Insightful essays express guarded hope for Latin America’s future.



Essays on Latin American politics reflect 5 tumultuous decades.

Nobel Prize winner Vargas Llosa (Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society, 2015, etc.), born in Peru in 1936 and who ran for president of his home country in 1990, reflects on the politics and culture of Latin America in essays written over more than 50 years. Translated by Kushner and selected and introduced by Carlos Granés, a Colombian-born social anthropologist and scholar of Vargas Llosa, the essays reveal the trajectory of the author’s views from a leftist supporter of Fidel Castro to a conservative critic of various “collectivist ideologies” that he sees as having blighted Latin America. Granés groups the essays into five sections that are thematically related but not presented chronologically. In an informative foreword, he contextualizes the author’s work as responses to political events that occurred from the Cuban revolution of the 1950s, which Vargas Llosa considered “a model within socialism,” to the current upheaval in “impoverished, damaged Venezuela, devastated by demagoguery and corruption” under the presidency of Nicolás Maduro. Castro’s regime lost Vargas Llosa’s respect in 1971 when the Cuban ruler imprisoned the poet Heberto Padilla for “counterrevolutionary criticism” expressed in his poems. In response to Padilla’s public humiliation—he was forced to engage in self-criticism—Vargas Llosa, along with dozens of other writers, sent a strident rebuke to Castro, communicating “shame and anger” over his repression of freedom and abuse of human dignity. Many essays argue for intellectual openness: “the way in which a country strengthens and develops its culture,” the author wrote in 1981, “is by opening its doors and windows, widely, to all intellectual, scientific, and artistic currents, stimulating the free circulation of ideas.” Headnotes would have been a welcome addition to the collection; although Granés dates each piece, there is no indication of where they appeared or for what occasion. An exception is a warm memoir of literary friendships delivered at the first “Canon of the Boom” Congress in Madrid in 2012.

Insightful essays express guarded hope for Latin America’s future.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-25373-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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