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Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America Hardcover – August 16, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“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

Latin America has been of vital importance to the United States almost since the birth of our nation, and the significance of this relationship has only increased in recent decades. But mutual understanding between these regions is lacking, even as Latin Americans are striving to promote the values of democracy in their native countries and beyond. Why has this process proved to be such a struggle, and what does the future of the region hold?

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, from early postcolonial authoritarian regimes to nineteenth-century Liberalism and Conservatism, and then the impact of Socialism and Marxism as well as nationalism and indigenism and the movement toward liberal democracy of recent years. Krauze looks closely at how these ideas have been expressed in the lives of influential revolutionaries, thinkers, poets, and novelists—figures whose lives were marked by a passionate involvement in history, power, and, for some, revolution, as well as a personal commitment to love, friendship, and family. Krauze’s subjects come from across the continents. Here are the Cuban José Martí; the Argentines Che Guevara and Evita Perón; the groundbreaking political thinkers José Vasconcelos of Mexico and José Carlos Mariátegui from Peru. Writers José Enrique Rodó, Mario Vargas Llosa, Octavio Paz, and Gabriel García Márquez reinforce the importance of imagination to inspire social change.

Redeemers also highlights Mexico’s Samuel Ruiz and Subcomandante Marcos and Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez, and their influence on contemporary Latin America.

In this brilliant and 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. Through this comprehensive collage of the distinct but interconnected experiences and views of these twelve fascinating cultural and political figures, we can better understand how this balance continues to affect Latin America today and how its nations will define themselves and relate to the larger world in the years ahead.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (August 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066214734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066214733
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric Mascarin Perigault on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Enrique Krauze offers the biography of twelve Latin American transcendental characters in a fun and erudite way. The characters are not related to each other and although most are writers, there are politicians and other. Despite the enormous amount of information he give us, the book reads easily and not feel overloaded. There are many famous quotes from the authors, some memorable, others are sound bites. Krauze knows when inserting to illustrate what he describes.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Newly living in what was once Mexico (San Diego county), I am intrigued by Krauze's descriptions and theories. He is balanced between socialism and capitalism but his true nature suits mine.(left, left, left) All the U S should know this much about our neighbor
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Thoughtfully organized so that a reader could either read straight through or read selective chapters. Good mix of biographies--from authors to politicians and a couple of religious and guerrilla leaders in between. Builds a diverse, yet unified, collection of thought that centers on the idea of Redemption in Latin America.
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This book helps anyone seeking to understand Latin America in today's world. Having read the president of Colombia's book on the war on terrorists, I found the facts in Redeemers to further expand my knowledge. To anyone who has read translations of the Kremlin's Verona Papers in such books as "Dupes", and wondered if the communist parties of Latin America were also supported by the USSR, this book has answers in the affirmative. The old dream of a one-world socialist government is still alive despite the demise of the Soviet Union. When the money flow from the Kremlin stopped, it wreaked havoc on the guerilla movement, and obviously on Cuba which turned to Venezuela for paying for its failed model of government. Now that Chavez is on his last legs, perhaps even Cuba will realize free markets created the only prosperous countries in history.
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Format: Hardcover
My parents are from Colombia South America and I was born in California and grew up in the South. I have always had an interest in Latin America and what drew me to this book is its cover with many familiar faces from that region of the world.
What I discover is that I come from a tough people who can be very ruthless.
Enrique Krauze has done a marvelous job of taking a snippet of individuals from that region.
They touch on revolutionaries, artist, writers, and cultural icons. What I sense is the best contribution to the body politic is that the author humanizes the individuals. They do not allow their circumstance to limit their potential.
From Peron to Chavez in the same breath you sense the passion and fire that is located south of the American border.
This is a favorite read and should be a part of any reference library.
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