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Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S. Paperback – August 7, 2007

3.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nikolas Kozloff is an expert on South America and a former fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, D.C. He contributes articles to Counterpunch, buzzflash.com, venezuelanalysis.com, Z Net, and blogs on senorchichero.blogspot.com. He has appeared on PBS World Focus, C-SPAN Washington Journal and The Daily Show and is the author of Revolution! He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

From Publishers Weekly

Hugo Chavez has put Latin America back on the U.S. radar with his outspoken attacks on American imperialism and his leadership in forming economic ties among Latin American nations outside U.S. influence. To many in the southern hemisphere, he represents a welcome alternative to the U.S., whose efforts to heal the region's economic woes through the World Bank and the IMF have largely failed. In the northern hemisphere, he is often seen as a threat to free-trade agreements and democracy in the Americas. Kozloff, a senior research fellow for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, tries to neutralize the latter image as he recounts recent Venezuelan history and analyzes Chavez's rise to power. Paying equal attention to Chavez as a man and as a political phenomenon, he inserts slow-moving anecdotes among dense historical details, making for an uneven read. Kozloff's use of sources like the Nation, the New Left Review and the International Socialist Review, as well as his participation in the antiglobalization movement, also reveal a leftist bias toward Chavez. He offers little criticism of Chavez's policies or the nondemocratic means—a 1992 failed coup—through which he first garnered public favor, before winning office in a 1999 election and 2002 reelection. But while this bias might make for some one-sided storytelling at times, it also makes for a thoughtful, well-researched alternative to the majority of information available on Chavez in the English-speaking world. (Sept. 19)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403984093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403984098
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,178,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent primer on Chavez, warts and all. The challenge to the US Kozloff delineates fully and articulately, not least by spending ample time revealing his subject's severe awakening to political and global realities through prison, failure, and a lightning quick mind. The first three chapters patiently define the origins of Chavez's political consciousness, and make the rest of the book more important and substantial. Chapter 3 - 'TINA - There Is No Alternative' - is especially helpful in getting to the root of who Chavez is, and who he might become, and why his appears to be a success with unlimited possibilities in terms of resisting the hegemony of American foreign policy. True, Kozloff is an admirer of sorts, but he pulls no punches. There is much to be admired in Hugo Chavez, as the world witnessed during his recent no-nonsense address to the UN, where he clearly distinguished himself as a determined, even poetic, global thinker. Chapter 4 takes its time outlining the nefarious meddling of Gustavo Cisneros, documenting along the way Cisneros' cozying up to George Herbert Liquor Bush. This is one of the few books around casting a clear-headed overview of the IMF, the disastrous effects of NAFTA, and the early White House plots against Chavez involving Otto Reich (Lockheed Martin), Pedro Carmona, and the CIA. These ideas are fully documented throughout the book with 65 pages of scrupulously detailed notes. One of the most interesting findings in the pages of this book is the struggle against racism represented by Hugo Chavez. His grasp of world affairs and his love for Venezuela come to be seen as inseparable from that honorable struggle. An excellent antidote to the prevailing American government line, it's also an essential look at the aiding and abetting committed by American corporate media in conformist manipulation. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well written study of Chavez's rise and battle with American inspired/directed/financed efforts to destabilize his regime. Clearly, the author is sympathetic with the global efforts to resist IMF (i.e., US) hegemony and sees Chavez as a prime leader. Of course, most Americans blindly believe the lies that routinely emerge from our corrupt governement sources, but Kozloff paints a picture, perhaps sometimes too rosey, of Chavez's efforts to socialize his deeply-divided country. Maybe a little more discussion of Chavez's sometimes repressive methods (completely justified in my view when one considers how insidious American subversive efforts have been and still are) would have been warranted also. Though I despise Bush as much as any red-blooded American patriot should, I found Kozloff's constant references to how scared/terrified/concerned Bush and his gang would be by such and such an action of Chavez's to be off-putting and tediously redundant. I thought Kozloff should have devoted more space to Venezuela's dealings with OPEC since oil is part of the title and would have liked more on Chavez's foreign policy maneuverings outside Latin America, but obviously he decided to limit the size of the book. All in all, a sound and somewhat personal recounting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting, full of intriguing book about Hugo Chavez.
This book could be The thesis on the political movements in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela. Copyright impartially and cold in the book considered the socio-political aspects of life in Venezuela. Very interesting! Recommend this book to those who seek to get rid of the standard political "stamps" and see Venezuela this for what it is actually.
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Format: Paperback
Full disclosure: I didn't finish this book. I made it about a third of the way through and I just couldn't take it any longer. I was greased up and ready to read a critical analysis of one of the most important figures of the last fifteen years in international politics. I wanted to be challenged and educated.

What I got was a thin read that made me feel like a right wing reactionary because I had a hard time believing crowds of people hum a national anthem while comitting property crimes. Or that a mass demonstration without an underpinning constitutes a revolution, as in the Seattle WTO riots. The chapters read like fluffed magazine articles, and frankly, I could care less where the author spent his time studying and planning his next demonstration. If the timing had been right, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few paragraphs about having tea with Oliver Stone.

There may be a great book in Chavez's story, but this isn't it. One star bonus for benefit-of-the-doubt: Those with a head apparently more level than mine who can make it to the end, might find an oil pot at the end of the rainbow. But I doubt it.
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Format: Paperback
I've been reading quite a bit about Venezuela lately, and this books stands as one of my favorites. Kozloff did an especially good job covering Chávez' activities on the international stage, his restructuring of the oil industry, and his work with regional economic/political integration. I also like how Kozloff brings in his own personal experiences as a student, and later as a social science researcher, discussing how his personal political ideology clashed with his preconceptions of Chávez, and how that changed over time as he learned more about what was happening in Venezuela. Anyhow, this is a concise, informative, and engaging read, and I'd highly recommend it for a primer on contemporary Venezuelan affairs.
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