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Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America Paperback – July 24, 2012
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“An ambitious attempt to trace the interaction of ideas and power in Hispanic America.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Krauze is marked by a rare and attractive gift for noticing the several ways that, under the bright sun of the imagination, and kingdom of politics and the kingdom of literature sometimes merge.” (Paul Berman, The New York Times Book Review)
“Erudite and wise. . . . A magisterial history of the ideas, books and politics that shaped modern Latin America, from 19th-century liberalism to revolutionary commitments and back again towards modern, more democratic versions of liberal thought.” (The Financial Times)
“An engaging mixture of biography and historical currents in the style of Isaiah Berlin or Edmund Wilson, thus allowing lay readers to follow what can sometimes be a dizzying succession of revolutions, doctrine and caudillos.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Krauze illuminates Latin American thought and politics in a vibrant and invaluable blend of biography and analysis. . . . Redeemers provides discerning and much-needed insight into our dynamic neighbors.” (Booklist)
“Highly readable. . . . An important book.” (The Tuscon Citizen)
“Krauze attempts to weave together the disparate threads of all the feuding orthodoxies through mini-biographies of 12 leaders and thinkers. Krauze, perhaps Mexico’s most widely respected intellectual, is uniquely suited to the task, and the resulting tapestry is both persuasive and evocative.” (Publishers Weekly)
“An engaging survey of the ideas and quasi-religious convictions that have powered modern Latin America’s consequential political movements.” (The Daily)
“Krauze is, without a doubt, one of the most renowned and important intellectuals in Mexico. . . . He has developed a prose style of expressive clarity and metaphoric restraint that has enormous impact. His books read like novels: the greatest possible achievement for a historian of ideas.” (The Nation)
“Redeemers is a fundamental work for our time. . . . All the chapters are written with fluid movement, intelligent precision, and felicitous language. You read them with the expectation and excitement offered by the best novels.” (Mario Vargas Llosa, El País)
From the Back Cover
In Redeemers, acclaimed historian Enrique Krauze presents the major ideas that have formed the modern Latin American political mind during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries—and looks closely at how these ideas were expressed in the lives of influential revolutionaries, thinkers, poets, and novelists. Here are the Cuban José Martí; the Argentines Che Guevara and Evita Perón; political thinkers like Mexico’s José Vasconcelos; and the writers José Enrique Rodó, Mario Vargas Llosa, Octavio Paz, and Gabriel García Márquez. Redeemers also highlights Mexico’s Samuel Ruiz and Subcomandante Marcos, as well as Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez, and their influence on contemporary Latin America.
In his brilliant, deeply researched history, Enrique Krauze uses the range of these extraordinary lives to illuminate the struggle that has defined Latin American history: an ever-precarious balance between the ideal of democracy and the temptation of political messianism.
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I actually learned a lot about the why's of the Cuban Revolution and the struggle of Fidel Castro, How Che Guevara gained his popular name among leftists, why many latin American believe that USA is exploiting them, the mexican revolution, Comandante Carlos, etc. Bottom line it is all about populists taking on "emphy brained and uneducated" population and getting them to absorb their idealistic vision of their reality. I highly recommend this book for those who have any interest in Modern Latin American history and evolution of the Leftists.
Unlike other authors, such as Paul Johnson, Krauze not highlight the dark aspects that are unique to every person.
The sequence in which the characters are described is also suitable according to the development of reading, starting with anti-Americanism and anti-imperialism of Martí, Rodó and Mariátegui through opportunism (which it says so) of Vasconcelos. It ends, like the Vargas Llosa and Vasconcelos as he describes, from ultra liberalism to conservatism more recalcitrant taking about the figure of Chávez as a last biography and indeed no merit to be saved in a text of this category and the inclusion postscript seems a request of the editors.
Krause also and quite appropriately, brings us to the characters in their historical context and thus, for example, we look at the history of Mexican history and consequences of their revolution and the characters involved in it (Diaz Madero, Villa, Zapata, Obregon, et al) and more recent history in the waning moments of the PRI beginning with the slaughter of 68. The first part of this history of Mexico is about the biography of Vasconcelos and the second is on the occasion of Peace.
Similarly gives precise brushstrokes of Peruvian history, Argentina, Colombia and so on, according to the character of which we speak, placing it in its historical context and circumstances.
All are richly illustrated biographies also to include other relevant people not only in Latin America but the world at large.
Just a point unfavorable. The extent and depth of the different biographies are different. Of the more than 500 pages , nearly 200 of them are dedicated to Octavio Paz, a writer with whom he worked for over 20 years as Krauze himself recognizes. By way of comparison, the life of Eva Peron occupies only 15 pages, which can not be justified even though this has also had a short existence. Similarly, in the literature there are over 10 pages of sources for the life of Octavio Paz and only one paragraph of eight! lines with the sources for the life of Eva Perón. Also, despite the abundant bibliography on the life of Ernesto Guevara, Krause uses only three biographical books as their main source.
Ignoring this minor is only to say that the book is excellent. Once you start reading you can not stop and really interesting