Customer Reviews

35
3.8 out of 5 stars
Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$14.88 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

138 of 154 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was very surprised to finally read a book that doesn't portray Latin America as a "victim" of the US or the Old World. I think these three authors intelligently challenge the populist ideologies and myths of the left and the right that have made so much damage all over the spanish speaking countries south of the USA. Having met many "perfect latin american idiots" in the past, I can see now why they are so enraged with the succes of this book. They are perfectly described and they don't look pretty. For anyone else, this book offers a fresh, sharp insight in to Latin American issues that until recently were considered property of marxist and nationalist leaning intellectuals. These writers are shooting straight to the heart and they make no apologies.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
I don't think anyone contends the US is innocent of many evils in Latin America. Everyone knows that we have done some bad stuff there. However, using that as the sole explanation for why the region continues underdeveloped is out of touch with reality. I get that sort of thing from professors in my Latin American studies grad program all the time and it rings hollow when one knows some of the counterfactual evidence in existense. This book does a good job of bringing that out. The only problem is that there are some factual accuracies. Example-- the authors ID 1977 as the year Archbishop Romero was killed in El Salvador. This is false. It was 1981, and they probably meant to refer to the 1976 assassination of Romero's friend Rutilio Grande. Little veting errors like this one are not too big a deal, though. The overall point that the US is not the only one to blame for Latin America's problems rings loud and clear. Ths authors do a sound job of making their case based on myriad historical examples which are well-documented and often selectively ignored by many aficionados of Latin American history who prefer to see the region as victims of Yankee aggression.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Brilliant....outstanding! Highly recommended!

This book is for Latin America what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for Europe.

Required reading for those interested in understanding Latin America and why it has been unable to achieve sustainable development, democratic stability and constructive relations with the United States.

"Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot" has been a best-seller throughout Latin America since its 1996 publication in Spanish. This fact, and its three distinguished authors representing different national perspectives, symbolize the dramatic paradigm shift taking place in the region.

This book is ideal for introductory courses in Latin American Studies to counter the rigid leftist orthodoxy and "political correctness" that dominates so many universities, high schools, NGOs and international agencies. It is these outdated leftist views that have confused and misled so many about why Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be mired in poverty, violence, corruption and underdevelopment.

It demonstrates how leftist "idiots" not only in Latin America, but those in the United States and Europe, have paralyzed the region in a culture of "victimization", creating deep resentments and distrust of market economies, private property, foreign investment, multinational corporations, globalization and the United States. It is these leftist-statist-mercantilist-corporatist attitudes that dominated many Latin Americans throughout the 20th century and continue even today, as so clearly demonstrated by Castro in Cuba, Chavez in Venezuela, Ortega in Nicaragua, Aristide in Haiti, Bucaram in Ecuador, Allan Garcia in Peru, Lula in Brazil among others. It is these, combined with dsyfunctional anti-democratic and anti-market cultural values, that have maintained the region in poverty and political instability. The Latin American poor owe a debt of gratitude to Apuleyo, Montaner and Vargas Llosa for so forcefully showing how these attitudes and populist leaders have contributed to their misery.

For an even broader perspective of these historic changes, readers should also see "Fabricantes de Miseria" by the same authors; "No Perdamos Tambien El Siglo XXI" by Carlos Alberto Montaner; writings by the argentine Mariano Grandona, the peruvian Hernando De Soto, the venezuelan Carlos Rangel, the region's leading intellectual Mario Vargas Llosa; and books by Lawrence Harrison, Francis Fukuyama and those contributors to "Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress".
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
The authors meticulously tie down and skewer a particular type of Latin American Idiot, a "progressive leftist" who thinks that the "free market" is "inhuman," etc. etc.

But it's easy to see lots and lots of North American Idiots in this portrait, as well as handfuls of European Idiots. Noam Chomsky and Medea Benjamin fit right in, both wallowing in economic illiteracy.

This book can be very profitably read by anyone in the world! The main point the authors come back to over and over again is the silly idea that wealth is "stolen," and not created. That is, if a foreman in Detroit makes 50 times as much as an Indian peasant in the Andes, well, that lousy American stole it from the peasant. Or he "exploited" him.

We've all heard this nonsense many times before, mostly from people who are very comfortably off (Chomsky, for example, is a millionaire). But the simple fact is that the foreman in Detroit PRODUCES fifty times as much as that peasant in the Andes. Of course, the foreman is surrounded by competent workers and managers, and huge capital investment in machinery etc. BUT at the end of the day, you have to produce wealth in order to have it.

Think about that. The United States is, according to the Idiots, the supreme exploiter in the world today. Yet the booming American economy, some $12 trillion strong, is two-thirds based on services! How can services possibly exploit starving peasants in the Andes?

The new democratic government in Mexico is a pretty surprising example of the Idiots finally in retreat. With NAFTA in place, and foreign investment encouraged, the Mexican economy has managed to reach the threshold of a trillion dollars, with a per capita GDP of $10,000. That's doing marginally better than Thailand, and of course infinitely better than Cuba.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that examines the causes of Latin America's political and economical troubles from a libertarian point of view, debunking the old prejudices spread by the leftists - the idiots! - about that part of the world, which are still dominant in the mainstream media.
Usually, Latin America is presented as a land where free enterprise and private property clearly failed the challenge of development, state interventionism (or socialism...) being depicted as the unique possible choice to solve and fight the continent's poverty.
The authors sucessfully demonstrate the complete wrongness of this perspective: Latin America's problem is not a lack of state interventionism, but an excess of it, the historical existence of a centralist tradition suspicious about real liberalism (in the european tradition of the word) and freedom of enterprise, giving her preference to the creation of heavy bureaucratic systems and gigantic conglomerates of ineffective public companies, usually managed without any kind of economic rationality, only obeying to unclear and not well defined political criterions, Cuba being the main paradigm of the bad consequences of this model (the chapter about Fidel's island is simply superb).
As I said initially, this is a fine book and the only reason I don't rate it with five stars is the following one: even the authors, in minor points, are not completely free of leftist idiocy, especially when they speak about extra Latin America realities...
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Forget about political theories, economical utopias and planet-sized libraries. Theories and books do not matter as much as that which the minds perceive, and how those minds carry out what the books say.
If you want the truth about Latin American extremist psychology, how they explain and justify their existence and misery and how they blame the "superpowers" for everything from global warming to hunger in Ethiopia, read this book! Learn how they weave their demagogic conspiracy theories using partial truths and superficial, apparent logic. The book is not only about the presidential leaders like Castro. It also describes the mind of the young, yet-unknown political leader in college (most of the time a leftwing extremist) that sparks the creation of groups than in turn revere the "big guys".
The book is so real that reading it is like living in Latin America for about 10 years. Reading it gives more information than 10 years of analyzing the economy and politics of Latin America. Minds move people and change the political course of nations.
Recommended for students, politicians, strategists, business people, and anybody wanting to visit Latin America for more than a few days.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in the original Spanish, it is a delight for those of us on the right side of the political spectrum who have never bought into the Marxist dogma of dependency theory. The authors' use of humor as a venue for dealing with political economy is masterfully done, and cannot possibly offend anyone, despite the title and conclusions. I did find a couple of instances where there were problems in the editing (factual inconsistencies): one chapter states that Fidel Castro, despite his rhetoric repudiating the foreign debt, is the most punctual in paying his debts; but another points out that he stopped paying his foreign debt in 1986. But that was the most glaring example I could find; the rest is excellent, and the authors really make their point through serious analysis. The list of ten most important books to their "idiot" is well done, and I especially enjoyed the quotes by "idiots" (including quotes from the authors themselves in their earlier years) at the end of the text. I sincerely hope the translator has done the book justice, but I am buying it anyway.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read the spanish original, which is a refreshing fire hose that strips off the Latin American strongman mystique (Castro, Peron, Villa, Sandino); and, especially the warped idea that violence is the tonic that Latin Americans need to remedy their economic and political woes. A great counter balance to books like "Modern Latin America" by Skidmore and Smith which present a sympathetic view of Castro and other social engineers that have brought only disasters to their "democratically represented constituents" while blaming the U.S. for their failures. Helps explain the bitter humor behind the "Yanqui go home, and take me with you" slogan scrawled on a wall in the Dominican Republic during the 1965 U.S. intervention. Read and weep.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a Latin American, I would recommend this book to any Gringo or European trying to understand left wing histeria in Central and South America. Do not pay any attention to the leftist intellectual elite! This actually shows you the true Latin America that "politically correct" intellectuals try to hide.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
In order to stop the idiocy from spreading, that's why. Great book; make sure to read it's sequel, EL REGRESO DEL IDIOTA (The Idiot Returns). It's a gem!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Manual Del Perfecto Idiota Latinamericano (Spanish Edition)
Manual Del Perfecto Idiota Latinamericano (Spanish Edition) by Carlos Alberto Montaner (Paperback - Dec. 1996)


Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano (Spanish Edition)
Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano (Spanish Edition) by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza (Mass Market Paperback - March 31, 1997)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.