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Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent [Paperback]

Eduardo Galeano , Isabel Allende , Cedric Belfrage
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1997
This work is a survey of a continent's under-development and the role of the foreign capital and national politics in that process. Rejecting straightforward chronology, the author traces Latin America's exploitation and impoverishment through the history of its principal commodities. Over five centuries, Eduardo Galeano explores the minerals and crops which have made a region poor, while building the fortunes of US and European transnationals. From the gold and silver sought by the Spanish conquistadores to the oil and copper extracted by present-day foreign competitors, Galeano presents a picture of economic injustice. Blending historical fact with poetic imagery, this book is both an critique of transnational exploitation and a tribute to a plundered and suffering people.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent + Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone + Genesis: Memory of Fire, Volume 1
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This book is a monument in our Latin American history. It allows us to learn history, and we have to build on this history -- Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Galeano's vision is unswerving, surgical and yet immensely generous and humane ... Eduardo Galeano ought to be a household name -- Arundhati Roy He has more first-hand knowledge of Latin America than anybody else I can think of, and uses it to tell the world of the dreams and disillusions, the hopes and failures of its people... Galeano denounces exploitation with uncompromising ferocity, yet this book is almost poetic in its description of solidarity and human capacity for survival in the midst of the worst kind of despoilation -- Isabel Allende Remains pertinent nearly 40 years on... Impassioned and lucid, Galeano is a knowledgeable guide through a shameful history of foreign exploitation... If he needs a primer on his southern neighbours, Obama could do worse than studying Chavez's present -- Phil Mongredien Observer A valuable study Sunday Business Post --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Eduardo Hughes Galeano (born September 3, 1940) is an Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist. His books have been translated into many languages. He says: "I'm a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.' He is the author of Days and Nights of Love and War (winner of the 1978 Casa de las Americas Prize), The Book of Embraces, and the highly acclaimed Memory of Fire trilogy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn More, Read this Book! Sept. 16 2002
This is a great book for those who want to look at things from a fresh perspective. It is not meant for those who believe capitalism and imperialism are the best options out there. Eduardo Galeano did an excellent job at investigating as well as setting forward a view of Latin America that very few North Americans ever get to know. One warning though: it is not for those faint of heart, this book is explicit and very painful to read; but that is only because the history of Latin America has been very sad and painful. An excellent read, you'll think about this book forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From what I can see, the negative customer reviews on this book all point to the idea that Galeano is somehow attempting to blame the United States or Europe for all of the current problems in Latin America. Galeano never makes that claim. Anyone knows that Latin America has social and cultural problems that have become institutionalized, and at this point in most matters they have only themselves to blame. But societies are complex and there are multiple factors that determine them ("working hard" doesn't fix everything), one of those factors is history. It's blind, biased ignorance to attempt to deny the impact of history on the formation of social and power relations. Galeano's book is an attempt to tell that history, not so we can wallow in self-pity, but so we can chart a path forward. Read the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open Veins of Latin America Nov. 28 2009
Every now and then, whether the perpetrators want it or not, the truth is showing through the cracks of the hidden history. Wonderful writing. J.L.Viens
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic masterpiece Oct. 9 2003
Eduardo Galeano's classic work serves as a testament to the world. His words resonate with all of us who have seen and felt the pillaging of Latin America first hand. The book writen in "90 nights," when Galeano was 31 years old meticulously illustrates how Europe and North America have raped, and exploited Latin America in their continued crusade for wealth. Galeano displays how the genocide of the Indigenous Americans and the enslavement of Africans created 'the foundation stone upon which the giant industrial capital of modern times was built'. Read this book and tell me that isn't true.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Too easy April 24 2014
I bought this book because I wanted to travel through Latin America and everyone recommended it. In Bolivia they read it at school.
The thing is I am a "lefty" myself but blaming EVERYTHING on europe and the US is not the way. Certainly they are to blame, certainly the colonisation killed lots of natives, desrupted their whole system and left traces until present day.
No one is denying that. Then again the author just tries to manipulate his readers, I am from Germany so I know what I am talking about. He compares things that are not to compare and are just easy populistic ways to win arguments against people who haven't done their research.

Here's an example for his easy manipulative reasoning:

He says that poverty has nothing to do with how many children a country has, meaning that a family with 10 children doesn't have to be poorer than one with 2. He states that the Western countries just want Latin America to have a small population and deny them their right of having children. He further compares Bolivia to the Netherlands and argues that the Netherlands are smaller by size but have a higher population than Bolivia, albeit the density is higher. Thus he reasons that Bolivia and the rest of the countries haven't got enough people. But listen: Have you been to Bolivia? I have. You can't possibly live in half of the country, the Salar de Uyuni is far too high and it's a miracle that few people live there anyway (something abouth 4000 m), and then they've got mountains and jungle. Holland has a problem with too much water but apart from that you can live everywhere.
Australia is as big as Europe but has half the population of Germany. . . There is something called sorrounding.
And thus it continues.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Galeano definitly knows to show us the dramitacal consecuences from the Conquer of America by the European nations, and how the impositions of the culture, religion and economic models had their origins here explained. A call for us to know the past in order to look for a better future for America Latina.
The way this investigation is narrated to us is incredible and very enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, must read for us latinos Oct. 16 1999
By A Customer
I really recommend this book; it opened my eyes to many aspects of Latin American History. Sure, it's not very pretty, but reality usually isn't. I think it's essential for every latino who wants to try to understand our past, present & future to read this book. I read it first in Spanish, just recently a bit of it in English; it reaffirmed my belief that it is best to read authors in their native language (when you can), or as the case may be, in the language the text was originally written. Mr. Belfrage did a good job, but some insights and terms were lost in his translation. Also, I read other customer reviews and it's interesting to note that the only two "bad" comments came from the united states, a place with a very warped view of Latin America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
"Open Veins", spares noone and can be found insulting to anyone who lives in a society that is working perfectly for them. Someone who sees this world as a perfect place and has read all the history books circulating in the school system would have a hard time grasping Galeano's ideas. But someone searching for truth even if it hurts will benefit imensly from reading this book. All ideas are backed by statistical facts organized so neatly that what would usually be boring material, comes alive to the reader. Even if one doesn't agree on everything and there is a wealth of information in this book, one walks away with a whole new perspective on how things are and came to be not just in Latin America, but in the whole world. Someone famous once said fact is a set of ideas agreed upon. I think Galeano's ideas can be validated just as much as anyone elses who disagees with him. He uses his statistics very well to validate them. Read it even if only you want a different perspective on history. If you are one of the "losers" it leaves you with renewed hope and if you are one of the "winners" you may apreciate more how fortunate you are. Because as Galeano clearly points out power is constantly changing hands and will continue to do so throughout history.
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