Simon Bolivar: A Life
Author: John Lynch
Simón Bolívar was a revolutionary who freed six countries, an intellectual who argued the principles of national liberation, and a general who fought a cruel colonial war. His life, passions, battles, and great victories became embedded in Spanish American culture almost as soon as they happened. This is the first major English-language biography of “The Liberator” in half a century. John Lynch draws on extensive research on the man and his era to tell Bolívar’s story, to understand his life in the context of his own society and times, and to explore his remarkable and enduring legacy.
The book illuminates the inner world of Bolívar, the dynamics of his leadership, his power to command, and his modes of ruling the diverse peoples of Spanish America. The key to his greatness, Lynch concludes, was supreme will power and an ability to inspire people to follow him beyond their immediate interests, in some cases through years of unremitting struggle. Encompassing Bolívar’s entire life and his many accomplishments, this is the definitive account of a towering figure in the history of the Western hemisphere.
The New Yorker
The first major English biography of Bolívar in fifty years parses the complex history of the Venezuelan aristocrat who liberated six South American countries from Spanish rule. A cult figure after his death, in 1830, El Libertador led a life that defies easy analysis: although influenced by Enlightenment ideas of equality, he rejected total democracy, fearing anarchy in the “ignorant” lower classes; determined to create strong central government, he institutionalized rule by local warlords; acutely aware of the factionalism rampant in postwar society, he was bewildered when it eventually forced him to leave his homeland. In Lynch’s view, the key to Bolívar lies in his pragmatism. Leaders who have invoked his name to serve their political agendas have obscured the fact that his policies followed no single path and are meaningless out of historical context. The so-called “Bolivarian revolution” of the populist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is “a modern perversion of the cult.”
This solid but uninspiring biography details the political and intellectual history of one of Latin America's most famous figures: El Libertador, Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), who led revolutions against Spanish rule in his native Venezuela as well as what are now Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Panama. Lynch (Latin American history, emeritus, Univ. of London) describes Bolivar's childhood, education, political development, intellectual influences, economic and social thought, friendships, and personal highs and lows. Rather than lingering on the features of his personal life, however, Lynch presents him as a public person, political thinker, and philosopher-general, focusing on his role as a liberator of Spanish colonies. In particular, we are shown the importance of Rousseauan thought and some ideals of the French Revolution in shaping Bolivar's outlook. Although Lynch argues in his preface that his examination of Bolivar as a leader is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand 19th-century Latin American history, there are many similarly competent biographical studies of Bolivar, and only serious scholars are likely to read Lynch's with any fervor. An optional addition to academic libraries.-Emily-Jane Dawson, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families
Author: Andrew Carroll
Operation Homecoming is the result of a major initiative launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to bring distinguished writers to military bases to inspire U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and their families to record their wartime experiences. Encouraged by such authors as Mark Bowden, Tobias Wolff, and Marilyn Nelson, American military personnel and their loved ones wrote candidly about what they saw, heard, and felt while in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as on the home front. These unflinching eyewitness accounts, private journals, short stories, and letters offer an intensely revealing look into extraordinary lives and are an unforgettable contribution to wartime literature.
Table of Contents:
Preface Dana Gioia Gioia, Dana
Introduction Andrew Carroll Carroll, Andrew
1 And Now It Begins: Heading into Combat 2
2 Hearts and Minds: Interactions with Afghans and Iraqis 66
3 Stuck in This Sandbox: Gripes, Humor, Boredom, and the Daily Grind 132
4 Worlds Apart: Life on the Home Front 190
5 This Is Not a Game: The Physical and Emotional Toll of War 250
6 Home: Returning to the United States 322
Credits and Permissions 403
Index of Contributors 405
Index of Titles 407