Open Veins of Latin America

Open Veins of Latin America

Five Centuries of the Pillage of A Continent

Book - 1997
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Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx.

Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe.

Weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry, Galeano fuses scientific analysis with the passions of a plundered and suffering people. An immense gathering of materials is framed with a vigorous style that never falters in its command of themes. All readers interested in great historical, economic, political, and social writing will find a singular analytical achievement, and an overwhelming narrative that makes history speak, unforgettably.

This classic is now further honored by Isabel Allende's inspiring introduction. Universally recognized as one of the most important writers of our time, Allende once again contributes her talents to literature, to political principles, and to enlightenment.

Publisher: New York : Monthly Review Press, c1997
Edition: 25th anniversary ed.
ISBN: 9780853459910
Characteristics: xiii, 317 p. ; 23 cm


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Jun 21, 2018

It's rare to read a book that truly changes or expands your thinking. Uruguayan writer, journalist, and novelist Eduardo Galeano's short, but devastating, book should be required reading for all Americans, and I feel a little cheated that this book was never discussed in my education. Galeano's politics might by off putting to some (This is a book that comes with a blurb from Hugo Chavez.), which is probably why it's not more widely read and known. He comes from a leftist, anti-capitalist (Although I'm not sure he'd identify as a Marxist), and very critical perspective. It's provocative and uncomfortable for a Western reader, as it should be. His premise is that from Latin America's first contact with Europeans in 1492, the continent's people and resources have been mercilessly, ruthlessly exploited and while America is a more recent player, we are deeply culpable. Americans hate to feel bad about themselves, so it's unlikely this will be Oprah's book club pick any time soon, but every American who cares about foreign policy and about America's image in the world should read this.

Jul 08, 2014

A classic, taught in universities. A brilliant analysis of the exploitation of Latin America over five centuries. President Chavez gave a copy of the book to President Obama at their first meeting. While Galeano has commented on the quality of his analysis of political economy, he has never disavowed what he wrote.

May 25, 2014

“ ‘Open Veins’ tried to be a book of political economy, but I didn’t yet have the necessary training or preparation,” Mr. Galeano said last month while answering questions at a book fair in Brazil, where he was being honored on the 43rd anniversary of the book’s publication. He added: “I wouldn’t be capable of reading this book again; I’d keel over. For me, this prose of the traditional left is extremely leaden, and my physique can’t tolerate it.”


Dec 28, 2013

Loved the book but hated what was contained within. We, the so-called civilized world has done, continues to do and will continue to do so many of the terrible things told about in this twisted tale of colonialism by Western European countries in the past and the first world countries of the present. We, here in Canada, get the cheap prices, cheap materials and we also get the MAJORITY of any profits made. HOW? By destroying both the people and the environment of the countries we exploit until they have no more profits to make for us.......


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