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"Poignant stories capturing the essence of everyday life for average Latin Americans. This New Yorker essayist and Mexican-born journalist perspicaciously covers topics from ...
"Poignant stories capturing the essence of everyday life for average Latin Americans. This New Yorker essayist and Mexican-born journalist perspicaciously covers topics from violence, inequality, and survival to the faithless politicians and the faithful perseverance with which people strive to believe. Beautifully written vignettes of life in Bogotâa, Managua, Mexico City, Lima, Buenos Aires, and La Paz illuminate both constants and differences in the political cultures of Latin America"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.
"The Heart That Bleeds is the work of a master...Guillermoprieto has brought back reports that are unforgettable, brave in their clearsightedness, but unstinting, too, in their passion and sympathy. The countries of Latin America now have their Orwell."—David Remnick
Posted November 15, 2005
Alma Guillermoprieto's 'The Heart that Bleeds' is an excellent companion to any more general Latin American history book. Providing thirteen case studies of great Latin American cities at different times from 1989-1993, this book reveals the 'real' aspect of Latin America that is so difficult to attain in a 'history' book. It is quite satisfying to read her first entry about Bogotá in 1989, then about Medellín in 1991, and finally Bogotá again in 1993. Questions posed in earlier chapters are tacitly answered in later ones. These chapters tend to carry a strong focus on the drug trafficking in Colombia and allow many trends to become apparent over this four year stretch of time. Where in 1989 police effectiveness may be called into question, by 1991 a restructuring is putting pressure on Escobar, and by 1993 police, private groups, and Escobar's enemies have all cornered him into a pit that he did manage to escape from. The air, the people, the reality behind the pleasure and pain are all vivid and crisp. Each chapter focuses on a different topic which expands, surprisingly well, into a more general analysis of the country or region in question. The three chapters concerning Colombia discuss the drug trafficking sure, but they they expand into the sicarios- young people hired as assassins to (oftentimes) support their family and their drug addiction. Another chapter reveals the almost comical indifference that has taken root out of necessity in urban inhabitants who must sleep through as many as eleven car bombs a night. The lives of judicial officials and politicians are also explored. Experts and locals related to each field are meticulously interviewed and their most pertinent details expressed through Guillermoprieto's prose. A chapter on Mexico City delves into the lives and ways of the garbage lords and garbage scavengers, who at one point held immense power over the city. Chapters about Brazil explore the country's rich spirituality and the fusion of cultures which many have embraced. All said, while this book will not teach you Latin American history, it will help you to see Latin America as not just two words in a book, but a living, diverse, and ever-changing part of our world. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.