Top positive review
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Eduardo Galleano's first book and masterpiece
on August 27, 2013
I am a Frenchman living in Central America.
I was recently asked in France by a History/Geography teacher what precisely was meant by "banana republic". As I embarked in an impromptu explanation of the effect of wealth extraction (be it by the sword and slavery or marginally better through IMF structural adjustments) on the structure of an economy and, through it, of the whole society, I soon realized that I would never be able to do it as well as Eduardo Galleano did forty years ago.
I therefore sent a French version of his magnus opus to the teacher, and since I was at that I decided to reread it as well.
This book is now quite old and many recent developments are missing, but it is still the most comprehensive account of the systemic plunder of a whole continent I have found so far.
Eduardo Galleano does not shy from his leftist viewpoint, but past the introduction this hardly has an impact on the clarity and the precision of his Historic analysis which breadth and depth are breathtaking.
I can only regret that he didn't write recently an update to account for the very interesting last 40 years.
As it stands now, las venas abiertas de América latina remains a foundational document for whoever wants to understand the roots of today's societal organization and aches in latin America.
Also noteworthy: the translation to English is excellent.