Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe.
Weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry, Galeano fuses scientific analysis with the passions of a plundered and suffering people. An immense gathering of materials is framed with a vigorous style that never falters in its command of themes. All readers interested in great historical, economic, political, and social writing will find a singular analytical achievement, and an overwhelming narrative that makes history speak, unforgettably.
This classic is now further honored by Isabel Allende's inspiring introduction. Universally recognized as one of the most important writers of our time, Allende once again contributes her talents to literature, to political principles, and to enlightenment.
©1997 Eduardo Galeano; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Well written and passionately stated, this is an intellectually honest and valuable study." (Library Journal)
"A dazzling barrage of words and ideas." (History)
If you are interested in economics, sociology, history or writing, then this book is for you.
Open Veins of Latin America was recommended to me by my Argentinan flatmates after a dinner during which we discussed the history of Latin America. I must admit that I had very little knowledge about the history of this continent. I knew a bit about Cortez, Columbus, the Inca, Maya and Aztecs.
This book taught me a lot.
Galeano covers the socio-econmic and political history of the continent from 15-20th century. He focuses on five points that lead to the modern day Latin America.
It's a very easy and an interesting read - and you'll learn more than you'd. Highly recommended.
The narrator was very good.
Well narrated and a very worthwhile book for anyone interested in South American culture and why the "illegal immigration issues" is just a smokescreen to hide a deeper issue, which is the politics of the U.S. and South American countries.
"Please up-date the addition"
This is just an amazingly good book on the growth and development of Latin America. Although the date of this edition is 1971, it still is relevant to our time (2010) because the history is still accurate. In spite of its dated edition and perhaps even because of it, it has a particular poignancy as the author describes with pride and hope the 1972 Chilean election of S. Allende. In 1973 Dr. Allende was assassinated by agents of the CIA who installed A. Pinochet as puppet president. Pinochet was much later tried and convicted in international courts of the the murder of Allende and mass murders and torture of many Chileans citizens.
At any rate, I believe the book is still immensely worthwhile to read. I wish Audible would be much clearer in its representation of this as an older edition of the book in its catalogue and, better yet, change to a new edition.
In addition, the reader, Jonathan Davis, does a wonderful job of bringing this lengthy history alive.
Cudos to Audible for making this available in any form.
"excellent broad spectrum of history"
a lucid and free flowing account of latin american history that is a pleasure to listen to and provides a springboard for more detailed analysis. always helps when narrator has a pleasant voice...nice work.....I intend to buy the book
Galeano wants his continent back, and listening to his arguments, who can blame him. This book illustrates some of the deceptive exploitation of the first world towards latin America. The only pity is that the book is dated, I would love to get an update. Get this book, it will certainly make you think!
"Crucial Read/Listen for Readers of History"
This book is fabulous and Galeano does an incredible job of weaving in the histories of such varied but intertwined states, regions, cultures and sectors throughout Latin America. The narrator was clear and emphatic. When you can give the audio your full attention, the narrative is easy to follow. However, the narrator does speak quickly (relative to other audiobooks from audible.com that I have purchased and listened to), which for some unfamiliar with the subject matter can make the content difficult to follow. So make sure you can hear and pause it when you have to talk to somebody on the bus you're riding to work =)
"Dated, but still a solid historical perspective"
Because the book was originally written in the 1970s, there are enormous volumes of modern economic influences in Latin America that are not included here (e.g. the rise of the drug trade, AIDS, decimation of the American industrial/manufacturing economy, the economic rise of China, the end of the Cold War, NAFTA, US pre-occupation in the Middle East, etc.), which is unfortunate, since the material that is here is so compelling, it almost begs for a follow-up that covers the past 40 years of global economic chaos. This is a great overview of significant historical influences that is a highly worthwhile read.
"Can't change the past learned the lessons"
I like the English translation, but I looked for the the Spanish version first. This book definitely awaked so many feelings...because I identify with its content. I wander if Barak Obama has read it. I hope he has. Because there is a lesson, and the lessons is what is not good for the majorities is not good for the minorities. There is a limit to abuse the word resources and the prize sooner or latest has to be paid.
"Excellent history from Columbus to Allende."
Galeano was a journalist and a citizen of Uruguay when he published this history of the exploitation of Latin America. Almost immediately after publication there was a coup in his country and the book was banned, as it was in several other Latin American nations. That in itself reflects what Galeano was trying to communicate in what has come to be regarded as one of the most influential books on history and politics in the last century.
The author, later in life, distanced himself a bit from the book. By a bit I infer that he looked at the book and simply felt that it could have been better. His exact statement was: "I wouldn’t be capable of reading this book again; I’d keel over. For me, this prose of the traditional left is extremely leaden, and my physique can’t tolerate it.” To me, these are the words of an artist who has grown past the work he created. I've always felt that any artist who can look back at a creation after a decade without cringing a little has stopped growing. Rather than a rejection of the contents of the book Galeano seemed to regret having tied himself to the language of the left. This may be more evident in Spanish editions, as this English edition bears only minor signs of "leftist dialectic" that makes many books on radical politics nearly unreadable.
As a work of history this is a very readable book, taking Latin America from the first landing of Columbus through the assassination of Salvador Allende in Chile. In between are a hundred horror stories of exploitation, slavery, internal failures, and foreign meddling enough to make one's skin crawl in shame and sympathy.
This is not to say that life was a natural idyl in the south anymore than it was in the north. Charles C. Mann brings a lot of evidence of this forward in his excellent 1491. The Incas and Mayans were themselves colonizers and exploiters of the tribes around them. Life was excellent for the elite and miserable for all others. But it was their misery. The wave of invasions from the Iberian Peninsula weakened native culture completely and set a pattern for economic rulership that exists today in many Latin American nations and percolates under the surface in the rest.
The culpability lies with the entire European west with some left over for Muslim slavers who were working their own exploitation game in Africa, captives that Europeans would ship to Hispaniola, Cuba, and other location because Africans could survive the hellish conditions of sugar agriculture. Agriculture under a latifundia system expanded. Native Americans were enslaved for the operations while European stock thrived and prospered.
There's room for what would be an interesting alternate history: What would have happened if Columbus had given in to the near mutiny and turned back before reaching the new world? Kim Stanley Robinson touches on this a bit in Years of Rice and Salt, but in his book the exploitations come from the east, with a China still determined to expand and explore. Europe certainly would have looked different, but one wonders how Latin America might have looked with the Latin lopped off of it.
That aside, what the Europeans left are a handful of small nations perfectly capable of destroying the lives of their own populations with and without the assistance of foreign powers, manifest destiny, and corrupt churches. This book details how that came about and spares nothing for the post-colonial monsters operating after Bolivar. It's a must read for any political or historical home library, and could easily sit next to Narconomics for a sequel.
I absolutely loved this book. It's a heavy read, MUST NOT be recommended to the fainthearted. As a South African, I could completely identify with the injustices meted on the peoples of Latin America, the same thing has and continues to happen to Africa and her peoples. I just want to know when we, people of the Global South, will ever win.
"Depressingly true !
Buttresses what is written elsewhere. It might have its bias but most of what it claims is true.
"The shocking truth"
This is a 'heavy' read and at times I could hardly face the terrible things it describes. The reader also has to concentrate - it is not easy to absorb. However the important truths described are worth the effort. Despite 12 years of association with Latin America I dont think I understood the continent until I read this book - now regarded as a 'must read' by many.
"A must read"
Amazingly written, this book presents a wealth of information, it awakens as much as saddens, but ultimately carries a massively important message about the past and the present. Only by knowing the past we can reconsider our present and alter our future.
"Great historical perspective."
I bought the book understanding that times and opinions have changed and that facts and figures would be dates (first published 1973). Still, as someone living in Latin America (Mexico) it was very interesting to hear the early 70s discourse with respect to Cuba, Communism, the pillage of the Americas and the imperial America. Reading it in the last weeks of Hugo Chavez's life was especially interesting: 2013 so often sounds like 1973! Recommended!!!!
(Perhaps the only caveat is that the reader must recognize that the facts and figures quoted are obviously dated).
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