The Colombia Reader. History, Culture, Politics

1) The Colombia Reader: History, Culture, Politics – Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, Marco Palacios, Ana María Gómez López
Duke University Press | 2017 | PDF

Containing over one hundred selections—most of them published in English for the first time—The Colombia Reader presents a rich and multilayered account of this complex nation from the colonial era to the present. The collection includes journalistic reports, songs, artwork, poetry, oral histories, government documents, and scholarship to illustrate the changing ways Colombians from all walks of life have made and understood their own history. Comprehensive in scope, it covers regional differences; religion, art, and culture; the urban/rural divide; patterns of racial, economic, and gender inequalities; the history of violence; and the transnational flows that have shaped the nation. The Colombia Reader expands readers’ knowledge of Colombia beyond its reputation for violence, contrasting experiences of conflict with the stability and significance of cultural, intellectual, and economic life in this plural nation.

2) The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics – Sinclair Thomson, Rossana Barragán, Xavier Albó, Seemin Qayum
Duke University Press | 2018 | PDF

The Bolivia Reader provides a panoramic view, from antiquity to the present, of the history, culture, and politics of a country known for its ethnic and regional diversity, its rich natural resources and dilemmas of economic development, and its political conflict and creativity. Featuring both classic and little-known texts ranging from fiction, memoir, and poetry to government documents, journalism, and political speeches, the volume challenges stereotypes of Bolivia as a backward nation while offering insights into the country’s history of mineral extraction, revolution, labor organizing, indigenous peoples’ movements, and much more. Whether documenting Inka rule or Spanish conquest, three centuries at the center of Spanish empire, or the turbulent politics and cultural vibrancy of the national period, these sources—the majority of which appear in English for the first time—foreground the voices of actors from many different walks of life. Unprecedented in scope, The Bolivia Reader illustrates the historical depth and contemporary challenges of Bolivia in all their complexity.

3) The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politiсs – Orin Starn, Ivan Degregori
Duke University Press | 2005 | PDF

Sixteenth-century Spanish soldiers described Peru as a land filled with gold and silver, a place of untold wealth. Nineteenth-century travelers wrote of soaring Andean peaks plunging into luxuriant Amazonian canyons of orchids, pythons, and jaguars. The early-twentieth-century American adventurer Hiram Bingham told of the raging rivers and the wild jungles he traversed on his way to rediscovering the “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu. Seventy years later, news crews from ABC and CBS traveled to Peru to report on merciless terrorists, starving peasants, and Colombian drug runners in the “white gold” rush of the coca trade. As often as not, Peru has been portrayed in broad extremes: as the land of the richest treasures, the bloodiest conquest, the most poignant ballads, and the most violent revolutionaries. This revised and updated second edition of the bestselling Peru Reader offers a deeper understanding of the complex country that lies behind these claims.

Unparalleled in scope, the volume covers Peru’s history from its extraordinary pre-Columbian civilizations to its citizens’ twenty-first-century struggles to achieve dignity and justice in a multicultural nation where Andean, African, Amazonian, Asian, and European traditions meet. The collection presents a vast array of essays, folklore, historical documents, poetry, songs, short stories, autobiographical accounts, and photographs. Works by contemporary Peruvian intellectuals and politicians appear alongside accounts of those whose voices are less often heard—peasants, street vendors, maids, Amazonian Indians, and African-Peruvians. Including some of the most insightful pieces of Western journalism and scholarship about Peru, the selections provide the traveler and specialist alike with a thorough introduction to the country’s astonishing past and challenging present.

4) The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics – Gilbert M. Joseph, Timothy J. Henderson
Duke University Press | 2003 | PDF

The Mexico Reader is a vivid introduction to muchos Méxicos—the many Mexicos, or the many varied histories and cultures that comprise contemporary Mexico. Unparalleled in scope and written for the traveler, student, and expert alike, the collection offers a comprehensive guide to the history and culture of Mexico—including its difficult, uneven modernization; the ways the country has been profoundly shaped not only by Mexicans but also by those outside its borders; and the extraordinary economic, political, and ideological power of the Roman Catholic Church. The book looks at what underlies the chronic instability, violence, and economic turmoil that have characterized periods of Mexico’s history while it also celebrates the country’s rich cultural heritage.

A diverse collection of more than eighty selections, The Mexico Reader brings together poetry, folklore, fiction, polemics, photoessays, songs, political cartoons, memoirs, satire, and scholarly writing. Many pieces are by Mexicans, and a substantial number appear for the first time in English. Works by Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes are included along with pieces about such well-known figures as the larger-than-life revolutionary leaders Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata; there is also a comminiqué from a more recent rebel, Subcomandante Marcos. At the same time, the book highlights the perspectives of many others—indigenous peoples, women, politicians, patriots, artists, soldiers, rebels, priests, workers, peasants, foreign diplomats, and travelers.

The Mexico Reader explores what it means to be Mexican, tracing the history of Mexico from pre-Columbian times through the country’s epic revolution (1910–17) to the present day. The materials relating to the latter half of the twentieth century focus on the contradictions and costs of postrevolutionary modernization, the rise of civil society, and the dynamic cross-cultural zone marked by the two thousand-mile Mexico-U.S. border. The editors have divided the book into several sections organized roughly in chronological order and have provided brief historical contexts for each section. They have also furnished a lengthy list of resources about Mexico, including websites and suggestions for further reading.

5) The Dominican Republic Reader: History, Culture, Politics – Eric Paul Roorda, Lauren H. Derby
Duke University Press | 2003 | PDF

Despite its significance in the history of Spanish colonialism, the Dominican Republic is familiar to most outsiders through only a few elements of its past and culture. Non-Dominicans may be aware that the country shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti and that it is where Christopher Columbus chose to build a colony. Some may know that the country produces talented baseball players and musicians; others that it is a prime destination for beach vacations. Little else about the Dominican Republic is common knowledge outside its borders. This Reader seeks to change that. It provides an introduction to the history, politics, and culture of the country, from precolonial times into the early twenty-first century. Among the volume’s 118 selections are essays, speeches, journalism, songs, poems, legal documents, testimonials, and short stories, as well as several interviews conducted especially for this Reader. Many of the selections have been translated into English for the first time. All of them are preceded by brief introductions written by the editors. The volume’s eighty-five illustrations, ten of which appear in color, include maps, paintings, and photos of architecture, statues, famous figures, and Dominicans going about their everyday lives.