Gibbings, Julie, and Heather Vrana, eds. Out of the Shadow: Revisiting the Revolution from Post-Peace Guatemala.

AuthorZentella, Yoly

Gibbings, Julie, and Heather Vrana, eds. Out of the Shadow: Revisiting the Revolution from Post-Peace Guatemala. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2020.

Out of the Shadow presents new analysis and thought on the Guatemalan Revolution through threads of time, place, and a variety of actors, deepening understanding and adding to the existing literature on the subject. The time focus of the volume's ten chapters is a period, overshadowed by the Cold War, referred to as Guatemala's "Ten Years of Spring" (1944-54), a time of democratic social reform under two presidents: Juan Jose Arevalo (1945-50) and Jacobo Arbenz (1950-54). In 1954 a CIA-supported military coup, prodded by the United Fruit Company, ended this ambitious vision. Edited by Julie Gibbings and Heather Vrana, Out of the Shadow draws its audience from academia, researchers, and students of contemporary Central American history, particularly Guatemala. It also appeals to progressives interested in a continued analysis of the Guatemalan Revolution.

Both editors have the research experience to bring together the diverse writings in this volume. In their own writings Gibbings and Vrana have delved into areas that appear outside traditional work on the Guatemalan Revolution. For example, Gibbings's Our Time Is Now: Race and Modernity in Postcolonial Guatemala (2020) examines the struggle between indigenous people and German immigrant settlers as they make sense of diverse ideas and approaches to coffee capitalism in Guatemala, populist dictatorship, and revolution. In a similar vein, Vrana's This City Belongs to You: A History of Student Activism in Guatemala, 1944-1996 (2017) explores the relationship between the university, students, and the development of liberal democracies in Latin America during years of violent political turmoil in Guatemala. There, the specific framework of place is Guatemala's public University of San Carlos.

In Out of the Shadow, research and thought on Guatemala's revolution is divided into four sections, along with a foreword by Jim Handy and an introduction by the editors outlining the concepts and events embedded in the sections. Handy sets the stage for the highly detailed discourse to come by discussing areas that are at the foundation of the book--the re-creation of memory, the approach to land within the revolution cycle, and the idea that the experience of revolution in Guatemala was not one event but many, reflecting specific times, spaces, contexts...

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