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Showing 1-10 of 136 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 297 reviews
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.
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on May 12, 2015
...and things have only gotten worse. As a Mexican, to read this book in 2015 in light of privatization moves by the current government and the frantic antics north of the border to get the TPP passed on fast track only rubs salt in the wounds. We have learned nothing and are on the brink of disaster. Galeano should be required reading for all politicians (and citizens alike).
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on November 8, 2015
Succinct iteration of all the key variables that explain the ruinous effects of the exploitation of countries with an abundance of natural resources by countries that have developed sophisticated systems for processing and adding value to those raw materials. Rapacious, profit-at-any-means mentalities, the ethic of the ends over the ethic of the means, by insidious companies and countries undermining any chance of the supplier countries partaking in the systemic benefits of economic and health advances. One of the few books that I continue to read and re-read. Floods of emigrations from Latin America, and by metaphor Africa, Middle East, South Asia are explained in "Whack Upside the Head" insights. Leaders of any country facing challenges from floods of immigrants must, yes MUST, read this book.
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on September 25, 2014
Not certain why Galeano recently repudiated his work in Open Veins. Most of the statements he makes in the book are well known to history and not particularly controversial. Whether or not they recommend a socialist solution to Latin America's numerous ills is a whole other debate. I never thought Galeano was necessarily advocating such a solution as he recounts the various ways Latin American countries have been exploited by large capitalist concerns over the years.

I did enjoy his writing style, more so than some of his other works. It's helpful, I think, to know some of the basic historical facts about the various Latin American nations before reading this book or you won't understand much of it. Like reading Mein Kamph without any knowledge of postwar German politics at the time. In my case, it really supplemented and reinforced many of the things I've been reading and learning. Like The Prize, Daniel Yergin's opus about the history of oil, I only wish he had continued on into the present day.
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on April 13, 2017
I strongly believe that this book is should be read as part of the American curriculum on one day. Although noticeably biased, it offers an insight into​ the forgotten history of Latin American. This book also does it in a way that it is easy to digest the information through poetic language that adds feelings to the words that describe the sometimes atrocious history of Latin America.
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on June 7, 2014
The five stars are for the research that went into this book. Although the author has no solutions to pose, it is worthwhile to make public the price that is paid in human misery for corrupt, self serving governments and institutions, keeping in mind that these entities are made up of people, first and foremost. They are not faceless! Also, I was surprised to see who those corrupt, self serving governments include. They are not just the third world governments. They are the industrialized governments and corporations also. When we have better information, we can make better choices at the voting booths and in the products we buy (or not). That is what this book gave me, better information and a chance to see how individual decisions shape global dysfunction. After reading this book, I can no longer claim ignorance.
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on March 21, 2015
This was my first comprehensive introduction to the intersecting military and economic warfare patterns used by colonizing forces (the international world of finance acting through the government of the dominant nations) in Latin America. The first edition was written in 1973 and published with a new forward in 2005. The continuity between 73 and 05 is revealing. Now, in 2015, with the same forces of colonization/imperialism at it again in Ukraine and Iraq, whilst also attempting to pull Venezuela and Iran into the inhuman mess, I am thrilled to have Eduaurdo Galeano's clear exposition of the methods used to hand, as then I can see clearly that these methods are still primary levers of domination. A must read, I'd say, for people interested in outpacing captialism ... although it is long, somewhat repetitative story with many deeply troubling descriptions (I needed to do plenty of processing to allow the story sink in).

Thanks, Eduardo, for telling this story in plain language too ...
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on May 11, 2015
I am astounded as how much I didn't know about how we (Europeans and Americans) treated South America. The Spanish were very short sighted , and ferocious. All the other colonial powers that came along took their big chunk. Poor south America. They started with so many natural resources, and were basically fleeced to the level of poverty. It makes me very sad. Nothing to do , but understand what they have been through and hope they can pull themselves out of their poverty. the Europeans and American also assassinated all the leaders in the past who chad a vision of how to right the situation. Unfortunately this continues today. Maybe those who read this book, and understand what has one before, can help stop the rape of South America.
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on November 18, 2015
Like everything else I have read of Galeano, this is brilliant - understanding his leftist orientation from the beginning, if you read with an open mind, there is much to be gained from his perspective. Every gringo like me should read all of Galeano before even attempting to opine on Latin American history or politics.
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on March 9, 2011
My college professor in Latin American history brought a sample from this book to class one day to illustrate the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores to Latin America. I was instantly taken by it and decided to purchase the book when I got home. Galeano has a way of making beautiful introductions to books. Throughout, his use of metaphors is very clever. Overall, I enjoyed this book to the point I could not put it down.
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