Latin America and the United States: A Documentary History

In This Review

This compilation is a welcome update to the 2000 edition that Kenneth Maxwell, an earlier reviewer in these pages, judged "a first-rate reference tool" with "stimulating and mischievous juxtapositions." For those who are persuaded that reading original source documents is an indispensable methodology for grasping historical events in their proper context, the editors have again performed an invaluable service. Their selection of 138 excerpted documents underscores the hegemonic presumptions of many U.S. leaders over two centuries while giving some space to more contemporary U.S. initiatives to promote inter-American cooperation and democratic practices, from John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress to Bill Clinton's Summit of the Americas. Recurrent Latin American rebelliousness against U.S. power is amply, perhaps disproportionately, recorded; readers get the anti-imperialist poetry of the Nicaraguan modernist Rubén Darío and the contemporary Cuban folksinger Silvio Rodríguez and heated speeches by the neopopulists Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales, but they also hear from the great Argentine economist Raúl Prebisch. Altogether, this handy collection should inspire students and experts alike to dig more deeply into the historical archives.