Hutchison, Elizabeth Quay, Thomas Miller Klubock, Nara B. Milanich, and Peter Winn, eds. The Chile Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.
Lambert, Peter and Andrew Nickson, eds. The Paraguay Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013.
The Chile Reader: History, Culture, Politics and The Paraguay Reader: History, Culture, Politics present basic beginnings: European colonization, destruction of indigenous cultures, forced labor, indigenous uprisings, and repression. Such were common beginnings throughout the Americas as a result of European conquest and colonization. Yet what occurs after the period of colonization, the unfolding of capitalist intervention, nation building, ethnic and racial identity building, and the search for democracy evolved in each country differently. Both volumes provide the reader with materials to build an understanding of each country. In addition to primary sources, some published in English for the first time, the readers include black and white photos as well as a few color plates.
Divided into eight sections, The Chile Reader provides a comprehensive portrayal of a people and a nation. Part of this picture is the perspective of Chile as an exceptional country, a model of progress and development among Latin American countries, a nation with strong ties to Western civilization. This exceptionalism is explored within the text. Is Chile truly exceptional within the context of western success? The volume is organized around a number of tensions. Examples such as economic modernization versus social and economic inequality, authoritarian rule versus democratic forms of government, and Europeanization of Chilean society versus the inclusion of indigenous and African descent populations permeate the book.
Especially revealing is the discussion of Chile's experiment with neo-liberalism that began in the 1940s and its impact on Chilean workers. Equally engaging is the discussion of Chilean new song [la nueva cancion] in Chile's socialist movement from the 1960s to 1973. Supporters and artists of la nueva cancion were a threat to Chilean elite and foreign interests. During the military repression that followed Salvador Allende's death in 1973, several supporters and artists of the genre were killed.
Read in chronological order or as stand-alone selections, this reader is an impressive national narrative. Thumbing through the thick tomes one finds topics that...