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Blood and Debt: War and the Nation-State in Latin America Hardcover – April 1, 2002

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Blood and Debt is much too rich in concepts and supporting descriptive events to give deserved justice in a brief review. Clearly, it is an outstanding study, destined to be the standard work in the area for some time to come.”

—Robert Looney, Journal of Political and Military Sociology



“However, Centeno’s path breaking book will stimulate a wealth of follow-on studies.”

—Robert Looney, Journal of Political and Military Sociology



“Miguel Centeno (a sociologist) has taken a hard and detailed look at relationships between war, the military, and the state in Latin America in a most incisive work.”

—Frederick M. Nunn, Latin American Research Review



“Meticulously researched, Miguel Centeno’s provocative study presents a comprehensive account of Latin America’s proclivity to go to war over the past 200 years and the consequences of that proclivity. . . . Centeno’s ambitious study will undoubtedly provoke much debate and further research. Its unique perspective and impressive breadth represent an important contribution to Latin American political sociology that will challenge researchers in a variety of specializations for some time to come.”

—Philip Oxhorn, American Journal of Sociology



“Amid today's impenetrable postmodern jargon, it is a joy to discover a sociologist who not only writes good English but who opens up important questions previously neglected by scholars. . . . Based on wide historical reading, Centeno has broken much new ground in this major contribution.”

—Foreign Affairs



“Centeno's book balances shrewdly between identifying distinctive properties of Latin American national patterns, on one side, and integrating Latin American histories into international comparisons, on the other. Ingeniously piecing together fugitive evidence on wars, military organization, commemorations, taxation, and state structure, he thereby challenges two extreme tendencies: to treat Latin America as a failed Europe, and to stress the utter particularism of Latin America.”

—Charles Tilly, Columbia University



“Miguel Angel Centeno's trailblazing book sheds much new light on Latin America by paying proper attention to its distinctive ways of making war and the connections of warfare to state development, to national identities, and to the nature of citizenship.”

—John Markoff, University of Pittsburgh

About the Author

Miguel Angel Centeno is Professor of Sociology at Princeton University. His Democracy Within Reason (Penn State, 1994; revised edition, 1997) was named an "Outstanding Academic Book" by Choice.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271021659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271021652
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,095,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Clearly written and persuasively argued. This book was required reading as part of a graduate course in State Building. We read it after the classic works of Weber, Tilly and Hintze, once we were very familiar with the bellicist account of state-making. Centeno applies Tilly's "War makes states" argument to Latin America and argues that the legacy of weak states in Latin America can best be understood because there have been so few inter-state wars there. For Centeno, no wars= weak states.

I enjoyed the book and think that any Latin Americanist would also. I also like how Centeno offers an alternative narrative to explain instability in Latin America other than the dependency theory of US hegemony and exploitation.

While Centeno does make a compelling argument to explain why states have been historically weak in Latin America, several empirical questions are left unanswered by his bellicist framework. First, variance in outcomes between cases with the same limited history of interstate wars is not accounted for with his model. Kurtz (2009) highlights this contradiction with Centeno's (2002) framework, arguing against the bellicist account of state making as instructive for Latin America. Kurtz (2009:479) uses the example of Chile and Peru, two Andean neighbors "situated in similar strategic and natural resource environments" but with very different outcomes "in terms of state capacity or strength." Therefore, there are those who have questioned how much insight we can hope to gain from a generic bellicist account of state making as applied to the history of state formation in Latin America.
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Format: Paperback
This book focuses on the themes of war and the nation-state in nineteenth Mexico and the republics of South America; and the approach is highly inspired by Charles Tilly's work on Europe, although Centeno derives entirely different conclusions regarding nation-state formation in Latin America. The work is original, full of data, and the writer is clever, which enables the reader to follow the abstract (academic) concepts of the book with ease. Centeno's work is an intelligible and thought provoking read. He is a sociologist, and his approach to nineteenth century Latin American history is a significant contribution to the literature on this period. Any student of Latin America or any student interested in nation-state building should read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very Bias, it does not see the full picture, it was as if it were written by Che Guevara himself with an internet connection. A collection of misinterpreted facts and conspiracies.
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By A on October 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting view point supported by multitude of examples.

Clear, well explained conclusions to challenge traditional thought of IR theories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book arrived like the description before the estimated day. Powell's Burnside is excellent and honest with their products. I'm really happy!
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