as well as how others have identified and influenced them. 

Costume and History in Highland Ecuador assembles for the first time for any Andean country the evidence for indigenous costume from the entire chronological range of prehistory and history. The contributors glean a remarkable amount of information from pre-Hispanic ceramics and textile tools, archaeological textiles from the Inca empire in Peru, written accounts from the colonial period, nineteenth-century European-style pictorial representations, and twentieth-century textiles in museum collections. 

Their findings reveal that several garments introduced by the Incas, including men's tunics and women's wrapped dresses, shawls, and belts, had a remarkable longevity. They also demonstrate that the hybrid poncho from Chile and the rebozo from Mexico diffused in South America during the colonial period, and that the development of the rebozo in particular was more interesting and complex than has previously been suggested. 

The adoption of Spanish garments such as the pollera (skirt) and man's shirt were also less straightforward and of more recent vintage than might be expected.

The People and the King: The Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781
Paperback University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0299072940 ISBN-13: 978-0299072940
John Leddy Phelan (Author) 

In The People and the King, John Leddy Phelan reexamines a well-known but long misunderstood event in eighteenth-century Colombia. 

When the Spanish colonial bureaucratic system of conciliation broke down, indigenous groups resorted to armed revolt to achieve their political ends.

As Phelan demonstrates in these pages, the crisis of 1781 represented a constitutional clash between imperial centralization and colonial decentralization. Phelan argues that the Comunero revolution was not, as it has often been portrayed, a precursor of political independence, nor was it a frustrated social upheaval. 

The Comunero leaders and their followers did not advocate any basic reordering of society, Phelan concludes, but rather made an appeal for revolutionary reform within a traditionalist framework.

Deviant and Useful Citizens: The Cultural Production of the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Peru 
Hardcover Vanderbilt University Press (June 15, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0826517684 ISBN-13: 978-0826517685
Mariselle Melendez (Author)

Deviant and Useful Citizens explores the conditions of women and perceptions of the female body in the eighteenth century throughout the Viceroyalty of Peru, which until 1776 comprised modern-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. 

Mariselle Melendez introduces the reader to a female rebel, Micaela Bastidas, whose brutal punishment became a particularly harsh example of state response to women who challenged the system. 

She explores the cultural representation of women depicted as economically productive and vital to the health of the culture at large. The role of women in religious orders provides still another window into the vital need to sustain the image of women as loyal and devout -- and to deal with women who refused to comply.

The book focuses on the different ways male authorities, as well as female subjects, conceived the female body as deeply connected to notions of what constituted a useful or deviant citizen within the Viceroyalty. Using eighteenth-century legal documents, illustrated chronicles, religious texts, and newspapers, Mariselle Melendez explores in depth the representation of the female body in periods of political, economic, and religious crisis to determine how it was conceived within certain contexts.

Deviant and Useful Citizens presents a highly complex society that relied on representations of utility and productivity to understand the female body, as it reveals the surprisingly large stake that colonial authorities had in defining the status of women during a crucial time in South American history.

Selected Works of Salvador Allende
Paperback CreateSpace (June 19, 2011) ISBN-10: 1463614322 ISBN-13: 978-1463614324
Salvador Allende (Author)

Salvador Isabelino del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Allende Gossens (26 June 1908 – 11 September 1973) was a Chilean physician and is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America. Allende's involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. 

As a member of the Socialist Party, he was a senator, deputy and cabinet minister. He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 elections. In 1970, he won the presidency in a close three-way race. 

He adopted the policy of nationalization of industries and collectivization. Amidst strikes by the far-right Patria y Libertad and CIA opposition under the Nixon administration, protests were held in Chile against Allende's rule.

The Supreme Court criticized Allende for subordination of the judicial system to serve his own political needs; and the Chamber of Deputies formally implored the military to intercede and restore rule of law on 22 August 1973. 

Less than a month later, on 11 September Allende was deposed by the military, thus ending the Popular Unity government. As the armed forces surrounded La Moneda Palace, Allende gave his last speech vowing not to resign, but he was said by the U.S. to have committed suicide later in the day. 

In 2011, new evidence relating to the cause and manner of Allende's death has led to an official inquiry, including an autopsy. The investigation is still underway. After Allende's ouster, General Augusto Pinochet did not return authority to the civilian government, Chile became led by a military junta, and then as a dictatorship by General Pinochet.

Second-Wave Neoliberalism: Gender, Race, and Health Sector Reform in Peru
Paperback Penn State Press (June 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0271037121 ISBN-13: 978-0271037127
Christina Ewig (Author) 

The first wave of neoliberal reform that swept across Latin America in the early 1990s focused on economic policies favoring structural adjustment, such as currency devaluation, cuts in state-supplied social services, and removal of protection for domestic industry against global competition. 

This wave has been the subject of widespread debate and criticism for its negative impact on the most vulnerable strata of society. 

But the second wave of the mid-1990s, which saw the introduction of many social policy reforms, has not received nearly as much attention. 

Christina Ewig seeks to correct this imbalance in scholarly research by presenting a case study of the multifaceted efforts to reform the health sector in Peru under the Fujimori regime. 

Second-Wave Neoliberalism combines top-down analysis of policy formation with bottom-up analysis of policy implementation using both qualitative and quantitative approaches interviews and ethnographic observations along with formal surveys. 

Ewig's findings lead her to conclude that neoliberal health reforms have brought greater social stratification and, in many ways, have increased gender, racial, and class inequity. But the story is complex, with real progress in some areas and surprising paradoxes in others, such as feminist involvement in family planning policy that resulted in a massive sterilization program targeting poor, indigenous women.

Bogota vuelo al pasado (Spanish Edition)
Hardcover Publisher: Villegas Editores (June 1, 2011)
Language: Spanish ISBN-10: 9588306566 ISBN-13: 978-9588306568
Benjamin Villegas (Editor), Luis Colon Llamas (Foreword) 

Organized chronologically, the aerial photographs that make up this extraordinary collection chart the development of the capital of Colombia over a period of 50 years, from 1935 to 1985. 

The explosive growth of the city, both formally and informally, transformed it from a provincial town of only 300,000 to the hypnotic megacity it became by the end of the century, when its population had reached seven million. 

With a focus on the urban and architectural transformations, this collection of photos serves as visual testimony that progress can come with costs as well as benefits.

Organizadas cronológicamente, las fotografías aéreas que conforman esta extraordinaria colección trazan el desarrollo de la capital colombiana en el medio centenar de años que transcurre entre 1935 y 1985. 

Se observa aquí el vertiginoso crecimiento, formal e informal, que se da entre una ciudad provinciana, que apenas se acerca a las 300 mil almas, y la alucinante urbe de finales de siglo, que ya se aproxima a los siete millones de habitantes. Con un enfoque en las transformaciones urbanas y arquitectónicas, esta colección de fotos sirve cómo testimonio visual de que el progreso supone costos así como beneficios.

Histories of the Present: People and Power in Ecuador
Hardcover University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (June 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0252036034 ISBN-13: 978-0252036033
Norman E. Whitten (Author), Dorothea S Whitten (Author)

The Silence and the Scorpion: The Coup Against Chavez and the Making of Modern Venezuela [Large Print]
Paperback Read HowYouWant (June 10, 2011) ISBN-10: 1458777766 ISBN-13: 978-1458777768
Brian A. Nelson (Author)

On April 11, 2002, nearly a million Venezuelans marched on the presidential palace to demand the resignation of President Hugo Chevez. 

Led by Pedro Carmona and Carlos Ortega, the opposition represented a cross-section of society furious with Chavez's economic policies, specifically his mishandling of the Venezuelan oil industry. 

But as the day progressed, the march turned violent, sparking a military revolt that led to the temporary ousting of Chavez. Over the ensuing, turbulent 72 hours, Venezuelans would confront the deep divisions within their society and ultimately decide the best course for their country - and its oil - in the new century. 

An exemplary piece of narrative journalism, The Silence and the Scorpion provides rich insight into the complexities of modern Venezuela.

At the Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel
Hardcover Random House (June 21, 2011) ISBN-10: 1400068371 ISBN-13: 978-1400068371
William C. Rempel (Author)

In this riveting and relentless nonfiction thriller, award-winning investigative reporter William C. Rempel tells the harrowing story of former Cali cartel insider Jorge Salcedo, an ordinary man facing an extraordinary dilemma — a man forced to risk everything to escape the powerful and treacherous Cali crime syndicate.

Colombia in the 1990s is a country in chaos, as a weak government battles guerrilla movements and narco-traffickers, including the notorious Pablo Escobar and his rivals in the Cali cartel. 
Enter Jorge Salcedo, a part-time soldier, a gifted engineer, a respected businessman and family man — and a man who despises Pablo Escobar for patriotic and deeply personal reasons. 

He is introduced to the godfathers of the Cali cartel, who are at war with Escobar and desperately want their foe dead. With mixed feelings, Jorge agrees to help them.

Once inside, Jorge rises to become head of security for Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, principal godfather of the $7-billion-a-year Cali drug cartel. Jorge tries to turn a blind eye to the violence, corruption, and brutality that surround him, and he struggles privately to preserve his integrity even as he is drawn deeper into the web of cartel operations. 

Then comes an order from the godfathers that he can’t obey — but can’t refuse. Jorge realizes that his only way out is to bring down the biggest, richest crime syndicate of all time.

Thus begins a heart-pumping roller-coaster ride of intensifying peril. Secretly aided by a pair of young American DEA agents, Jorge races time and cartel assassins to extract damaging evidence, help capture the fugitive godfather, and save the life of a witness targeted for murder. 

Through it all, death lurks a single misstep away.

William C. Rempel is the only reporter with access to this story and to Jorge, who remains in hiding somewhere in the United States — even the author doesn’t know where — but has revealed his experience in gripping detail. Salcedo’s is the story of one extraordinary ordinary man forced to risk everything to end a nightmare of his own making.

El ruido de las cosas al caer (Premio Alfaguara 2011) / The sound of things falling (Spanish Edition) 
Paperback Alfaguara (June 30, 2011) Language: Spanish
ISBN-10: 1616056118 ISBN-13: 978-1616056117 oou
Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Author)

The exotic escape and subsequent capture of a hippopotamus the final remnant of the incongruous zoo Pablo Escobar used to flaunt his power is the spark that activates the mechanisms of Antonio Yammara's memory, protagonist and narrator of El ruido de las cosas al caer a dark balance from a time of terror and violence, set in a Bogota painted as a region full of literary significance. 

In 1995, Antonio meets the intriguing Ricardo Laverde, a man who has served a 20-year sentence. Laverde, an acknowledged pilot, is part of the group that gathers at the pool hall where Yammara, a young university Law professor, burns what is left of his youth. 

The two men become fast friends, to the point where Antonio, whose life has always been full of doubts, affirms that a warning hides within his friend s tortuous experience. Antonio will try to understand Laverde's generation (which is also his parents, with all its love stories), to evaluate their share of innocence and complicity in the creation of a society dominated by corruption, chaos and violence. 

Yammara's memory takes us on a vibrant journey through Colombia s recent history, bringing back attractive and complex characters. Such is the case of Ricardo Laverde, a character drawn with the mastery of Juan Marse, Mario Vargas Llosa and, in the central image of the pilot, particularly in the idea of a lost or injured one, the hand of Juan Carlos Onetti, whose favorite story by Faulkner, "All the dead pilots," he translated. 

Spanish Description: La exotica fuga y posterior caza de un hipopotamo, ultimo vestigio del imposible zoologico con el que Pablo Escobar exhibia su poder, es la chispa que arranca los mecanismos de la memoria de Antonio Yammara, protagonista y narrador de El ruido de las cosas al caer, un negro balance de una epoca de terror y violencia, en una Bogota descrita como un territorio literario lleno de significaciones. 

En 1995, Antonio conoce al intrigante Ricardo Laverde, quien ha pasado veinte anos en la carcel. Laverde, de quien se sabe que fue piloto, forma parte de la parroquia de unos billares donde Yammara, joven profesor universitario de Derecho, consume el ocio de su ultima juventud. 

Entre los dos se fraguara una estrecha amistad, y Antonio, que pasa por la vida desdibujado por la duda, creera ver en la experiencia torturada de su amigo un aviso. Antonio intentara comprender a la generacion de Laverde (la de sus padres, en definitiva, con sus historias de amor), para valorar el grado de inocencia y de complicidad que les corresponde en la creacion de un clima social dominado por la corrupcion, el caos y la violencia. El filtro de la memoria permite realizar un recorrido palpitante por la historia reciente de Colombia, recuperando a personajes atractivos y complejos. 

Es el caso de Ricardo Laverde, un perdedor en el que se advierte el magisterio de Juan Marse, de Mario Vargas Llosa y, sobre todo, en la imagen central del aviador, concretamente del aviador perdido o accidentado, de Juan Carlos Onetti: All the dead pilots es el titulo del cuento de Faulkner favorito del escritor uruguayo, quien ademas lo tradujo.

The Lost Woodlands of Ancient Nasca: A Case-study in Ecological and Cultural Collapse
(British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs) Hardcover Oxford University Press, USA (June 15, 2011)
ISBN-10: 019726476X ISBN-13: 978-0197264768
David Beresford-Jones (Author) 

This book presents an archaeological case of prehistoric human environmental impact: a study of ecological and cultural change from the arid south coast of Peru, beginning around 750 bc and culminating in a collapse during the Middle Horizon, around ad 900. 

Its focus is the lower Ica Valley - today depopulated and bereft of cultivation and yet with archaeological remains attesting to substantial prehistoric occupations - thereby presenting a prima facie case for changed environmental conditions.

Previous archaeological interpretations of cultural changes in the region rely heavily on climatic factors such as El Nino floods and long droughts. While the archaeological, geomorphological and archaeobotanical records presented here do indeed include new evidence of huge ancient flood events, they also demonstrate the significance of more gradual, human-induced destruction of Prosopis pallida (huarango) riparian dry-forest. 

The huarango is a remarkable leguminous hardwood that lives for over a millennium and provides forage, fuel, and food. Moreover, it is crucial to the integration of a fragile desert ecosystem, enhancing microclimate and soil fertility and moisture. Its removal exposed this landscape to the effects of El Nino climatic perturbations long before Europeans arrived in Peru.

This case-study therefore contradicts the popular perception that native Americans inflicted barely perceptible disturbance upon a New World Eden. Yet, no less interestingly, it also records correlations between changes in society and degrees of human environmental impact. These allow inferences about the specific contexts in which significant human environmental impacts in the New World did, and did not, arise.

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