In This Review

A Culture of Its Own: Taking Latin America Seriously
A Culture of Its Own: Taking Latin America Seriously
By Mark Falcoff
Transaction Publishers, 1998, 284 pp

Selected from popular writings over the past 15 years, this book demonstrates why Falcoff, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has become the most formidable conservative commentator on Latin America in the United States. Falcoff takes aim at his erstwhile academic colleagues, who, he argues, trivialize Latin America by pretending that "these countries are picturesque extensions of American power rather than societies with lives of their own, rich in contradictions and conflict . . ." He sees the Cuban-American community as demonized by the academic left precisely because the material and cultural success of the Cuban diaspora has yet to force a revision of its notions of what Latin Americans are capable of achieving without surrendering their own identity, given the right economic and legal circumstances. He also criticizes the image of Latin America as a revolutionary hotbed, which exists "in a kind of ideological cocoon" artificially maintained on "a life support system made up of the New York Times Book Review, Harper's Magazine, and Pantheon Books."