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A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century Paperback – March 19, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0271021928 ISBN-10: 0271021926

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (March 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271021926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271021928
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,359,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Luis Alberto Romero directs the Center for the Study of Political History at the School of Politics and Government of the Universidad Nacional de San Martín. Among his other books is (with Leandro H. Gutiérrez) Sectores populares, cultura y política: Buenos Aires en la entreguerra (1995).



James P. Brennan is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of The Labor Wars in Córdoba, 19551976: Ideology, Work, and Labor Politics in an Argentine Industrial City (1995).

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat on April 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This interesting book is a translation of "Breve Historia Contemporanea de Argentina", and it is a good way to start studying Argentina's history if you don't speak spanish.
However, if you can speak that language, I strongly recommend you to buy the original version in spanish. The reason for that is, in my opinion, that it is always better to read a book in the language it was written, so as not to miss any nuances in meaning, and in order to appreciate better the style of the author. Disregarding how good a translator is, he is bound to make at least some mistakes, sometimes ignoring slight degrees of difference that convey not only meaning, but also feeling.
In this version there are parts where it isn't easy to follow the author's ideas, but from my point of view that is due to two things. To start with, it isn't easy to explain Argentina's history, because it is quite complex. As a result, explanations regarding that theme are frequently complicated, even in the original version of this book in spanish. Secondly, translating a book to another language is never easy, and I think that the interpreter (James Brennan) did his job incredibly well.
The structure of "A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century" is quite simple, but really useful and eminently practical. After a short introduction, the author starts this book with Yrigoyen's first presidential term, continues with Alvear's presidency and then carries on with Yrigoyen's unfinished second term. He delves deeply into the conservative restoration, and then tries to explain what Perón meant to Argentina, and the polarization of society that his presidency produced.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book provides an overview of Argentine history in the 20th century with a post-script from just last year. This book is combined narrative with a good deal of broad analysis looking at major factors governing the history of Argentina. In the Introduction, the author states that he is aiming to avoid a schematic view but wants to provide a large scale narrative. Despite this statement, this book tends towards structural analysis and a major theme, the difficulty of establishing democratic institutions, emerges from the narrative. Major structural factors that drive Argentine history are identified as Argentina's strong and often stormy coupling to international markets, the emergence of a strong and at times paternalistic state that tended to overpower other civic institutions, the development of distinct sectors of society lacking a common political culture, and the Argentine preference for charismatic leaders who appear to be all things to all people. In general, this is an informative and intelligent book. A defect of the book is that there is not sufficient narrative for a non-Argentine audience. This book was apparently written originally for the broad Argentine public and despite the author's best efforts at including significant narrative, it seems to presuppose a high school level knowledge of Argentine history. Another drawback is the writing style. As shown in several chapters, the author can write quite clearly and sometimes powerfully, but there are many passages written in academic jargon. The word discourse, for example, appears frequently and is used inconsistently as a semi-techical term to describe ideology and a variety of related phenomena. Whether this is the fault of the author or his translator cannot be known without reading the original spanish version.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Winterble on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
While respecting the other reviews here of this book, I think it is simply indispensible to any serious underdstanding of Argentina's past and present condition.

For me, the twin bases of Argentine history are 1) The long, confusing, tormented and incomplete time between 16th century colonization and the emergence of an oligarchic semi-modern state in the early years of the 20th century, and 2) The long and often massive influx since the mid-1800s of Western Europeans who were certainly running from various kinds of chaos in their homelands but not running to embrace Argentina; many, indeed came only because they could not go to the US. Indeed, many immigrants had no interest in becoming citizens, nor in voting, and some returned after crises in their home countries eased.

The vastly imperfect form of representative democracy that emerged in early Argentine history was in fact just a continuation of the rule of powerful and conflicted oligarchs, and the issues of centralized vs. decentralized government is still a part of the political culture. The outsized dominance in size, money, people and sheer power of the Buenos Aires Province is still the dominant reality of the nation. The capital, with only three million people, is far less influential than might be imagined, and its voters elect candidates so vastly different from those in the rest of Argentina that they might as well be from a different planet.

From my reading of Romero, I am put in mind of that rather Zen-like phrase, "a clear picture of a fuzzy thing is still fuzzy." This, to me, is the best picture one can hope to have of this remarkable country at this point in time -- early in the 21st century.
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A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century
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