Modern Latin America

ISBN: 019517013X
ISBN 13: 9780195170139
By: Thomas E. Skidmore Peter H. Smith

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About this book

Now in its sixth edition, Modern Latin America is a lively interpretive history and the leading text in the field. Thoroughly updated and revised, the book includes a new chapter on the history of Colombia from the wars of independence to the violent conflicts of the present day. It also examines such topics as: * the impact of 9/11 on U.S.-Latin American relations * globalization * drug trafficking * women's roles in society and politics * the fragility and uncertainty of democracy in Latin America The book features sociocultural sections and boxes in nearly every chapter, covering such diverse areas as the psychology of exile, Santeria in Cuba, baseball in the Dominican Republic, and the popularity of Latin music in the U.S. All political and economic information has been updated. As in earlier editions, the authors use an in-depth case study approach that guides readers through the major countries of Latin America, highlighting central themes including European-New World interaction, racial mixtures, military takeovers, and United States intervention in the area. With an insightful look into the future, Modern Latin America, Sixth Edition, will continue to be an exceptional text for undergraduate courses on contemporary Latin American history, society, and politics."

Reader's Thoughts


This book is clearly written and provides a decent introduction to South and Central America, and the Caribbean islands. However, it quickly becomes repetitive because each chapter is constructed almost identically, so that it is almost as if all of the chapters after Chapter 2 are simply fill-in-the-blank repeats of the earlier ones. For an introduction, I also think the authors worry about details (going through every leader and election, for instance), when they should be pointing out trends and patterns. I also think the last full chapter, discussing the interactions of Latin America and the rest of the world, would have been better placed near the beginning.The other issue I have with this book is that, in certain chapters, the ideology of the authors interferes with their ability to narrate history. I have no objection to a detailed discussion of the negative affects of U.S. interventionism over the last century - any discussion of Latin America has to give a great deal of space to the way successive U.S. administrations have interfered, often in very destructive ways, in Latin America. However, the authors seem to think that U.S. interference accounts for virtually every problem faced by these nations, and therefore don't give enough time to discussing internal difficulties. This is blazingly apparent in the chapter on Cuba, where there is virtually no discussion of the repressive nature of Castro's government. As a result, I felt I didn't get much of an understanding of the internal problems that helped create the catastrophic situations in many Latin American countries, or how they might be solved.


Great survey of Latin America history. Really enjoyed learning more about the United States' interaction with the Latin American world. Fascinating and frightening implications and results.


Heavy, although it seems some more unpleasant things were glossed over. Bah.

Edward Smith

This is a good textbook for Latin American studies. It provides a broad overview of Latin American history and society, albeit in an unorthodox fashion. Rather than dividing each nation by chronological order, it uses several nations and their history as models for the region.


I figured it was in my best interest to get a good comprehensive birds-eye view of this part of the world. This was a great book and thoroughly covered the economic, political, and social histories of latin american countries. Through no fault of the writers, at time I felt like I was reading the same old story over and over again since so many latin american countries have shared 1) single export economies 2) struggles for power and land between rich landowners and landless peasants 3) fluctuating attitudes between wanting foreign investment and rejecting it 4) fluctuating attitudes toward the US 5) strong military regimes that intervene to overthrow presidents at will 6) struggles between marxist-left and neo-conservative economics and 7) the constant issue of land reform. Wow, what a history.


For any novice headed to or just interested in Latin America, this is the perfect prelude to understanding the region. Given the complexities of the various countries that make up Latin America - its history, economics, politics, culture - it's impossible to write about everything in one book, but the authors do an excellent job highlighting key points and messages, and do not always take a pro-U.S. view. The information is easily digestable and not just a listing of facts and figures; it provides insight that will trigger your interest in this fascinating region.


Skidmore is a great story teller and historian and clearly knows his subject. Well presented, engaging and well written. A great read for anyone trying to unwind the current political complexities in Latin America. I'd love an update to bring it fully up to current events!

Jayden gonzalez


Tom Oman

I highly recommend this book. It may be a textbook but it is written in a very accessible and concise style that makes it a very easy read. It flows well and stays interesting, with every section being relevant and compelling. Thankfully this book is free of the long and dull writing that some textbooks can be notoriously known for. If you want a quick and concise survey of the different Latin American countries and how they relate to each other as well as the world as a whole, then this book will provide that kind of overview.


if you want to Latin America You have to read this book

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