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Eakin, Marshall C.  The history of Latin America: collision of cultures.  Palgrave Macmillan, , 2007.  436p bibl index ISBN 1403980810 pbk, $19.95. Reviewed in 2008apr CHOICE.
This standard Latin American history textbook provides a synthetic overview of the region from the peopling of the hemisphere until the present. The first part discusses the converging of three groups of people (indigenous, Europeans, Africans) in the Americas. The second part examines the creation of Spanish and Portuguese empires and the independence movements that brought them to an end. The third part surveys main themes in the 19th century: liberals and conservatives, modernization, imperialism. The fourth and longest part analyzes the 20th century through the lens of democracy, development, and identity. Eakin (Vanderbilt Univ.) contrasts revolutionary paths to social change (Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua) with reformist governments (Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica), and argues that reform is the best path for Latin America. Critical readers may question Eakin's assessment, as the reformist paths led to some of Latin America's worst dictatorships and failed to produce social indicators any better than those in countries that had undergone revolutionary changes. Includes basic outline maps but no illustrations and few ancillary materials. Many details, but general readers will prefer John Chasteen's more engaging Born in Blood and Fire (CH, Jun'01, 38-5745). Summing Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate collections. -- M. Becker, Truman State University


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