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Evil Hour in Colombia Paperback – October 17, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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A major theme of Hylton's book is to bring ethnicity as well as class into the account of the historical and contemporary violence in Colombia. --Jenny Pearce, Journal of Latin American Studies
“Colombia’s war-without-end has been sustained by US intervention and subsidized by our own ignorance and indifference to the fate of this great country. Evil Hour in Colombia is a brilliant investigation of a complex and tragic history, as well as an eloquent indictment of Washington’s policies.”—Mike Davis
“A corrective to those servants of empire who would have us believe that the main threat facing Latin America today is left-wing populism, Forrest Hylton’s Evil Hour in Colombia describes in alarming detail the real danger to the region: the spread of paramilitarism, which in Colombia has grown beyond its rural death-squads roots to graft itself into the highest branches of government, crime, and society. This book is an exacting portrait of the face of American ‘hard power’ in the Andes, a must read for anyone interested in what awaits the rest of the world if Washington’s power remains unchecked.”—Greg Grandin
Top Customer Reviews
With this excellent book, I feel like I've come as close as possible to "definitive" answers. The epigraph to Chapter 3, quoting Eric Hobsbawm, briefly sums part of the argument convincingly laid out by Hylton, as to the sources of the war: "I discovered a country (Colombia) in which the failure to make a social revolution had made violence the constant, universal, and omnipresent core of public life." The other part of Hylton's argument explains why "social revolution" in Colombia stumbled, or rather (to continue the metaphor) he describes that it didn't stumble as much as it was tripped.
The author skillfully traces how this caused a violent pendulum swing in Colombian history. In the Introduction, Hylton writes, "One effect of the long-term use of political terror in Colombia and elsewhere has been to erase the memory of the political alternatives to which terror responded." Indeed, one of the most compelling elements of the book is that it rescues from oblivion the recurring moments in the country's history marked by radical-popular mobilization and the consequent--if, sometimes limited--reforms.Read more ›
research on such an important topic. It helps to rescue a historical memory that the dominant narrative in that South American country wants to permanently erase. It emphasizes the democratic and consistent resistance of what Hylton calls "subaltern" groups throughout the republican history of Colombia. Although the voices and struggles of the urban and rural working classes have not been emphasized enough in this book, they occupy a prominent place. These struggles have not produced sensationalist and flashy headlines like those of the armed groups, yet they have consistently and heroically helped to organize un-unionized rural and urban workers. Mr. Hylton has been critical of all the armed actors in this conflict and rightly provides a general context to better understand their actions. While it is true that leftists in Colombia have emphasized, to their own detriment the call to arms, there has also been a Left that has consistently called for the self-organization of the urban and rural working class. Indeed, most of the armed groups have in a sectarian fashion ridiculed the organization of the urban working class. The narrative of violence has been tragically overemphasized by a Left (perhaps because of the feudal nature of the recent past and the weakness of working class traditions in a semi feudal society) that needs to respect all minorities and their democratic traditions as Mr. Hylton very well documents in his book. His narrative gives us an overview and a general context that complements those of anthropologist Taussig and journalist Molano.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Evil Hour in Colombia is an acute synthesis of a theme fictionalized by Colombia's literary Nobel Laureate, Gabriel García Márquez. Read morePublished on May 14, 2007 by biblioworld
I have a good knowledge of the history of Colombia and have visited the country. I read the book with an open mind and hope to gain a better knowledge of the country. Read morePublished on May 11, 2007 by Useful Idiot