Latin America and the Caribbean
Martin Edwin Anderson, Peoples of the Earth: Ethnonationalism, Democracy, and the Indigenous Challenge in "Latin" America.Lexington Books, 2010. ISPN: 9780739143919. List Price: $70.00 (Cloth)
Scholars in the field of comparative ethnic nationalism have long been frustrated by the nearly total absence of information concerning the indigenous peoples of Latin America. They have been treated as outside of the sociopolitical realm, slighted by their governments and intellectuals, as well as by writers from outside Latin America. Political mobilization in recent decades among the indigenes of the Andean Cordillera from Mexico to Bolivia has belatedly forced their governments and the outside world to acknowledge them as a consequential force, but insightful, comparative analysis of these movements and their likely outcomes is needed. Martin Edwin Andersen's manuscript is a giant step in meeting that need.Walker Connor, author of Ethnonationalism: The Quest for Understanding
Peoples of the Earth employs a comparative history of ethno-nationalism to examine Indian activism and its challenges to the political, social and economic status quo in the countries of Central and South America. It explores the intersect between problems of democratic empowerment and security-including the appearance of radical Islam among Indians in two important countries-arising from the re-emergence of dormant forms of ethnic militancy and unprecedented internal challenges to nation-states. The institutions and practices of Indian self-government in the United States and Canada are examined as a means of comparison with contemporary phenomena in Central and South America, suggesting frameworks for the successful democratic incorporation of the region's most disenfranchised peoples. European models emerging from "intermestic" dilemmas are considered, as are those involving the Inuit people (or Eskimos) in the Canadian far north, as policymakers there "think outs ide the box" in ways that include more robust roles for both sub-national and international bodies. Finally, the work challenges policymakers to broaden the debate about how to approach the issues of political and economic empowerment and regional security concerning Native peoples, to include consideration of new ways of protecting both land rights and the environment, thus avoiding a zero-sum solution between the region's 40 million Indians and the rest of its peoples.
Peoples of the Earth has the potential to become a pioneer study addressing ethnic activism, characterized by multiple, small groups pressing for state recognition and democratic participation, while also promoting a defence of the environment and natural resources. Part of its attractiveness is the likelihood that the work will lead to further investigations and will become an authoritative point of departure for the fertile area of ethnonationalism studies in Latin America. Each country cha pter provides a succinct but substantial presentation of the basic issues and challenges facing the Native peoples of the country. Overall, the book has an excellent mix of historical and contemporary analysis.
Harvey R. Neptune, Caliban and the Yankees: Trinidad and the United States Occupation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780807830802. List Price: $59.95 (Cloth). ISBN: 9780807857885. List Price: $21.95
In a compelling story of the installation and operation of U.S. bases in the Caribbean colony of Trinidad during World War II, Harvey Neptune examines how the people of this British island contended with the colossal force of American empire-building at a critical time in the island's history.
The U.S. military occupation between 1941 and 1947 came at the same time that Trinidadian nationalist politics sought to project an image of a distinct, independent, and particularly un-British cultural landscape.
The American intervention, Neptune shows, contributed to a tempestuous scene as Trinidadians deliberately engaged Yankee personnel, paychecks, and practices flooding the island. He explores the military-based economy, relationships between U.S. servicemen and Trinidadian women, and the influence of American culture on local music (especially calypso), fashion, labor practices, and everyday racial politics.
Tracing the debates about change among ordinary and privileged Trinidadians, he argues that it was the poor, the women, and the youth who found the most utility in and moved most avidly to make something new out of the American presence.
Neptune also places this history of Trinidad's modern times into a wider Caribbean and Latin American perspective, highlighting how Caribbean peoples sometimes wield "America" and "American ways" as part of their localized struggles.
Francisco José Moreno, Before Fidel: The Cuba I Remember. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780292714243. List Price: $45.00 (Hardcover). ISBN: 9780292714762. List Price: $19.95 (Paper)
Before Fidel Castro seized power, Cuba was an ebullient and chaotic society in a permanent state of turmoil, combining a raucous tropical nature with the evils of arbitrary and corrupt government. Yet this fascinating period in Cuban history has been largely forgotten or misrepresented, even though it set the stage for Castro's dramatic takeover in 1959. To reclaim the Cuba that he knew—and add color and detail to the historical record—distinguished political scientist Francisco José Moreno here offers his recollections of the Cuba in which he came of age personally and politically.
Moreno takes us into the little-known world of privileged, upper-middle-class, white Cubans of the 1930s through the 1950s. His vivid depictions of life in the family and on the streets capture the distinctive rhythms of Cuban society and the dynamics between parents and children, men and women, and people of different races and classes. The heart of the book describes Moreno's political awakening, which culminated during his student years at the University of Havana. Moreno gives a detailed, insider's account of the anti-Batista movement, including the Ortodoxos and the Triple A. He recaptures the idealism and naiveté of the movement, as well as its ultimate ineffectiveness as it fell before the juggernaut of the Castro Revolution. His own disillusionment and wrenching decision to leave Cuba rather than accept a commission in Castro's army poignantly closes the book.
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