Ripped And Torn: Levi’s, Latin America and the Blue Jean Dream by Amaranta Wright

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Amaranta Wright was a young writer living in Miami when Levi’s hired her to travel through Latin America. Her brief was to befriend teenagers and report back with every aspect of their lives: their hopes, fears, dreams and aspirations. At first, she saw the job as a means to travel around a continent she loved. But as time passed, the more sinister and divisive aspects of what she was being asked to do became apparent, her attempts to understand the dispossessed of these countries constantly frustrated by the mechanics of corporate globalisation – its unspoken aim to reduce individuals to bullet points.
This is a compellingly humane portrait of a continent in crisis – riddled with paradox, complexity, beauty and brutality. It is a book about the arrogance with which we in the West refer to ‘developing’ continents, the developed world’s overarching desire to turn people into consumers, and the often insidious methods employed to this end. It is about what happens when indigenous voices are silenced by corporate vision.

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The Mango Orchard: Travelling Back to the Secret Heart of Mexico by Robin Bayley

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As a child, Robin Bayley was enchanted by his grandmother’s stories of Mexican adventures: of bandits, wild jungle journeys, hidden bags of silver and a narrow escape from the bloody Mexican Revolution. But Robin sensed there was more to these stories than anyone knew, and so he set out to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather.
The Mango Orchard is the story of parallel journeys’ a hundred years apart, into the heart of Latin America. Undaunted by the passage of time and a paucity of information, Robin seeks out the places where his great grandfather Arthur ‘Arturo’ Greenhalgh travelled and lived, determined to uncover his legacy. Along the road Robin encounters witches, drug dealers, a gun-toting Tasmanian Devil and an ex-Nazi diamond trader. He is threatened with deportation, offered the protection of Colombian guerrilla fighters and is comforted by the blessings of los santos. He falls in love with a beautiful Guatemalan girl with mystical powers and almost gives up his quest, until a sense of destiny drives him on to western Mexico and the discovery of much, much more than he had bargained for.

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Getting To Know The General: The Story Of An Involvement by Graham Greene

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In August 1981 my bag was packed for my fifth visit to Panama when the news came to me over the telephone of the death of General Omar Torrijos Herrera, my friend and host. . . At that moment the idea came to me to write a short personal memoir. . . of a man I had grown to love over those five years’ GETTING TO KNOW THE GENERAL is Graham Greene’s account of a five-year personal involvement with Omar Torrijos, ruler of Panama from 1968-81 and Sergeant Chuchu, one of the few men in the National Guard whom the General trusted completely. It is a fascinating tribute to an inspirational politician in the vital period of his country’s history, and to an unusual and enduring friendship.

Jungle Capitalists: A Story Of Globalisation, Greed And Revolution by Peter Chapman

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In this powerful and gripping book, Peter Chapman shows how the pioneering example of the banana importer United Fruit set the precedent for the institutionalized greed of today’s multinational companies. From the business’ 19th Century beginnings in the jungles of Costa Rica, via the mass-marketing of the banana as the original fast food, United Fruit’s involvement in bloody coups in Guatemala and El Salvador, the mid-1970s and the spectacular suicide on Park Avenue of the company’s chairman, from its bullying business practices to its covert links to the US government, United Fruit blazed the trail of global capitalism through the 20th Century. Chapman weaves a dramatic tale of big business, lies and power to show how one company pioneered the growth of globalization and – in doing so – has helped farm the banana to the point of extinction.
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