Simón Bolívar: Essays on the Life and Legacy of the Liberator (Latin American Silhouettes)

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9780742556195: Simón Bolívar: Essays on the Life and Legacy of the Liberator (Latin American Silhouettes)
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Simón Bolívar was without a doubt the most famous and most controversial leader of the Spanish American wars of independence. Much is known of his biography: he led an army that liberated an expanse of South America equivalent to that conquered by Napoleon; crafted the union of Venezuela, New Granada, and Ecuador into the republic of Gran Colombia; outlined the plan for a defensive league of former Spanish-American colonies; and wrote the first Bolivian constitution. He also died in exile after the rejection of his arbitrary and dictatorial rule in Colombia. This volume takes a step back from both glorification and vilification to reassess Bolívar's life and legacy. A distinguished group of historians takes a fresh look at the impact of "the Liberator" as warrior, political thinker and leader, internationalist, continentalist, reformer, and revolutionary. They make a powerful statement about the importance of biography and the relevance of the individual in explaining historical events. A balanced yet critical appraisal of Bolívar's role in the Spanish-American wars of independence, this in-depth collection offers a persuasive explanation of why the Bolívarian legend and cult has persisted. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Simón Bolívar—the man and the legacy.

Contributions by: David Bushnell, Germán Carrera Damas, Simon Collier, Judith Ewell, Iván Jaksic, Lester D. Langley, John V. Lombardi, Karen Racine, Frank Safford, and Hermes Tovar Pinzón

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About the Author:

David Bushnell is professor emeritus at the University of Florida. Lester D. Langley is professor emeritus at the University of Georgia.

Review:

This book makes a strong addition to the English-language literature on Simón Bolívar. . . . Reading Bolívar's position on these key issues affords us an important perspective on the genesis of the Spanish American republics. (Anthony McFarlane Hispanic American Historical Review)

As the bicentennial of the Wars of Independence approaches, it is time for new debate on every aspect of the independence struggle in Latin America. In particular, there is much more to be learned about the dominant figure in the South American movement, Simón Bolívar. The roster of distinguished authors in this volume, including some of the best-known Bolívar specialists, is outstanding, and they have much to offer. They address many key issues without flinching. (Timothy E. Anna, University of Manitoba)

Simón Bolívar does an excellent job of introducing North American readers to the life and ideas of the great Spanish American liberator. The individual chapters helpfully detail Bolívar's political philosophy, his relationship with his contemporaries, and his attitudes toward, and status in, the United States and the UK. The concluding chapters, which explore his complex legacy, help remind us of Bolívar's continued importance as a political icon. (Rebecca Earle, University of Warwick)

Simón Bolívar: Essays on the Life and Legacy of the Liberator distills, in a lucid, insightful fashion, important yet varied perceptions of that complex actor Simón Bolívar, who led the struggle for the political independence of five nations. This fine work will long stand as a persuasive and high benchmark for future Bolivarian and Latin American studies. (J. León Helguera, Vanderbilt University)

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