Latin American Historical Biographies
There is no shortage of Latin American historical biographies. From Simon Bolivar to Hugh Thomson, there's a story for everyone. Then there are the bestselling authors. Here are some suggestions for the most fascinating books about Latin American history. You might even enjoy the classics like Simon Bolivar. In this article, I'll highlight some of my favorites. So what are you waiting for? Check out the links below!
If you're looking for a great history book, consider reading a biography of Simon Bolivar, the leader of the revolution in South America. Bolivar was an accomplished statesman who achieved political independence for six nations, including Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru. But few people outside Latin America know anything about the man, who is remembered as the Liberator. For that reason, a biography of Simon Bolivar is essential.
Throughout his life, Simón Bolivar wrote prolifically, and he carried a trunk full of books. This left behind a ton of paperwork for historians to study. While many scholars have focused on the Cartagena Manifesto, Jamaica Letter, Angostura Address, and Bolivian Constitution, Bolivar also kept diaries and letters, which offer an incredible insight into the man and his times.
In 1804, when Napoleon I was at the peak of his career, Bolivar returned to Europe to study under Rodriguez. He studied European rationalist thinkers like Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau. This influence would eventually become his philosophy of war. Bolivar also met Alexander von Humboldt, a scientist and philosopher who believed that the Spanish colonies were ripe for independence.
The early years of Bolivar's war led to a devastation of Venezuela. The conflict between royalists and patriots was fierce. Bolivar was pinned against the Andes in western Venezuela, less than 300 miles from the Viceregal capital, Bogota. But the United States and Great Britain refused to provide help for the revolt, so he sought aid from Haiti, which had just gained independence from French rule. Haiti offered a warm welcome to Bolivar and the revolutionary forces of the plains.
The White Rock
A British explorer and documentary filmmaker, Hugh Thomson sets out on a trek to re-discover the Inca stronghold Llactapata. Thomson's extensive knowledge of Inca culture and history is woven into the narrative, making this an essential read for anyone wishing to travel beyond the ruins of Machu Picchu. This book is a dramatic retelling of the Spanish conquest of Peru, a period marked by brutal battles and awkward post-contact fall of the Incas.
Thomson aims to reconcile popular Inca conceptions with actual evidence in The White Rock. Because the Incas left no written record, much of what we know about them comes from archaeologists and the biased accounts of Spanish conquistadors. Thomson does a good job of presenting the story of modern explorers looking for Inca ruins, but the writing is too touchy-feely and too illogical.
A documentary about the rise of rock music in Latin America focuses on its history and political context. While rock music was banned and censored for many years in many countries, in many of these regions it became an important form of resistance. The movie follows the rise of Argentinian band, The White Rock. And while the documentary explores the history of rock, it also highlights the political context in which it emerged.
While tracing the political trends of Latin America, The Open Veins of the Americas is a challenging read, and an excellent crash course in the history of economics. It also explores the cultural climate of the continent and the disparity between ostentatious displays of wealth and poverty. Galeano's study of the Spanish and colonial influences has led to a heightened understanding of the exploitation of the continent.
In his biography, Hugh Thomson explores the history of the Incas in a compelling and accessible manner. The writer has a background in exploration and documentary filmmaking, and he has traveled extensively throughout Latin America. He lives in Bristol and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His book, The White Rock, is a well-written account of the expeditions that modern explorers made to find Inca ruins.
In the course of his life, Hugh Thomson traveled to the Amazon and the Peruvian Andes. As a naive youth living in London, Thomson took his first trips abroad, looking for lost cities from the conquistador accounts. His account of his journey to Peru and his subsequent visit changed the way we think of evolution. The book is an excellent introduction to the history of the region, and an important addition to any Latin America bibliography.
In his acclaimed book, The White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland, Hugh Thomson weaves together his research into Inca culture and history to create a captivating narrative. Thomson's account is filled with personal stories of the Inca people, and he tells us about the lives of the famous explorers such as Hiram Bingham and Martin Chambi. He then answered audience questions.
The first chapter of Tequila Oil tells of the author's first wild adventure in Mexico. This book sparked Hugh Thomson's fascination with Latin America. It transports the reader from the badlands of Chihuahua to the forests of the Yucatan. In the end, he ends in a jungle with the Maya and reflects upon how little we know about pre-Columbian Mexico.
Bernal Diaz del Castillo
This scholarly work by Capt. Bernal Diaz del Castillo details the conquest of New Spain and provides an eyewitness account of the events that transpired during the battle. Written in Spanish, it is often written from the point of view of a common soldier, and has become one of the most important sources for Aztec history. Ultimately, his writing led to the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish.
Born in Medina del Campo, Castile, Bernal Diaz del Castillo grew up in a family of modest means. He joined Hernan Cortes' expeditions to Mexico and Cuba, and was with him when he marched on the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. During this time, he was governor of Guatemala and the island of Yucatan, and he wrote a memoir called "The True History of the Conquest of New Spain."
This is a fascinating, if somewhat controversial, biography of the conquistador, Bernal Diaz del Castillo. A fascinating history of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, he was an ardent lobbyist for soldiers who fought for the Spanish conquistadors. He made two trips to Spain to speak to the king, and his work paves the way for others like him.
During his time in Mexico, Diaz conceived the idea to write memoirs of his experience. Writing his memoirs was a slow process until the 1560s, when he read a book by Francisco Lopez de Gomara, the chaplain of Cortes. Diaz was inspired by this book, whose title was A True History of the Conquest of New Spain.
In this autobiography, Don Patterson examines his life as an archaeologist and the people he encountered. Patterson's career spans the entire continent, working on major archaeological sites in Mexico and Central America. His autobiography delves into his personal and professional journey, examining the institutions he worked for and the decisions he made. The result is an intriguing and highly enjoyable read. For those interested in Latin America's history, this is a book not to be missed.
Dr. Patterson has written numerous articles on subjects as varied as slavery and civil rights. He has been interviewed for several television shows and has been a guest editor for the South Atlantic Quarterly. His writings have been widely published in journals such as South Atlantic Quarterly and American Anthropologist. He has appeared on MSNBC, Fox Soul, and many other platforms. He is an engaging speaker and an engaging writer. His work can be found in various academic journals and is available on the web.
As a PhD student, Alicia Pinar Diaz focuses on literature and culture studies. She is particularly interested in deconstructing stereotypes in the art world and in the interplay of cultures. Her research aims to develop an historiographical framework for a diverse region. Alicia holds an MA in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature from the University of Delaware. She is currently working on her first book.