In This Review

The Argentina Reader: History, Culture, Politics
The Argentina Reader: History, Culture, Politics
Edited by Gabriela Nouzeilles and Graciela Montaldo
Duke University Press, 2002, 536 pp.

A "land of exiles" is how the great Jorge Luis Borges described his native land, and this term evokes how many Argentines saw themselves: Europeans populating a land that was prosperous and enlightened. But Argentina remains a continuing paradox. Once one of the world's richest nations, it enters the twenty-first century shattered and impoverished, crippled by a legacy of misrule, corruption, and dictatorship. This timely and stellar collection of background readings helps explain Argentina's years of growth as well as its subsequent decline. The editors have brought together many key texts from the time of independence to the present, touching on everything from caudillos, gauchos, and Amerindian resistance, to sports in Argentina today. Along the way, they provide telling images of two contrasting but paradigmatic Argentineans, Juan Per—n and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and recount some of the key turning points in Argentine history. Once seen as the home of the "Yankees of the South," Argentina was also to many visitors a world "out of place" -- an isolated cosmopolitan society located at the "end of the world." This highly rewarding contribution will be useful for students and Argentina experts alike.