“Guatemala is often overlooked. It is part of the Aztec-Maya nexus and the site of a very bitter civil war from the 1970s to the 1990s. It has this very significant indigenous population which is split into different peoples. This is a book which is both quite radical in its vision and iconoclastic…He develops a picture which is very nuanced and shows also, as Derby does, that you don’t need to shoot people down or drive them with whips in order to make them do things they don’t want to do. And very often you don’t need to do that across racial lines. You can get people from a different racial group to do it for you. A lot of people steer clear of Guatemala because it is both so stark and so complicated, but if I were to recommend one book it would be this one because Grandin knows the country exceptionally well, writes very clearly and he understands he is writing something that is a little counter-intuitive – in that much power was socially determined outside military conflict – so he has to take time to take the reader with him and he does that admirably well.” Read more...
The best books on Latin American History