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We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution Paperback – April 17, 2013


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We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution + A History of the Cuban Revolution + Mexico's Once and Future Revolution: Social Upheaval and the Challenge of Rule since the Late Nineteenth Century
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"We Created Chávez provides a systematic, bottom-up approach to Venezuelan politics from 1958 to the present. It offers a much-needed new perspective on Hugo Chávez's rise to power. Writing in a lively style and demonstrating a thorough command of the issues and personalities in recent Venezuelan history, George Ciccariello-Maher has produced a book essential to understanding the phenomenon of 'Chavismo,' which has attracted widespread interest throughout the world."—Steve Ellner, author of Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict, and the Chávez Phenomenon


"In the United States, accounts of Venezuela have been fixated on the figure of Hugo Chávez. We Created Chávez breaks with this obsession, instead showing the dynamic and contradictory relationship that exists between Venezuela's president and the social forces that gave rise to and sustain the government. It is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the internal dynamics of social change underway in Venezuela today."—Miguel Tinker Salas, author of The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela


“Ciccariello-Maher’s history of the Venezuelan left is essential to understanding the Chávez era.”
(Dorothy Kronick The New Republic)

“Terrific.”
(Greg Grandin The Nation)

“[A] crisply written social and political history of the critical decades leading up to Chávez's election in 1998. . . . For those who want to see the revolution continue, Ciccariello-Maher has made a critical contribution to our understanding, which is in and of itself enough to recommend this book without reservation. But more than that, We Created Chávez brilliantly demonstrates how social history scholarship can mine the lived experiences of rank-and-file activists and radical leaders for precious stones, and then set those gems in a visible and rigorous theoretical frame that allows us to see history in motion.”
(Todd Chretien Socialist Worker)

“I've been looking for this book for years.”
(Steve Henshall Socialist Review)

"In addition to providing readers with an irreplaceable genealogy of the Revolutionary Left in Venezuela and its role in the making of the present, We Created Chávez deftly illustrates the tensions between constituent and constituted power that make the Bolivarian Revolution a dialectical process rather than a presidential term in office. We Created Chávez is also a masterful contribution to a thankfully growing body of work responding to dominant portrayals of the Bolivarian process in Venezuela enraptured or enraged by the figure of el Comandante.”
(Donald V. Kingsbury Theory & Event)

“In We Created Chávez, George Ciccariello-Maher offers a masterful ‘people’s history’ of Venezuela…. Through Ciccariello-Maher’s analysis, a Venezuela easily and often ignored both by academia and by the popular press becomes visible. It is this Venezuela from which post-Chávez popular politics will be forged; Ciccariello-Maher offers valuable insight into what the coming years may bring.”
(Erica S. Simmons Latin American Politics and Society)

"We Created Chavez is likely to be a point of reference for anyone seeking to assess chavismo as a seminal case of popular resistance to neoliberal globalization, as well as its relevance to twenty-first-century socialism."
(Daniel Hellinger Hispanic American Historical Review)

"If . . . you want an engaging book that, in the service of a revolutionist mythos, narrates the actions and ideas of many people often neglected by scholars, you may appreciate We Created Chavez."
(Jonathan Eastwood American Historical Review)

About the Author

George Ciccariello-Maher is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Drexel University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press (April 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822354527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822354529
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Ciccariello-Maher teaches political theory at Drexel University in Philadelphia, having previously taught at U.C. Berkeley, San Quentin State Prison, and the Venezuelan School of Planning in Caracas. He is the author of We Created Chávez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution (Duke University Press, 2013), and is currently finishing two projects, a theoretical understanding of revolutionary identity entitled Decolonizing Dialectics and a short book on contemporary Venezuela for the Jacobin Books series at Verso entitled Building the Commune.

Ciccariello-Maher is a frequent commentator on Latin American politics and social movements, as well as race, policing, and mass incarceration in the United States, where he is a political organizer. He has written op-ed contributions for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jacobin, the New York Times, and Fox News Latino, has appeared on a variety of television and radio outlets including CNN en Español, Fox News Live, Al Jazeera, NPR and PRI, BBC World, and has been quoted in print media including TIME Magazine, USA Today, National Geographic, CNN, Christian Science Monitor, the LA Times, Washington Post, and many more.

He tweets @ciccmaher.

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Christopher on July 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
The title of the book captures its essence well. This is not another book about Chavez. It is a view of the revolution taking place in Venezuela from below, that is to say from the perspective of the grassroots people's movements that have been developing there for decades. These movements supported Chavez, but they didn't answer to him so much as they "created" him and this complex relationship which is never reported in the U.S. corporate media is what is the subject of this book. If you are interested in actually understanding the Venezuelan Revolution this is a good book for getting the necessary context.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jae Blumenthal on September 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really quite enjoyed this book, I bought it because I am incredibly interested in the situation over in Venezuela, but am equally worried about distortion and possibly misrepresentations from sources such as the Bolivarian government and major media outlets. This book focuses on the people and movements that built into the revolution, and interviews many participants of the movements past and present, as well as painting a very useful image of why these things left Venezuela today, making an effort to prove that Chavez didn't create this movement, he merely seized upon a growing current and empowered it. Definitely worth the read to anyone interested in an impartial view of Venezuela, as both approving and dissenting views are shown, with neither being given precedence over the other. A very lovely book, all in all.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By HD Thoreau on May 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An important analysis of the bolivarian revolution as a possible avenue of struggle for the left - neither solely the marxist model of seizing the state through a vandgaurd party nor the anarchist shunning of the state.

I would have liked more attention to the militant barrio organizations where we begin. Also somebody needs to pass on the message to write in plain English. This read like a spruced up PhD thesis, which maybe it is. Still excellent, but probably unreadable if you haven't spent years in a certain kind of university setting.
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9 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kim Scipes on December 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really "locates" the struggles in Venezuela, and what we see is that the struggle for liberation extended far beyond Hugo Chavez, and at times challenged him, to go even farther. Excellent book! And a great read. It's why I'm confident that the struggle in Venezuela will go on long after Chavez' untimely death.
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Cook on April 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Having lived under two "blessed elitism" communist governments that preceded the Chavez experiments, I can speak personally to the national misery that a specialized "Animal Farm" economy creates, with a class of favorited groveling supporters to whom gifts and stolen property are bequeathed, Eventually the population rises up and demands the country back. It's worse if the leader supplants the constitutional legal system with his own "executive" philosophy, "the class of pigs are more equal than other animals". The ongoing issue results from the jealousy of the underclass of communist intellectuals of the real thinkers. Class warfare isn't based on rich vs poor, but favoritism vs disenfranchised. Protest and you don't get food. It's also disingenuous to pretend all is well, since you never leave the fragrance of your elitist garden, to taste the scatalogy of the streets. Leftists surround themselves with like minds and scented lace hankies, so they don't have to see or smell the outside results of their eggregious touch. Anti Midas rules. Communism-Myth busted! Au revoir Chaves, vis, Maduro! Lies only work with the three monkeys! No stars George. Maybe Maduro will give you a villa. Putin even realized capitalism made money! Oh! Didn't he tell you?
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6 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David Thomas on March 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
Given the amount of time spent plowing through this drivel, I can only give this book three sentences of review. You either have an understanding of the country and have lived there, or you speculate from a standpoint of political bias. This book is the latter.
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