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Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the Political Economy of Revolution in Venezuela (Brookings Latin America Initiative Books) Paperback – January 7, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is the most objective, comprehensive and interesting book I have read on what has happened in Venezuela since Hugo Chávez took power in the late 1990s. It shows why most of the common explanations of the country's social and political convulsions are superficial and often flawed. A must read."—Moisés Naím, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace



"Hugo Chávez and his 'Bolivarian Revolution' to construct '21st century socialism' in Venezuela and reshape the international order have attracted a great deal of polarized comment: either sycophantic praise or unmitigated condemnation, neither backed up by sound data or profound analysis. Dragon in the Tropics escapes this pattern. It provides a thoughtful, perceptive, balanced but critical, nuanced and illuminating assessment, grounded in rich and revealing data, and deep knowledge of both Venezuela and of comparative politics and political economy. Highly recommended."—Abraham F. Lowenthal, Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California



"Corrales and Penfold have written a wide-ranging and thought-provoking interpretation of how Hugo Chávez has shaped Venezuelan society, and the country's regional and global role, over the past decade. The book is conceptually innovative, empirically rich, and cogently argued. Its keen insights into Venezuela's evolving political economy represent an invaluable contribution."—Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue



"Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold are two of the most outstanding analysts of contemporary Venezuela. This accessible and clear-eyed book provides a comprehensive overview of Venezuelan politics, economics, and foreign policy over the last decade. No one interested in understanding the rise of radical populism, the distortions inherent in the oil economy, and the progressive deterioration of democratic institutions should fail to read this book."—Cynthia Arnson, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars



"An engaging and comprehensive portrait of the Chávez government's key economic and political features."— Political Science Quarterly

About the Author

Javier Corrales is a professor of political science at Amherst College and the author of Presidents Without Parties: The Politics of Economic Reform in Argentina and Venezuela in the 1990s (Penn State Press, 2002).

Michael Penfold is professor of political economy and former dean of the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administracion in Caracas and the author of Dos Tradiciones,Un Conflicto: El Futuro de la Descentralización (Debate 2009).

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Product Details

  • Series: Brookings Latin America Initiative Books
  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; Original edition (January 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815704976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815704973
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was looking for an accessible yet complex account of the current regime. Corrales and Penfold's book was precisely what I needed. I found their interpretation of the situation in Venezuela to move the discussion into new ground and provide an illuminating account. The writing is clear yet masterful, their approach integrates the most recent thinking with their own research and synthetic views.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An outstanding book on the decadence and corruption in what used to be the best country in the world; Javier has an uncanny and extremely deep knowledge of the circumstances and screw ups that put this banana minded despot in the driver's seat.
my only point of contention with Javier's essay is the credit he gives to Chavez, the entire country knows he is corrupt, false, not very bright and usually incurs into fraud and blackmail to push his country people into submission "not the trade of someone big i.e. Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, etc.
it is well documented Chavez is a paper tiger, a coward and has ingratiated himself with other Presidents he perceives above him in every aspect via gifts and largess the country should be enjoying these instead. Proof of this is quite evident when he walked over to Obama and handed him a outdated copy of a book that he wanted to share with the USA, of course this occasion, stands in his mind as his biggest, life achievement.
There are two more books, one is the silence and the scorpion by Nelson Bryan, excellent write up and the Blindspot of the USA, Chavez by Andres Cala; excellent book as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Corrales and Penfold give a very detailed, and well-documented account of how Chavez seized power and kept it. The language is clear and the narrative is fluid and it comprises reliable research for those who want to stay in touch with recent political and social history of Venezuela under the Chavez regime.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is much polemic about Chávez and what he has done in Venezuela. This book takes the position that Chávez leads a Hybrid regime, which is an authoritarian regime that has bits and pieces of democracy.

I found the book to be intelligent, well-researched and argued. I have used it as a reliable source of clear arguments that explain key aspects of Chávez's regime.
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Format: Paperback
Dragon in the Tropics, written by two renowned scholar researchers is THE book everyone interested in the Venezuelan downfall should read. It explains, supported by authoritative statistics and well grounded reaearch, why Venezuela has fallen from democracy to a mix of authoritarian,demagogic, populist, anti democratic, semi comunist country. It a must read for politicians, students and all interested in avoiding the mistakes that lead to the destruction of liberties. I recommend this book to the students of countries that, in the path to development, forget to listen the claims of many who are left unatended in the process.
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