Monday, July 09, 2007

books on central america

Thanks to everyone who sent recommendations and syllabi for an
introductory course on Central America

General history:

A Brief History of Central America by Hector Perez-Brignoli

Inside the Volcano by Frederick Weaver

Central America: A Nation Divided by Ralph Lee Woodward

Tommie Sue Montgomery �Revolution in El Salvador�

Jeffery M. Paige �Coffee and Power: Revolution and the Rise of
Democracy in Central America�

Political Economy/ Inequality

Between Earthquakes and Volcanos by Carlos Vilas

Land, Power, and Poverty: Agrarian Transforamtion and Political
Conflict in Central America by Charles Brockett

Understanding Central America: Global Forces, Rebellion and Change by
John Booth, et al

Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in
Hondurasa nd the US by John Soluri

Don't be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart by Elvia

Panama's Poor: Victims, Agents, and History Makers by Gloria Rudolf


The El Mozote Massacre by Leigh Binford

One Day of Life by Manlio Argueta

Blood of Brothers by Stephen Kinzer

Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in
Guatemala by Daniel Wilkinson

Paradise in Ashes by Beatriz Manz


Seeing Indians: A Study of Race, Nation, and Power in El Salvador by
Virginia Tilley

Shipwrecked Identities: Navigating Race on Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast
by Baron Pineda

Disparate Diasporas: Identity and Politics in an Afro-Nicaraguan
Community by Edmund Gordon

Mas Que un Indio: Racial Ambivalence and Neoliberal Multiculturalism in
Guatemala by Charles Hale

A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincentennial Guatemala by
Diane Nelson

I Won't Stay Indian, I'll Keep Studying: Race, Place, and
Discrimination in a Costa Rican High School by Karen Stocker

Ethnicity at Work by Philippe Bourgois

Gender in Post-Revolutionary Central America

After the Revolution: Gender and Democracy in El Salvador, Nicaragua
and Guatemala by Ilja Luciak

After Revolution: Mapping Gender and Cultural Politics in Neoliberal
Nicaragua by Florence Babb

Life is Hard by Roger Lancaster

>From Revolution to the Maquiladora: Gender, Labor, and Globalization
by Jennfer Bickham-Mendez

Hear My Testimony" Maria Teresa Tula Human Rights Activist of El
Salvador by Lynn Stephen

Country under my Skin by Giocconda Belli


N. Hamilton and N. Stoltz Chinchilla, Seeking Community:
Salvadorans and Guatemalan in Los Angeles

Beth Baker Cristales, Salvadoran Migration to Southern

Cecilia Menjivar, Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in
America, California, 2000

Sarah Mahler, American Dreaming: Immigrant Life on the
Margins, Princeton, 1995

Susan Bibler Coutin, Legalizing Moves: Salvadoran
Immigrants' Struggle for U.S. Residency

Terry A. Repak, Waiting on Washington: Central American
Workers in the Nation's Capital

Jacqueline Maria Hagan, Deciding to Be Legal: A Maya
Community in Houston

Nancy J. Wellmeier, Ritual Identity and the Mayan Diaspora,
Garland Publishers, 1998.

Allan Burns, Maya in Exile: Guatemalans in Florida, Temple,

Norita Vlach, The Flight of the Quetzal: Guatemalan
Refugee Families in the United States

Andrew Morrison and Rachel A. May, Escape from Terror:
Violence and Migration in Post-Revolutionary Guatemala

Dianne Walta Hart, Undocumented in L.A.: An Immigrant's
Story, Scholarly Resources, 1997

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Domestica: Immigrant Workers
Cleaning and Caring in the Shadow of Affluence. U of California Press,

The Tattooed Soldier by Hector Tobar

Voices from Exile by Victory Montejo

Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America by Walter has an "expiration date" in that it's a 1993 book, but
it's very good and thorough.

On Nicaragua, we've just reissued Stephen Kinzer's Blood of Brothers
(available from Harvard University Press). Also, by the same author,
Bitter Fruit, also available from Harvard University Press-on Guatemala.
Both books are written in journalistic style, although academically
substantial, and work very well with undergraduates.

The most wonderful read is:

The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War by Greg

Disappeared, A Journalist Silenced, by June Erlick

Edelman, Marc. Peasants Against Globalization: Rural Social Movements
in Costa Rica. Stanford University Press, 1999.

Green, Linda. Fear as a Way of Life: Mayan Widows in Rural Guatemala.
Columbia University Press, 1999.

Lauria-Santiago, Aldo, and Aviva Chomsky, eds. Identity and Struggle
at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central
America and the Hispanic Caribbean. Duke University Press, 1998.

Robinson, William I. Transnational Conflicts: Central America, Social
Change, and Globalization. Verso, 2003, chaps. 3-5.

Nick Cullathers. Secret History: The CIA's Classified Account of Its
Operations in Guatemala 1952-1954

Well-received. Primary source documents are the basis of
this book,

Epica. Ten Plagues of Globalization

Students with little or no background found this helpful.
Others found it too simple.

Juan Gonzalez. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America

A good study of recent immigrants.

Other novels/stories ... Jacinta Escudos, "Pequeña biografía de un
indeseable" is very pointed short story about the life of contemporary
street criminal in urban Ctrl Am; it may be available in transl. Sergio
Ramirez has good short stories on imperialism, political repression, and
such in his collection in English Charles Atlas También Muere ("To
Jackie with All Our Heart" is a particularly good choice on elite

Claribel Alegría has novels & testimonial lit on the 1930s and 1980s
uprisings/wars in El Salv (in English) -- Ashes from Izalco and They'll
Never Catch Me Alive are well-known. For colonial snapshots in fiction,
I like Tatiana Lobo's Assault on Paradise (much, much more nuanced
than the title suggests). For a sexual/political romp through the last 30
years in Nicaragua, you can't get a much better read than Gioconda
Belli's The Country Under My Skin, her memoir of the Nica Rev.

Women and Guerrilla Movements: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas, Cuba
(2002, Penn State University Press)

Feminism and the Legacy of Revolution: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas
(2004, Ohio Univerity Press)

Radical Women in Latin America: Left and Right (co-edited with Victoria
Gonzalez, 2001, Penn State) 6 of the 10 chapters are on Nicaragua, El
Salvador and/or Guatemala

Gould, Jeffrey L. To Lead as Equals: Rural Protest and Political
Consciousness in Chinandega, Nicaragua, 1912-1979. Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1990.

Gould, Jeffrey L. To Die in This Way: Nicaraguan Indians and the Myth
of Mestizaje, 1880-1965. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.

Dore, Elizabeth. Myths of Modernity: Peonage and Patriarchy in
Nicaragua. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. [Also, Dore has a number of
excellent articles on gender and class in late-19th century Nicaragua
that might be good to use instead of her monograph. See, in particular,
Dore, Elizabeth. "Patriarchy from Above, Patriarchy from Below: Debt
Peonage on Nicaraguan Coffee Estates, 1870-1930." In The Global Coffee
Economy in Africa, Asia and Latin America, 1500-1989, edited by William
Gervace Clarence-Smith and Steven Topik, 209-35. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2003.]

Schroeder, Michael J. "Horse Thieves to Rebels to Dogs: Political Gang
Violence and the State in the Western Segovias, Nicaragua, in the Time
of Sandino, 1926-1934." Journal of Latin American Studies 28 (1996):

Schroeder, Michael J. "The Sandino Rebellion Revisited: Civil War,
Imperialism, Popular Nationalism, and State Formation Muddied Up Together
in the Segovias of Nicaragua, 1926-1934." In Close Encounters of Empire:
Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations, edited
by Gilbert M. Joseph, Catherine C. LeGrand, and Ricardo D. Salvatore,
208-68. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.

Gobat, Michel. Confronting the American Dream: Nicaragua Under U.S.
Imperial Rule. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.

Hooker, Juliet. "'Beloved Enemies': Race and Official Mestizo
Nationalism in Nicaragua." Latin American Research Review 40, no. 3 (October
2005): 14-39.

Charlip, Julie A. Cultivating Coffee: The Farmers of Carazo, Nicaragua,
1880-1930. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003.

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