These thirteen essays written by the late Columbia University Latin American expert are generally less interesting than the...

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THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY IN LATIN AMERICA

These thirteen essays written by the late Columbia University Latin American expert are generally less interesting than the extended biographical introduction by two former Tannenbaum students. Tannenbaum, an influential figure in State Department circles, was an extreme cultural relativist. As a young World War I anarchist influenced by Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, he led groups of unemployed workers to churches, shaking down the latter for 30 cents a head. Later he was rescued from jail and sent to Columbia as a promising young man gone wrong. Forty years afterward, in a Foreign Affairs essay, Tannenbaum sustains much of his original outlook, upholding ""the development of local leadership and the tapping of the tradition of cooperation embedded in the rural community."" In a 1968 essay, Tannenbaum ruefully acknowledges that such decentralization and an ""inability to trust others"" contributes to the caudillo phenomenon. A long-time friend of Lazaro Cardenas and an adherent of the Mexican Revolution for its ""anti-ideological"" stance, Tannenbaum was livid about Castro's rise to power. Before Castro, ""the Cuban rural worker had an effective trade union and a body of legislation that protected his rights."" Tannenbaum, who took pains to deny Yanqui intrusion, maintains throughout the collection that the continent is largely shaped by its internal cultural patterns of instability and caudilloism. The book will be in demand, if only because of Tannenbaum's name.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1974