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Genesis (Memory of Fire Trilogy) Paperback – June 17, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Memory of Fire Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393317730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393317732
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Memory of Fire is devastating, triumphant... sure to scorch the sensibility of English-language readers.” (New York Times)

“An epic work of literary creation... there could be no greater vindication of the wonders of the lands and people of Latin America than Memory of Fire.” (Washington Post)

“[Memory of Fire] will reveal to you the meaning of the New World as it was, and of the world as we have it now.” (Boston Globe)

“A book as fascinating as the history it relates.... Galeano is a satirist, realist, and historian, and... deserves mention alongside John Dos Passos, Bernard DeVoto, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.” (Los Angeles Times)

About the Author

Eduardo Galeano is also the author of Open Veins of Latin America, Days and Nights of Love and War, The Book of Embraces, We Say No, and other works. He is a regular contributor to The Nation. He lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Cedric Belfrage was an author, journalist, translator, and co-founder of the radical weekly newspaper the National Guardian. English by birth, he was deported by the U.S. government back to England in 1955, and later became the translator for the Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano.

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Customer Reviews

An amazing combination of history, literature, and poetry.
Tito
Taken together, the books in his bibliography form a complete guide to the history of every country in The Americas, or at least of Central and South America.
Terence Clarke
This book is recommended reading for anyone who has forgotten what a great story history is.
C. Dyer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By C. Dyer on October 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the poetic telling of the story of the colonization of the western hemisphere. In that it is focused on recreating that which was lost, it is a one sided retelling, but unlike another reviewer suggests, in this book, not all Europeans are demonized because of some politically correct guilt on the part of the author inspired by a trite view of the noble savage. Indeed, the actors in the vignettes related (men, women, Indians, Europeans, entire cultures, religions) are full of remarkable moral complexity and depth. Reading Genesis, one is left saddened at the tremendous loss, enriched by the sight of the magical colors Galeano pulls out of the air as he reconstructs lifestyles so thoroughly forgotten by modern culture, and finally embarassed by our darker human nature. In the end, it is the rapacious greed that destroyed so much that is indicted in this book. The writing is never heavy-handed despite the obvious ease with which one could attack the European practices; rather the author allows the stories of injustice to unfold and gives the reader the opportunity to understand how this has shaped the world we live in. This book is recommended reading for anyone who has forgotten what a great story history is.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Terence Clarke on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Here is a typical complete chapter from surely the strangest book of history I've ever read.

"1927: San Gabriel de Jalisco: A Child Looks On
"The mother covers his eyes so he cannot see his grandfather hanging by the feet. And then the mother's hands prevent his seeing his father's body riddled by the bandits' bullets, or his uncle's twisting in the wind over there on the telegraph posts.
"Now the mother too has died, or perhaps has just tired of defending her child's eyes. Sitting on the stone fence that snakes over the slopes, Juan Rulfo contemplates his harsh land with a naked eye. He sees horsemen -- federal police or Cristeros, it makes no difference -- emerging from smoke, and behind them, in the distance, a fire. He sees bodies hanging in a row, nothing now but ragged clothing emptied by the vultures. He sees a procession of women dressed in black.
"Juan Rulfo, a child of nine, is surrounded by ghosts who look like him.
"Here there is nothing alive -- the only voices those of howling coyotes, the only air the black wind that rises in gusts from the plains of Jalisco, where the survivors are only dead people pretending."

The Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano's trilogy Memory of Fire contains the books Genesis, Faces and Masks, and Century of the Wind, from the last of which this chapter comes. Taken together, the books make up a compendious and riveting history of the Americas (mostly Central and South America). But this is no academic history. It does follow a chronological timeline through the last five centuries or so. But each chapter tells a small story, like the one above. Hundreds of historical figures wander, curse, pray, converse, make love, die, are transformed or obliterated in these pages.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gail Moore on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
The author has drawn from many sources to compile this beautifully written history of the Americas, told in a couple of hundred short chapters, each a mini story of a legend or historical event presented in chronological order. Part one of the book, called "First Voices" recounts ancient legends and creation myths of the first peoples of the Americas, later comes contact with Europeans - the "discovery" years then conquest. Volume One of the trilogy takes the reader up to 1700 and recounts more stories from South America than the Caribbean or North America, though all parts of the Americas are touched.
Wish now I had read this more slowly, rather than reading this straight through like a novel, a few of these chapters a night would have been better, so many horrific stories of cruelty, oppression and genocide one after another were hard to absorb, overwhelming greed is really the theme. Such a waste of human knowledge and experience, the destruction of the ancient books of the Mayans by the Catholic church was a loss for all humanity.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tito on June 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
An amazing combination of history, literature, and poetry.
I highly recommend this book to anyone.
Another good book by Galeano that conveys a lot of the
economic history of South American colonization in greater detail and can be read along with this trilogy is The Open Veins of Latin America.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Conroy on November 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book starts out with the legends of the native Americans about where things originated. It's a great bit of ancient history and some of it rather amusing. I have only begun to read the rest of the book, but so far am very impressed by the writer's style. He is very expressive and gives the reader a feel for what the subjects are feeling/thinking.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian A. Oard on August 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Here begins Eduardo Galeano's "Memory of Fire," a landmark experiment in historical writing that deserves to be much better known, especially in the United States. Galeano begins his history of the Western Hemisphere with a section of tales and episodes from Native American mythology. Undated, they suggest the timelessness of myth, a time and place outside of what we have been taught to call 'history.' With the arrival of Columbus, "history" proper, in the European sense of the word, begins. Galeano, however, continues to tell his tale in myth-like vignettes, a kind of nonfiction magic realism that continues through the next two volumes, bringing the story of our terrible and beautiful side of the planet up to 1984.
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