September 15, 2016

Book, "Today’s Left in Power: Promises and Problems" by Hobart A. Spalding

::::::Book Review::::::

Today’s Left in Power: Promises and Problems 
by Hobart A. Spalding

Book Review of:
Latin America’s Radical Left: Challenges and Complexities of Political Power in the Twenty-first Century.
by Steve Ellner (ed.)
Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.
Latin America’s Radical Left is at once challenging, complicated, fascinating, and useful to any Latin Americanist interested in today’s (and tomorrow’s) events. It centers on the radical left movements that have come to power in the past decade or so in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. It also takes a brief look at earlier movements in Cuba and Central America. The book’s 12 short, concise, tightly packed chapters, introduced by Steve Ellner, are divided into four parts. After three selections centering on theory, history, and some international aspects, a second part discusses the three countries named above. The following section treats recent trends in El Salvador and Nicaragua and then Cuba. The final chapters present case examples of newly formed social production companies in Venezuela, social movements in the area, and U.S. press reactions. A summary/conclusion written by the editor caps the book. All the articles are scholarly (some overly so) and include both notes and bibliography.

One of the work’s strengths is that the articles are coordinated and often refer one to another (e.g., “for more information on this see . . . “). Much of the material is framed around a critical reaction to the “good left”–“bad left” thesis …


Latin American Perspectives
July 2015 42: 129-130

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