The Soul of Latin America: The Cultural and Political Tradition

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9780300098365: The Soul of Latin America: The Cultural and Political Tradition
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To understand Latin America’s political culture, and to understand why it differs so greatly from that of the United States, one must look beyond the political history of the region, Howard J. Wiarda explains in this comprehensive book. A highly respected expert on Latin American politics, Wiarda explores a sweeping array of Iberian and Latin American social, economic, institutional, cultural, and religious factors from ancient times to the twentieth century. He illuminates the distinctive political attitudes and traditions of Latin America as well as the unique―and not widely understood―features of present-day Latin American models of democracy.

While Ibero-American and Western liberal traditions draw from the same classical thinkers, they often emphasize different ideas and reach different conclusions, Wiarda contends. He traces the influences of Rome, Islam, medieval Christianity, the Reconquest, and Iberian feudalism, and the powerful but largely unacknowledged effects of the Counter-Reformation on Iberian and Latin American civilizations. The author concludes with a discussion of recent changes in political culture and an assessment of the strength of democracy’s hold in the nations of Latin America.

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About the Author:

Howard J. Wiarda is Leonard Horwitz Professor of Iberian and Latin American Studies, professor of political science, and professor of comparative labour relations at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is also senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

From Publishers Weekly:

Wiarda's scope, to say the least, is wide: he covers a broad range of Iberian and Latin American history in a rather compact text, swiftly and with a surprising and impressive amount of detail. It is a puzzle and a paradox, then, that he can at once provide many specifics concerning, say, Jos‚ Enrique Rod¢, the early 20th century Uruguayan writer, while at the same time insisting on treating Latin America "as a whole, as a civilization, as a culture area," often returning to the idea that his efforts are "aimed at presenting the big picture." Something about Wiarda's tone becomes quickly irksome. His explanations are at times too generalized to swallow whole. His theory, simply put, is that the Latin American political structure grew out of the Spanish and Portuguese structures that were based primarily on feudal, top-down philosophies of government. Latin America has continued this tradition, he says, as well as the El Cid/Don Quixote tradition of the caudillo the military leader riding his great white charger, saber raised high which is how Wiarda describes Fidel Castro. What stands out in Wiarda's text, however, is his analysis of the revolutions, why they succeeded, and why they more often failed, and his descriptions of the four major "ism"s present in 19th- and 20th-century Latin America positivism, nationalism, Marxism, corporatism. Clearly, Wiarda, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, hopes to clarify the Latin American political situation, making it easier for North Americans to understand. With his strengths in political, rather than historical, analysis, he provides an insightful beginning text for anyone interested in Latin America or any of its very different countries.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. To understand Latin America s political culture, and to understand why it differs so greatly from that of the United States, one must look beyond the political history of the region, Howard J. Wiarda explains in this comprehensive book. A highly respected expert on Latin American politics, Wiarda explores a sweeping array of Iberian and Latin American social, economic, institutional, cultural, and religious factors from ancient times to the twentieth century. He illuminates the distinctive political attitudes and traditions of Latin America as well as the unique-and not widely understood-features of present-day Latin American models of democracy. While Ibero-American and Western liberal traditions draw from the same classical thinkers, they often emphasize different ideas and reach different conclusions, Wiarda contends. He traces the influences of Rome, Islam, medieval Christianity, the Reconquest, and Iberian feudalism, and the powerful but largely unacknowledged effects of the Counter-Reformation on Iberian and Latin American civilizations. The author concludes with a discussion of recent changes in political culture and an assessment of the strength of democracy s hold in the nations of Latin America. Seller Inventory # AAV9780300098365

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.To understand Latin America s political culture, and to understand why it differs so greatly from that of the United States, one must look beyond the political history of the region, Howard J. Wiarda explains in this comprehensive book. A highly respected expert on Latin American politics, Wiarda explores a sweeping array of Iberian and Latin American social, economic, institutional, cultural, and religious factors from ancient times to the twentieth century. He illuminates the distinctive political attitudes and traditions of Latin America as well as the unique-and not widely understood-features of present-day Latin American models of democracy. While Ibero-American and Western liberal traditions draw from the same classical thinkers, they often emphasize different ideas and reach different conclusions, Wiarda contends. He traces the influences of Rome, Islam, medieval Christianity, the Reconquest, and Iberian feudalism, and the powerful but largely unacknowledged effects of the Counter-Reformation on Iberian and Latin American civilizations. The author concludes with a discussion of recent changes in political culture and an assessment of the strength of democracy s hold in the nations of Latin America. Seller Inventory # AAV9780300098365

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