"This is the most objective, comprehensive and interesting book I have read on what has happened in Venezuela since Hugo Chávez took power in the late 1990s. It shows why most of the common explanations of the country's social and political convulsions are superficial and often flawed. A must read."—Moisés Naím, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
"Hugo Chávez and his 'Bolivarian Revolution' to construct '21st century socialism' in Venezuela and reshape the international order have attracted a great deal of polarized comment: either sycophantic praise or unmitigated condemnation, neither backed up by sound data or profound analysis. Dragon in the Tropics escapes this pattern. It provides a thoughtful, perceptive, balanced but critical, nuanced and illuminating assessment, grounded in rich and revealing data, and deep knowledge of both Venezuela and of comparative politics and political economy. Highly recommended."—Abraham F. Lowenthal, Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California
"Corrales and Penfold have written a wide-ranging and thought-provoking interpretation of how Hugo Chávez has shaped Venezuelan society, and the country's regional and global role, over the past decade. The book is conceptually innovative, empirically rich, and cogently argued. Its keen insights into Venezuela's evolving political economy represent an invaluable contribution."—Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue
"Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold are two of the most outstanding analysts of contemporary Venezuela. This accessible and clear-eyed book provides a comprehensive overview of Venezuelan politics, economics, and foreign policy over the last decade. No one interested in understanding the rise of radical populism, the distortions inherent in the oil economy, and the progressive deterioration of democratic institutions should fail to read this book."—Cynthia Arnson, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
"An engaging and comprehensive portrait of the Chávez government's key economic and political features."— Political Science Quarterly
About the Author
Michael Penfold is professor of political economy and former dean of the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administracion in Caracas and the author of Dos Tradiciones, Un Conflicto: El Futuro de la Descentralización (Debate 2009).