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Publisher's Summary

Latin America has often been condemned to failure. Neither poor enough to evoke Africa’s moral crusade nor as explosively booming as India and China, it has largely been overlooked by the West. Yet this vast continent, home to half a billion people, the world’s largest reserves of arable land, and 8.5 percent of global oil, is busily transforming its political and economic landscape.

This book argues that rather than failing the test, Latin America’s efforts to build fairer and more prosperous societies make it one of the world’s most vigorous laboratories for capitalist democracy. In many countries—including Brazil, Chile, and Mexico—democratic leaders are laying the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, as well as tackling deep-rooted problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. They face a new challenge from Hugo Chávez’s oil-fuelled populism, and much is at stake. Failure will increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the United States and Europe, jeopardize stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world’s most majestic natural environments.

Drawing on Michael Reid’s many years of reporting from inside Latin America’s cities, presidential palaces, and shantytowns, this book provides a vivid, immediate, and informed account of a dynamic continent and its struggle to compete in a globalized world.

©2007 Michael Reid (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“[A] comprehensive and erudite assessment of the region…While the social and economic face of Latin America is becoming more attractive, political life remains ugly and, in some countries, is getting even uglier.” (Washington Post)

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Very in depth political, economic, and historical analysis of the region as a whole.

Very in depth political, economic, and historical analysis of the region as a whole. If anything the contents of this book are too heavy to digest just by listening to the audiobook. I had to listen some chapters twice in order to understand all the facts being discussed.
The book was written sometime in the mid 2000s. Many things have changed since then. Chavez was still alive when the book was finished.
I think the author is a little bit on the conservative side and more pro-business but always staying objective and provided the big picture on all sides of the story. This isn't a surprise since he worked as a writer for the Economist.
I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about my own country and region.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States
  • 02-11-12

Good Reporting / Disorganized Content

As a reporter for the Economist - (I'm a subscriber) Michael Reid presents good info on Latin America with a slant on economics. I have no problem with his view point that Hugo Chavez is a corrupt populist in the tradition of preceding generations of flawed head's of state.

The problem with the book is disorganization. He skips around from country to country when discussing various topics, with the end result of the listener having a problem retaining the info. The topics are often blurred in a hodge podge of issues. Had the book been organized by country it would have been easier to follow.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful