• Independence in Latin America: Contrasts and Comparisons

  • Joe R. And Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture
  • By: Richard Graham
  • Narrated by: Castle Vozz
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the course of 15 momentous years, the Spanish- and the Portuguese-American empires that had endured for three centuries came to an end in the mid-1820s. How did this come about? Not all Latin Americans desired such a change, and the independence wars were civil wars, often cruel and always violent. What social and economic groups lined up on one side or the other? Were there variations from place to place, region to region? Did men and women differ in their experiences of war? How did Indians and blacks participate, and how did they fare as a result? In the end, who won and who lost?

Independence in Latin America is about the reciprocal effect of war and social dislocation. It also demonstrates that the war itself led to national identity and so to the creation of new states. These governments generally acknowledged the novel principle of constitutionalism and popular sovereignty, even when sometimes carving out exceptions to such rules. The notion that society consisted of individuals and was not a body made up of castes, guilds, and other corporate orders had become commonplace by the ends of these wars. So international politics and military confrontations are only part of the intriguing story recounted here.

The book is published by University of Texas Press.

©2013 University of Texas Press (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

" Independence in Latin America is one of the most succinct, accurate, provocative, and comprehensive views on the historical 'big bang' that occurred in the Western world between 1776 and 1830.... It would be hard to find, in so few pages, so much information so easily digestible." (Mauricio Tenorio, professor of history, University of Chicago)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good coverage of independence. Dry.

The great books class American independence movements is more engaging, and adds US revolution to the mix.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Political activist tries to write a history......

This book is mostly vague vagueries about ideologies and policies and class struggles, and you can be sure there's always a rich white Christian man to blame. Oh yes, he even infers the Haitian French were responsible for their own genocide.

Besides that there's enormous gaps in the author's knowledge that infers he didn't even finish a wiki article about the countries he speaks of. Namely, he goes on about how the Hapsburgs emphasized loyalty to the patriarchy as if he doesn't realize the Hapsburgs were a widely dispersed clan ruling much of Europe and all the conflicting interest that implies (instead author infers a male dominated culture which didn't exist). Also, author either does not know or does not care that slavers didn't discriminate and many peoples were enslaved at various points besides Africans. But more importantly, author says Spanish rule was largely unchallenged before the waves of independence wars in the mid-19th century, inferring a total ignorance of Latin America before then.

Don't waste your credits on this.

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    3 out of 5 stars

A decent read. Was overly Eurocentric though.

The material itself was very interesting, although it is a very generalized perception of "Latin" America since it covers independence from most of the countries and compares their situations. I did enjoy that this book expands on how history and conflicts in Europe affected life in the Caribbean and "Latin" America because of the colonial system in place. The narrator really took away from this reading experience. It isn't that difficult to find a fluent Spanish-speaker that could read this book smoothly so it was disappointing to have a narrator that clearly struggled with many of the words. Hearing the narrator read particular terms like: cabildo abierto, las cortes, pardos was cringeworthy because he would pronounce it with an emphasis and overpronunciation as if it were some sort of "vocab word" in school. Another issue with this book was the use of the word "Indian", an outdated word used by Euro populations to refer to Indigenous people. It really took away some credibility from this book since the use of this word emphasizes how it was written in a very Western perspective. I personally think there are more accurate books out there that would have a more balanced perception of "Latin" America. Nonetheless, this book does mention interesting random facts about life back then in terms of social norms/structures and power dynamics.