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Here: A Biography of the New American Continent Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 31, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1891620835
  • ASIN: B000IOEOA0
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,517,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

As the former bureau chief for The New York Times in both Canada and Mexico, Anthony DePalma is uniquely qualified to report on North America. Here is his "biography of a continent," a look at how Canada, the U.S., and Mexico have diverged politically and culturally despite their shared roots and similar backgrounds. Having lived in all three countries, DePalma has a keen eye for national tendencies, such as the difference between how Americans and Canadians view the border: "[Americans] see the border as joining Canada to the United States. For Canadians, it is the last line separating us from them." Even history, it seems, is influenced by latitude. He writes of meeting "Canadians who did not love their own history and Mexicans who were afraid of theirs. It helped me realize just how we Americans use our history; we create it and control it and continually conform it to our liking."

A first-rate journalist, DePalma offers many memorable anecdotes in Here. In one particularly bizarre episode, he describes interviewing a nearly incoherent Carlos Salinas in a dark shack where he was staging a hunger strike to protest the way he and his family were being treated by political opponents. Just three months earlier, Salinas had stepped down as one of the most powerful presidents in Mexican history. Now, he "looked like a vagrant and sounded like a mystic," with bottled Evian his only sustenance. "To appreciate what it represented for the people of Mexico," he writes, "imagine Bill Clinton showing up in Harlem one day and vowing not to eat or drink anything but Perrier water until everyone in Washington stopped saying mean things about him and Hillary."

The triple elections of 2000 marked "a significant turning point in continental America," according to DePalma. "The notion that what happens across the border doesn't matter has been disproved." In this fascinating look at the state of the continent, he has done much to dispel misunderstanding and ignorance between neighbors. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A New York Times reporter who has served as bureau chief in both Mexico and Canada, DePalma presents an astute picture of the fundamentally diverse histories and national characters of these two countries and the United States. He examines the political, cultural, and economic consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), drawing on his own experiences and observations. This policy, he argues, has revealed shared economic objectives and irrefutable philosophical links, but it has also exposed deep political and class differences, unrealistic attempts to control porous borders, the threat of U.S. cultural domination, and economic chicanery. But DePalma also reports that unshackling the continental market has doubled continental trade, added 16 million jobs, inspired enthusiasm for governmental reform, improved financial reporting, and produced a common currency. DePalma writes with eloquence and subtle humor, seasoned by the personal experience of having lived in all three countries. This is a story of the divergent histories, converging values, and emerging character of a new North America. Highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries. John E. Hodgkins, Yarmouth, ME
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author


Anthony DePalma was the first foreign correspondent of The New York Times to serve as bureau chief in both Mexico and Canada. Starting in 1993, he covered some of the most tumultuous events in modern Mexican history, including the Zapatista uprising, the assassination of the ruling party's presidential candidate and the peso crisis that quickly spread economic chaos to markets all over the world. In 1996 he was transferred to the other end of America.

In Canada he reported from all ten provinces and three territories, covering natural disasters like the Quebec ice storm and the Red River flood--both once in a century occurrences--the 1997 federal elections that revealed deep regional divisions in Canada, and the historic Indian treaties in British Columbia. In addition, he wrote extensively about the creation of the territory of Nunavut, in which Inuit people formed their own government.

Besides North America, Mr. DePalma has reported from Cuba, Guatemala, Suriname, Guyana, and, during the Kosovo crisis, Montenegro and Albania. His book "Here: A Biography of the New American Continent," was published in the United States and Canada in 2001. An updated version, with a post 9/11 afterword, was published in 2002.

From 2000 to 2002, Mr. DePalma was an international business correspondent for The Times covering North and South America. During his tenure with The Times, he also has held positions in the Metropolitan and National sections of the newspaper. Most recently he wrote about the working class and the environment in New York City. In 2003, he was awarded a fellowship at Notre Dame's Kellogg Institute for International Studies, where he began work on "The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba and Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times," which was published in 2006. It has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Mr. DePalma has taught graduate seminars at New York University and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. In 2007 he was named a Hoover Media Fellow at Stanford University, and he delivered the annual Jane E. Ruby Lecture at Wheaton College. He was a finalist for a 2007 Emmy for his work on the television documentary "Toxic Legacy."

In September, 2008, Mr. DePalma was named writer-in-residence at Seton Hall University, where he teaches journalism and Latin American issues. In 2009 he delivered the Donald B. Regan Lecture on North America at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis, and later that same year he received the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for distinguished international journalism from Columbia University. He continues to contribute to The New York Times and is a frequent lecturer on the Americas. His latest book, "City of Dust," about the health and environmental aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center, was published in September 2010. The Chicago Sun-Times named it one of the best non-fiction books of the year.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Grant S. Kesler on July 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a supberb portrayal of the issues and obstacles that seperate the United States from Mexico and Canada. Drawing on personal experience as a husband, father, and NY Times bureau chief living in both Mexico and Canada successively, Anthony DePalma hits nail after nail on the head. With the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) scheduled for ratification by up to 34 nations within the next four years this book is both important and timely. For a person wanting to understand what all the fuss is about with respect to issues of free trade, globalization, protection of the environment, and human rights, this is the starting point. And if you as a reader appreciate careful and meaningful description punctuated by use of the perfect metaphor you will find it here. A simply supberb read!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T Molloy on August 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found the book very easy to read and to understand. Once I began to read it, it was very difficult to put down. The author weaves the history of these three great countries, Mexico, the United States and Canada with his own life, and his assignments for The New York Times in Mexico and Canada in an fascinating way.
I have shared with the author by coincidence several experiences and places described in his book, the creation of the new Canadian Territory of Nunavut and the historic Nisga'a Treaty. The descriptions of Canada's north and the communities of nothern British Columbia where very accurate and allowed me to relive those wonderful experiences through accurate word pictures provided. It was also easy for me to imagine being in the other places and events described of which I had not experienced.
It is a book I would highly recommend to anyone that has an intrest in these three great countries and the relationship they have and will need to have for the future or to anyone who is simply looking for a good book read.
Tom Molloy Chief Negotiator for the Government of Canada Nunavut Land Claims Settlement and the Nisga'a Final Agreement.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Think back to a few years ago, when prior to the 1992 election, Ross Perot in attacking the then proposed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), described it as "a giant sucking sound" of American jobs being lost to Mexico. Well the exodus of jobs never happened and Perot's one-sided criticism was probably just politics anyway. What then accounts for Mr DePalma's equally skewed analysis "HERE"; although the arguments in this book are the exact opposite of Perot's; for Mr DePalma, NAFTA is a very good thing. Perhaps the explanation for his ringing endorsement of the gradual economic integration of the US, Canadian, and Mexican economies, comes from the fact that Mr DePalma has lived and worked for a number of years in both Mexico and Canada. Looking at NAFTA from that vantage point shows that it's influence on not only economic, but also the social and cultural aspects of peoples lives, in the 7 years since the agreement came into effect, has been largely positive.
Mr DePalma sees the signing of the agreement itself as a significant achievement; the three nations, he says overcame decades of prejudice and have struck out on "our shared destiny" based on mutual respect and a committment to free trade. He gives sketches of the political and cultural histories of Canada and Mexico throughout his book and writes best when he mixes these in with stories of his experiences in each country.
Mr DePalma is correct in saying that "we know North America exists, but we do not know North America" and we can thank him for helping us learn a lot that's new about Canada and Mexico. There are however some limits to all this talk of continental unity.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen D. Charles on April 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a college magazine editor and writer, I've heard dozens of speakers and read many authors over the years who either apply political and economic theories to events in Latin America or tell stories that attempt to shine a light on individuals or groups in that region. But in "Here", DePalma puts a face on the people and finds the story behind the events, public and private, he witnessed in his singular role as a journalist covering Latin America, the U.S., and Canada. By combining these stories with reflections of his own family's immigration and throwing closely observed political events into the mix, he illuminates the struggles, aspirations, and challenges facing all of us on the American continent. He presents an original and well-grounded worldview that, whether or not you agree with it, provides a solid and insightful foundation for a long overdue discussion on the connectedness of North and South.
As a writer, I admire the clarity and accuracy of observation in DePalma's prose, whether he's unmasking Subcomandante Marcos during a downpour in Aguascalientes or listening to a Mayan soldier for the source of the outrage that fed the Zapatista movement. DePalma doesn't lose the individual in the larger scheme of things, but also never loses sight of that larger context.
DePalma's book humanized for me recent trends on the American continent. My only regret after reading it is that I didn't do so before accompanying students on a recent learning expedition to Mexico. Next time, I'll take it with me.
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