Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Overview

Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx.

Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five...

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Overview

Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx.

Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe.

Weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry, Galeano fuses scientific analysis with the passions of a plundered and suffering people. An immense gathering of materials is framed with a vigorous style that never falters in its command of themes. All readers interested in great historical, economic, political, and social writing will find a singular analytical achievement, and an overwhelming narrative that makes history speak, unforgettably.

This classic is now further honored by Isabel Allende’s inspiring introduction. Universally recognized as one of the most important writers of our time, Allende once again contributes her talents to literature, to political principles, and to enlightenment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A superbly written, excellently translated, and powerfully persuasive exposé which all students of Latin American and U.S. history must read.-Choice,

Well written and passionately stated, this is an intellectually honest and valuable study.-Library Journal,

A dazzling barrage of words and ideas.-History,

Booknews
First published in 1973 as Las Venas Abiertas de America Latin by Siglo XXI Editores, Mexico, this analysis of the effects and causes of capitalist underdevelopment in Latin America presents a clear, passionate account of 500 years of Latin American history, written with drama, humor, and compassion. For general readers. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Choice
A superbly written, excellently translated, and powerfully persuasive exposé which all students of Latin American and U.S. history must read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780853459910
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Edition description: 25th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 25
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 113,775
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

EDUARDO GALEANO is the author of Open Veins of Latin America, Memory of Fire Trilogy, Book of Embraces and the forthcoming Upside Down.

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Essential reading.

    If we are to understand our world today, we must understand our history. Galeano's heartfelt and powerful observations of Latin American history should move us, and shame us, into understanding compassion and justice. This book will change how we will forever think of world and U.S. history. Today, more than ever, we need this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2006

    Pretentious Claptrap is what you read at school

    Read it. and then look for those more factuals materials. but read it, an author that takes a stand beyond just stating facts about such a delicate theme is worth reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2009

    to the last reviewer

    America does not refer only to the US. Your poor choice of words in your review is coupled with a statement that proves your ignorance to Latin American issues and the imperialist presence the US has in other parts of the world.

    This book is definitely worth reading

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2005

    The Best Book Ever

    This book was the most comprenhisive historial book on the evil politics of corruption and monoculture of the Latin American contienent . I greatly reccommened this book as a requirement for every Hispanic person.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    A most important work on Latin America

    I've bought four copies of this book so far. I keep lending them out and never getting them back. It is the best overall analysis of the reasons for the economic underdevelopment of Latin America and gives valuable historical insights into the effect of geography, European exploitation, the effects of the mis-named 'free trade' in this area of the world, and lastly, the disasterous results of two hundred years of U.S. interventions. Despite the serious economic and political commentaries, the book is lively, occasionally humorous, ironic, and enthralling. I've read it several times and have a well-marked copy that stays on my shelf so I can check the record whenever a upstart politician promises a new Latin American policy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Read this book

    Whether you like history or not this book is incredible and greatly enjoyable.

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  • Posted December 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The book Obama won't read....

    Eduardo Galeano completed Open Veins of Latin America in 1970. Millions of copies of it in dozens of languages have been sold around the world since then; it has been revised several times with addenda and new introductions for anniversary editions. But the distinctive yellow cover remains the same as does the strong narrative voice which leads the reader to a seamless journey through the complexities of Latin American history and a glimpse of the future-not only of the region, but of the world. Latin America is much like the canary in the coal mine which shows us how toxic greed and addiction to cheap consumer goods can choke off our own economic breath and leave us with unprecedented levels of unemployment, urban poverty and devalued currency. Galeano's book shows us how unlimited global growth has, in the words of Ed Abbey, "the etiology of the cancer cell," whose ultimate aim is the destruction of the host.
    I bought my first copy of this book in 1973 from Monthly Review Press. Since then I have bought a dozen copies and given them to friends, students and colleagues. I don't know if they've all read it or appreciated it. Like surgery, reading his book can be a painful experience, an operation to excise a lethal tumor (that of the comforting lies of the mass media) so that truth can flow again. President Obama received a copy of this book as a gift from Venezuelan Present Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas held this year in Port of Spain, Trinidad. When pressured by a "reporter" from Fox network about the appropriateness of receiving a gift from the Venezuelan leader, Osama replied, "Just because I accepted the book, doesn't mean I'm going to read it."
    I first met Eduardo Galeano while walking along the Rambla in Montevideo in the late 1990s. He was amazed at the success of the book which far exceeded his own modest expectations. He was also saddened by the fact that so many Latin Americans could not afford to buy it and that so many others were illiterate so could not read it. One story which moved him was that of a student from Buenos Aires who went from bookstore to bookstore reading bits of it in snatched moments because he hadn't the money to purchase a copy. Recalling that story makes Obama's comment even more embarrassing. Galeano has more firsthand knowledge of Latin America than any author writing today. His book is written for the non-specialist but is painstakingly documented. It is accessible but not simplistic. It is history, literature, politics, economics and social science. Finally, for anyone who proposes to be an effective citizen of the Americas or a knowledgeable citizen of the world, it is essential reading. Let's hope that if Obama doesn't change his mind about reading it, he will pass his copy on to Hillary Clinton.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Offers A Very Important Perspective

    I bought this book with trepidation after it came on my radar screen when Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez gifted it to President Obama when they first met. I had previously visited Venezuela when Chavez was up for "re-election" and was intrigued by the amount of popular support he had among everyday Venezuelans as opposed to my Venezuelan friends who lived here, who essentially fled their country because of Chavez and his policies.

    Agree with Chavez or not, this book is a must read for anyone who has ever been curious about the inequality between North and South America and in particular all first and third world societies.

    I'm naturally drawn to third world countries for some reason and after spending time there, I always ask myself "why are things the way they are?.. when did the U.S. begin dominating the rest of the world economically?.. how can the U.S. be so affluent and our neighbors just to the south be so void of a middle class?"...

    "Open Veins of Latin America" sheds important insights and history that U.S. citizens are NOT taught in schools or exposed to in any way. While at times, I think the finger pointing and lack of accountability is too much, the author has some excellent insights into how events centuries ago have shaped the world as we know it today.

    You may, like me, be horrified by the treatment of mankind against his brothers and sisters, all because of greed. There is not much hope given here for things getting better but it may inspire you to try and change things.

    I know its easy for comfortable middle class citizens in the dawning of the 21st century to look back with disdain at the ethics of our ancestors, whose actions are the very reason some of us live such comfortable lives while others barely make a living wage.

    Its not easy reading, its sometimes painful to think about the issues covered but the book will most likely change your outlook and possibly how you treat your fellow man day to day. I certainly don't agree with everything the author says, but I do respect the perspective and its one of my top 5 books to recommend to others.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Alternative Views of History of The Americas

    This book should be offered as an alternative (perhaps more accurate) view of the history of the Americas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    Open Veins of Latin America

    Excellent informative reading. History that wasn't taught in school but should be included for prospective and content.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Zero-sum business practices executed to Latin America

    Brilliant unyeilding analysis of centuries of zero-sum business practices perpetrated upon Latin America.

    A must read.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    this is unfounded

    just a hit piece on America, they should appreciate all of the advancements in technology, industry, etc. that we have provided

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

    Why Read ????

    What is the purpose of this book but to denounce Capitalism. If you lean toward Socialism or Communism views this book is perfect reading for you.
    Sorry that I wasted my time. If our reading resorts to this propaganda then we are in trouble in America. Very, very, one sided.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2006

    Pretentious Claptrap

    Dramatic, overwrought misinterpretations of historical fact such as this one might be emotionally satisfying to the author and to the uneducated or deliberately self-deluding reader, but in the end, fail in what should be the fundamental purpose of history: enlightenment. Don't waste your money on this book. There is a lot of very good criticism out there of the U.S. role in Latin America. You're far better off reading more factual material. This book is the historiographical equivalent of a slasher movie.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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