Adopted at over 450 colleges and universities in its First Edition, Born in Blood and Fire has quickly become the standard survey history of Latin America.
In a history that is concise yet satisfying, Chasteen, a historian at UNC-Chapel Hill, looks at critical Latin American events ranging from the original encounter of Europeans with the indigenous peoples of Latin America to the present day destruction of the Amazonian rain forest. He offers portraits of such well-known figures as Sim n Bol var, Jos de San Mart n and August n Iturbide, as well as lesser-known ones such as Canek, a Yucatec Maya who led a short but important revolt against Spanish rule in Mexico in 1761. Chasteen focuses on major political, social and economic topics and trends that helped shape Latin America, including liberalism, the caste system, the mixing of races, nationalism and the Western notion of "Progress"; he also examines the role that Europe and the United States played in the development of these phenomena. Also refreshing is Chasteen's examination of the periods he covers from the perspective of women; he refers to many who played a central role, such as the celebrated Sister Juana In s de la Cruz and Juana Azurduy, as well as less popular Gertrudis Bocanegra, a Mexican woman who was executed for carrying messages to the Patriots. From the glorious and bloody battles for independence, through the trying periods of post- and neocolonialism, the finding of "national" identity and the more recent anti-Communist dictatorships from the 1960s to the 1980, to hope for a future of true democracy, this is a comprehensive and illuminating history. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.