Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul by Michael Reid

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Latin America has often been condemned to failure. Neither poor enough to evoke Africa’s moral crusade, nor as explosively booming as India and China, it has largely been overlooked by the West. Yet this vast continent, home to half a billion people, the world’s largest reserves of arable land, and 8.5 percent of global oil, is busily transforming its political and economic landscape. This book argues that rather than failing the test, Latin America’s efforts to build fairer and more prosperous societies make it one of the world’s most vigorous laboratories for capitalist democracy. In many countries, including Brazil, Chile and Mexico, democratic leaders are laying the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, as well as tackling deep-rooted problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. They face a new challenge from Hugo Chavez’s oil-fueled populism, and much is at stake. Failure will increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the United States and Europe, jeopardize stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world’s most majestic natural environments. Drawing on Michael Reid’s many years of reporting from inside Latin America’s cities, presidential palaces, and shantytowns, the book provides a vivid, immediate, and informed account of a dynamic continent and its struggle to compete in a globalized world.

Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul

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In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

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Beautifully written and full of wonderful descriptions and intriguing tales, In Patagonia is an account of Bruce Chatwin’s travels to a remote country in search of a strange beast and his encounters with the people whose fascinating stories delay him on the road.

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Long After Midnight At The Nino Bien: A Yanqui’s Missteps In Argentina by Brian Winter

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After moving to Argentina on a whim, Brian Winter, a young American reporter, embarks on a crusade to learn that devilishly difficult dance that demands both discipline and passion: the tango. While he dances the night away in the milongas with the fiery denizens of Buenos Aires, the country around them collapses, gripped by inflation, street riots, and revolution. In a book that is part travelogue and part history, the author evokes his immersion in a dark underworld. He visits old dance salons, brothels, and shacks on the dusty Pampa, searching for the tangos shady origins in the hope that understanding may help him dance better. Along the way, he discovers that the tango, with its tales of jealousy, melodrama, and lost glory, may hold the secret to the country that is inexplicably disintegrating before his eyes.

Alive: The True Story Of The Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read

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In 1972, a Fairchild plane crashed in the Andes mountains. The survivors were hopelessly lost in one of the most remote places on earth.
After eight days of heavy snowfall, the rescue attempt was abandoned. Even if the plane could be found, the likelihood of the forty-five passengers and crew being discovered alive was remote. Yet ten weeks later two emaciated men fell to their knees at the sight of a Chilean peasant tending his cattle in a remote Andean valley. After finally persuading the incredulous authorities that that they really were passengers from the missing plane, the two men led a rescue team to the site of the crash, the remaining fourteen survivors and a tale of horrific bravery.
Putting to rest the rumours and criticism the survivors suffered, Alive exposes the inescapable truth and stark courageousness of how they lived to tell their story. Weakened by starvation, extreme cold, and by the awful knowledge that the search had been called off, the survivors had to face the torturous reality of their situation: to live, they must eat the flesh of their dead companions…
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And The Money Kept Rolling In (And Out): Wall Street, The IMF And The Bankrupting Of Argentina by Paul Blustein

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This dramatic, definitive account of the most spectacular economic meltdown of modern times exposes the dangerous flaws of the global financial system. In the 1990s, few countries were more lionized than Argentina for its efforts to join the club of wealthy nations. Argentina’s policies drew enthusiastic applause from the IMF, the World Bank and Wall Street. But the club has a disturbing propensity to turn its back on arrivistes and cast them out. That was what happened in 2001 when Argentina suffered one of the most spectacular crashes in modern history. With it came appalling social and political chaos, a collapse of the peso and a wrenching downturn that threw millions into poverty and left nearly one-quarter of the workforce unemployed. Paul Blustein, whose book about the IMF, “The Chastening”, was called ‘gripping, often frightening’ by “The Economist” now gets right inside Argentina’s rise and fall in a dramatic account based on hundreds of interviews with top policymakers and financial market players, as well as reams of internal documents. He shows how the IMF turned a blind eye to the vulnerabilities of its star pupil, and exposes the conduct of global financial market players in Argentina as redolent of the scandals – like those at Enron and WorldCom – that rocked Wall Street in recent years. By going behind the scenes of Argentina’s debacle, Blustein shows with unmistakable clarity how sadly elusive the path of hope and progress remains to the great bulk of humanity still mired in poverty and underdevelopment.
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