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Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
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Product Description

Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx.

Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe.

Weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry, Galeano fuses scientific analysis with the passions of a plundered and suffering people. An immense gathering of materials is framed with a vigorous style that never falters in its command of themes. All readers interested in great historical, economic, political, and social writing will find a singular analytical achievement, and an overwhelming narrative that makes history speak, unforgettably.

This classic is now further honored by Isabel Allende?s inspiring introduction. Universally recognized as one of the most important writers of our time, Allende once again contributes her talents to literature, to political principles, and to enlightenment.

Customer Reviews:

  • Hugo Chavez was right to refer Obama to this book
    I first became aware of this book when Hugo Chavez/Venezuelan President recently presented it to Pres. Obama. I ordered it and read it immediately. It's chock-full of historical, imperialistic facts we've all forgotten or never knew concerning Latin America. I doubt Pres. Obama will even attempt to read it.

    Apparently, we're not through (by a long shot) with empire building. This book makes me wonder why the U.S. feels it incumbent to "depose" other countries' rulers. Two CIA-sponsored coups on Pres. Chavez are two too many. could it be the oil? Enough! ...more info
  • Enthralling
    I probably should wait until I am finished reading it, but I cannot see how I can be disappointed. The book is an excellent addition to my bookshelf. As an educator in public schools, I stop and marvel after certain passages over the education our children are not getting. This book is important and so well written. I am glad I purchased it. ...more info
  • un libro importante
    En "Memorias del fuego" Galeano dice algo as¨ª: ha llegado la hora de que nosotros contemos nuestra historia". "Las venas abiertas de Am¨¦rica Latina" es un recorrido hist¨®rico-po¨¦tico por los siglos a partir de la llegada de los espa?oles al Nuevo Mundo.
    M¨¢s all¨¢ de las precisiones hist¨®ricas (o imprecisiones) en libro late la necesidad de contar c¨®mo sucedieron los hechos desde la perspectiva de los nativos, de los conquistados, de los desde entonces desheredados de su propia tierra y cultura. ...more info
  • Waste of money
    This book does nothing but blame the United States for all the problems in the world. It doesn't address the dictatorships, the political killings in their own countries. Some of this would actually be laughable in view of the bias shown if there weren't so many dead to prove thier own crimes....more info
  • Not for defenders of racist imperialism.
    Listeners of Hugh Hewitt, Sean Hannity and other jingoist propagandists won't like this book; but those who want to learn about the savagery of Western "civilization" will want to read Galeano's important book. Galeano is also a regular contributor to the Progressive magazine. His insights and talent will be obvious to those who have the courage to actually read the book, a courage that is lacking among so-called "conservatives" of today. Some people reflexively dismiss criticism of their home empire, and they call their willful ignorance "patriotism." Sadly, that is no more a sign of being a patriot than it was a sign of being a "good" German by ignoring the holocaust.
    For those who want to further pursue the facts of the on-going pillaging of Latin America, see:
    American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World
    School of Assassins: Guns, Greed, and Globalization
    When the Mountains Tremble
    Latin America: From Colonization to Globalization
    The Fourth World War
    Nacla Report on the Americas
    Plan Colombia: Cashing in on the Drug War Failure
    The Take
    Dispatches from Latin America: On the Frontlines Against Neoliberalism
    ...more info
  • Crap
    I've read it many times since my youth (early eighties) and I've read it again some other time. And my opinion hasn't changed: this book is crap.

    I mean, as a propaganda tool is superb (to some of my friends this was the bible), but as a reality analisis it sucks real bad and big time.

    Just compare the history of socialist Cuba and capitalist Chile, the antipodes in Galeano's cosmogony, since the sixties. Or take a look at the evolution of Uruguay (no natural resources) and Venezuela (full of natural resources).

    Both examples show the falacy of "Open Veins"....more info
  • open veins of Latin America
    Perception and reality are very different. This book redefines and explains a lot of the misconceptions we all pick up in our lifetimes....more info
  • History you won't learn in the US
    I read this book long before Chavez gave it to Obama, but I had to write a review of the press this book has received. I read it while traveling solo through South America, and I have explored the mines of Potosi, been to the Northeast and North of Brazil to see the Sugar fields and the Amazon region. What I read in this book were things that I was not taught, even when I received a major in Spanish in College. Galeano is scathingly opinionated, but he does back up what he writes. Michael Moore should be proud of this book! I hope that some of the conservatives who bash this book before reading it would actually take a chance and read it. Don't be scared of the unknown!...more info
  • Someone who has actually READ this book.

    The average American has no about the historic role of the United States and American interests in the area. The United States simply wants Latin America to be a source of raw materials and cheap labor (provided too much of that labor doesn't move to the north at one time). Latin Americans who wish to develop their own industries and not rely on low wage work in foreign owned factories and plantations get branded as Communists (or in the case of Peron, Gaytan, and other pre-1945 leaders, "fascists").

    I am sure many of the people who are trashing this book, or blasting Chavez and Castro are the same people who talk tough about "securing our borders" without understanding the US role in dislocating Latin Americans and suppressing efforts to develop an economy independent of free trade and American dominance. We live in a country that wants every last Mexican to eat at Burger King instead of the local taqueria, yet goes mad when those same Mexicans seek better paying jobs in the US. What they don't realize is that free trade policy (endorsed by America's Conservative political establishment for decades) has deliberately to make Latin America the low wage zone for maquiladoras and source of low-paid migrant labor for the richer northern end of hemisphere.

    I am sure many Americans would say, Latin America has always been poor and backward. However, there was a period when Argentina and Chile were among the world's wealthy nations, and even Mexico (from 1940-1970) had a far stronger economy than it does today (narco dollars aside). This progress has been destroyed by 30 years of free trade agreements, neo-liberal banking policy that enourages massive national debts (one the US itself is hardly immune from), drug consumption, and an agenda that suppressed any Latin American self-development that created domestic industries as "Communist" in nature....more info
  • TRUTH AND LIES
    I READ THIS BOOK IN 1978 AND WROTE A TENPAPER ABOUT IT. THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME THAT I WAS EXPOSED TO COMUNIST IDEAS. I WAS VERY YOUNG. THE BOOK GIVE A LOT OF FACTS , BUT ONLY ONE POINT OF VIEW. I UNDERSTAND NOW THAT NOTHING IS PERFECT BUT THE AMERICAN SYSTEM BY FAR IS THE BEST ONE. THE PROBLEM WITH THE BOOK IS THAT DENIES HISTORY. BY EXAMPLE, ALWAYS THE STRONG CONQUER THE WEAK. THE AZTECS IN MEXICO, THE MAYAS IN SOUTH AMERICA CONQUER THE WEAKER. THEN WHY THE EUROPEANS ARE DEVIL AND NO THE MAYAS NOR THE AZTECS? WHEN I READ THE BOOK MY PROFESSOR WAS A MEMBER OF THE SOCIALIST PARTY, WAS A SHOCK! WHY I NEED TO READ THIS ANTIAMERICAN BOOK? I ASK TO MY FATHER. HE GAVE THIS ANSWER , WHEN YOU ARE EXPOSED TO BIAS INFORMATION THE TRUTH JUST LOOKS CLEAR. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR DEMOCRACY...more info
  • Have an opinion on YOUR own
    Either if you agree or not with it's content I can tell you that it is a well written and non-boring book. Certainly it can biased in some subjects (which writer or person has not even a little bias towards something?) but you have to wear his glasses and his shoes to understand this writer's mind from the inside out. And then you have to contrast that information with data from another authors, including american writers supporting AND debunking this views so you can have your OWN EDUCATED opinion.
    I would also recommend reading:
    - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
    - The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World by John Perkins
    - The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives by Zbigniew Brzezinski (Ex-national Security Advisor)
    - Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order by Noam Chomsky and Robert W. McChesney
    - AND SPECIALLY THIS ONE: Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs by Noam Chomsky

    In the mean time you can also watch this documentary www.zeitgeistmovie.com

    ...more info
  • Rich Countries Poor People
    This book tells us the real history of Latin America. It talks about the innecesary wars, the stupid governments, the dictadorships supported by the United States and Europe, and the way that the countries in Latin America have become slaves to the IMF and the World Bank.

    I definetly recomend buying this book!!...more info
  • Well-deserved attention
    this is a very well-written book that conveys information about the history of Latin America that most people aren't exposed to. It was a required text in my political science class at the University of Massachusetts in 1973.
    The first day of that class coincided with the assassination of Salvador Allende. ...more info
  • Doorstop
    This book is not big enough for a door stop. Anyhow real door stops cost much less.
    History re-written for the "people".
    ...more info
  • Why (North) Americans should read this book!
    I hope many people will read this. Too many (North) Americans are as ignorant of U.S. machinations in Latin America and they are of the Middle East. They therefore seem to think any anti-Americanism is totally un-merited and without just cause - as all they know are American ideals, not what past U.S.administrations have actually done in those regions....more info
  • No thanks Hugo
    I might have bothered to read this book if it had not been a gift from Hugo Chavez to Obama. Now, I simply won't read it on principle. I'm tired of the blame game on America. ...more info
  • Leftist Trash, pushed by Communists
    The usual tripe and garbage. Wah wah wah. USA is sooo mean. It's all USA's fault for. . .everything. Capitalism bad, communist dictatorships good. Waste of money....more info
  • What a Pile of Rubbish! Very Manipulative!
    Don't bother wasting your money on this rubbish! Read the negative reviews and believe them. You don't want to waste your money on this, especially in today's economy. It will only make you angry. It's all about making people of European descent feel guilty. The title portrays its contents accurately. It's all designed to create a feeling of guilt, so the US will give the people of Latin America everything they desire even to the detriment of our own people and our economy! Very manipulative....more info
  • Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina!
    Bravo Justo and Valverde. Speak truth to power. Conservatives post are ignorant to the fact that imperialist/racist/neoliberal/massive killers like the U.S. have been among the worst of empires. The U.S. has been the country to most violate human rights. Ironically, they formed part of the Human Rights Declaration. Also, they have been the country to most violate treaties.
    Technology? When did the U.S. become a great know about of technology. They have bought more than half of technology from other countries (Germany, Japan, Mexico etc). Aircraft?! Please read. The U.S. did not invent the aircraft, but nonetheless ordered for it to be created by another country, as well as demanded the invention of the atomic bomb...killing half of innocent civilians in Japan.
    Medicine? While some have profited from the pharmaceutical companies or taken medications to "help" them they are damaging the body more than helping it. Believe it or not there are many people in Latin America that take old remedies 1) because they cannot afford medicine 2) because our body is not adapted to so much drugs that are making one more addicted than cured.
    When must ignorance and racism stop!? Why ignore that Cuba is a sovereign country that has free health care for their people, free education even throughout the university level, poverty is below %2 (you may also find this in the LA Times). Compared to crime rates in the U.S. when have you ever heard of crime in Cuba or other Latin American countries militarily intervening another nation, killing massives of peoples and imposing their puppet regimes.
    Fulgensio Batista: Cuban dictator that enslaved many Cubans, esp. blacks; supported by the U.S.
    Jorge Ubico: Guatemalan president that even though elected democratically became powerful military dictator that was supported by the U.S. Furthermore, he encouraged the exploitation of many Guatemalan natives.
    Agusto Pinochet: Military dictator in Chile that murdered hundreds of civilians. Puppet of the U.S. that was put there after the assassination by the U.S. of Allende.

    All these former U.S. puppets still remain in many other countries, not only in Latin America.
    Yes, Latin America is poor overall, but also very rich. Why is it then, not economically stable? Gees...Well, because there resources are exploited and sent to countries, like the U.S. that even though it is the wealthiest nation it demands no tariffs, with NAFTA and CAFTA...making Latin America economically very poor.
    In addition, we need not go further than talk about poverty in the U.S. (but, I don't think a couple of people here are familiar with this). Those of us that live in the stricken poverties of the U.S. know what it's like. Why is this so?...just look at all the laws, propositions, etc. that have subordinated such people.
    Unless one has not written on "important" issues one cannot say that "free societies" do not or have not tortured and imprisoned these writers...what about Davis, Douglas, and other political prisoners?
    Freedom? Only for the few.
    Of course we belong here...we're natives to the Americas and it is not right for one nation to appropriate the term (bourgeoisie; enforced by corporate and government enforced media).
    Adelante Eduardo Galeano.
    ...more info
  • Excellent book
    I fully recommend it. Ignore the right wing bigots from the Republican party who posts attacks against the book on Amazon.
    Read the book and form your own opinion....more info
  • If Galeano presents the problem - what's the solution?

    Galeano's `Open Veins of Latin America' has been somewhat of an underground classic; an epitome of alleged abuses by the West and the exploitation of Latin America. Now with its recent presidential present status it's a book shoved into the top spot of Amazon's best selling list.

    Mr. Galeano documents scrupulously the statistics of abuse and murder - the facts, the figures, and interestingly the emotions, feelings, along with a heighten sense of injustice. He writes of how the genocide of Latin America's indigenous peoples allowed for the giant industrial capital necessary to create the wealth of the west.

    For the sake of argument if one were to grant all the allegations, the far more important question would be, what is the remedy? What does Hugo Chavez and his sympathizers suggest should be done now?

    A BBC News report, "Rule by Decree Passed for Chavez" tells us what Hugo Chavez wants and has received. He asks for 'revolutionary laws' to enact sweeping political, economic, and social changes." In the name of strengthening his "Bolivarian revolution," and he's asked to "nationalize key sectors of the economy and scrap limits on the terms a president can serve." He also wants "major Venezuelan power and telecoms companies come under his control ... (and) an end to foreign ownership of lucrative crude oil refineries." In short, he's claimed the oppression justifies a police state, a dictatorship, and socio-communism.

    The argument is, democracy, freedom, and capitalism haven't run perfectly therefore they should be trampled underfoot. Chavez might be well served to consider Winston Churchill's remark that, "democracy is the worst form of government except all those others that have been tried from time to time."
    ...more info
  • This lays out the truths
    As U. S. citizens we may not want to hear the truth. Government, big business of Europe and the U.S. have benefitted from raping Latin America of the resources that represent the wealth of the people in each culture leaving the indigenous population without sufficient wealth for economic self sufficiency. Do we ever wonder why there is a steady path of illegal migrants to the U.S. willing to assume great risks for a better life? Read this book-- if you can secure a copy....more info