Armies Without Nations: Public Violence and State Formation in Central America, 1821-1960 / Edition 1

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Drawing on archival research in all five countries as well as in the United States, Holden elaborates on the connections among the national, regional, and international dimensions of public violence. Armies Without Nations crosses the borders of Central American and Latin American history, providing a model for the study of global history and politics.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"For the first time Central America's awesome capacity for fratricidal violence is accorded the status it deserves: the riddle to be solved and not some deviant version of an otherwise progressive history of development. This story began long before what Holden calls the post-World War II era of globalized public violence, and FDR's Good Neighborly military advisors share in the credit so proudly claimed by Reagan-era zealots from North and Poindexter to Abrams and Negroponte."-Lowell Gudmundson, co-author of Central America, 1821-1871

"Theoretically informed and heavily documented with archival sources from both the United States and Central America, Holden's work is a major contribution to our understanding of the military and political history of the twentieth-century Central America."--American Historical Review

"Armies without Nations builds an integrated, regional history and provides a crucial conceptual framework through which to understand how individuals and groups within these particular and emerging nations chose to employ similar tools and methods of social control to assure political power."--Journal of Latin American Studies

"Based on extensive archival research in the United States and Central America, Robert Holden's Armies without Nations explores the history of state formation, public violence, and the role of United States' policy in Central America before the Cuban Revolution. Original theoretical contributions on the sources and agents of violence and careful case studies of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica from independence to 1961 make this book an important contribution to our understanding of the political and social history of Central America."--Brian Loveman, Fred J. Hansen Chair for Peace Studies and Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University

"I know of no other work that explains so well the intimate relationship of the United States military establishment to the development of Central American military and police states in the mid-twentieth century. In its attention to all five of the Central American states, it also offers a valuable comparative analysis of public violence and policy in this region."-- Ralph Lee Woodward, author of Central America: A Nation Divided

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195310207
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/16/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert H. Holden is an Associate Professor of History at Old Dominion University. He is the author of Mexico and the Survey of the Public Lands: The Management of Modernization, 1876-1911 and the co-editor of Latin America and the United States: A Documentary History (OUP, 2000).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. I 1821-1939
1 Historical Dimensions of Public Violence in Latin America 9
2 Binding Hatreds: Public Violence, State, and Nation in Central American History 25
3 Guatemala: Organizing for War 50
4 El Salvador: A Democracy of Violence 58
5 Honduras: Caudillos in Search of an Army 68
6 Nicaragua: A New Army Finds Its Caudillo 80
7 Costa Rica: Caudillos in Search of a State 96
Pt. II 1940-1960
8 Transformations 107
9 Defining Collaboration: The United States and Central America 119
10 Guatemala: "Showcase of Latin America" 134
11 El Salvador: Distrustful Collaborator 159
12 Honduras: Remaking an "Armed Rabble" 174
13 Nicaragua: "Ready to Receive Orders from Uncle Sam" 196
14 Costa Rica: An Army Renamed 214
15 Conclusions 227
Statistical Appendix 233
Notes 243
Works Cited 303
Index 323
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