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Colombia: A Concise Contemporary History

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Written by two leading historians, this deeply informed and accessible book traces the history of Colombia thematically, covering the past two centuries. In ten interlinked chapters, Michael J. LaRosa and German R. Mejia depart from more standard approaches by presenting a history of political, social, and cultural accomplishments within the context of Colombia's specific Written by two leading historians, this deeply informed and accessible book traces the history of Colombia thematically, covering the past two centuries. In ten interlinked chapters, Michael J. LaRosa and German R. Mejia depart from more standard approaches by presenting a history of political, social, and cultural accomplishments within the context of Colombia's specific geographic and economic realities. Their emphasis on cultural development, international relations, and everyday life contrasts sharply with works that focus only on Colombia's violent past or dwell on a Colombian economy deeply dependent on narcotics--a tragic nation that barely functions. Instead, the authors emphasize Colombia's remarkable national cohesion and endurance since the early nineteenth-century wars for independence. Including a photo essay, detailed chronology, and resource guide, this concise yet thorough history will be an invaluable resource for all readers seeking a thoughtful, definitive interpretation of Colombia's past and present.


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Written by two leading historians, this deeply informed and accessible book traces the history of Colombia thematically, covering the past two centuries. In ten interlinked chapters, Michael J. LaRosa and German R. Mejia depart from more standard approaches by presenting a history of political, social, and cultural accomplishments within the context of Colombia's specific Written by two leading historians, this deeply informed and accessible book traces the history of Colombia thematically, covering the past two centuries. In ten interlinked chapters, Michael J. LaRosa and German R. Mejia depart from more standard approaches by presenting a history of political, social, and cultural accomplishments within the context of Colombia's specific geographic and economic realities. Their emphasis on cultural development, international relations, and everyday life contrasts sharply with works that focus only on Colombia's violent past or dwell on a Colombian economy deeply dependent on narcotics--a tragic nation that barely functions. Instead, the authors emphasize Colombia's remarkable national cohesion and endurance since the early nineteenth-century wars for independence. Including a photo essay, detailed chronology, and resource guide, this concise yet thorough history will be an invaluable resource for all readers seeking a thoughtful, definitive interpretation of Colombia's past and present.

30 review for Colombia: A Concise Contemporary History

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    That there are so few books on Colombian history makes the failures of this work all the starker. There is in fact, though, much of matter to commend the book, and barely nothing of its structure to make it worthwhile. A complete disregard for chronology creates megawastes of text of repeated information that is not linked in any way to the surrounding material. I've read many histories of many countries but seen only a scant few that seemed to have no understanding of the basic nuance-less art That there are so few books on Colombian history makes the failures of this work all the starker. There is in fact, though, much of matter to commend the book, and barely nothing of its structure to make it worthwhile. A complete disregard for chronology creates megawastes of text of repeated information that is not linked in any way to the surrounding material. I've read many histories of many countries but seen only a scant few that seemed to have no understanding of the basic nuance-less art of writing straight-forward history. Here, you are treated to an opening chapter that promises such a sound sounding of Colombia's past. Unfortunately the rest of the disparate, thematic chapters are useless to the lay reader who will have no understanding of the people and events the book will repeatedly refer to without ever explaining anything to you! FARC, ELN, and cocaine will never be fully made clear to you! Pluses: a great chapter on Colombian arts which can't help but be out of context; a decent chapter, though completely isolated from any historical context, of Colombia's relations with its neighbors.

  2. 5 out of 5

    🌍 Marian

    Tematisk oppbygd, god bok for å forstå dagens Colombia - og den historien som har ført landet hit. Til tross for tung arv fra kolonitiden, store forskjeller, blodige konflikter og politisk strid er Colombia fortsatt ett land, med fantastiske mennesker, kultur og muligheter! Anbefales for alle med interesse for Colombia, og den som ønsker mer historisk dybde om et latinamerikansk land.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tom R.

    Sometimes when histories stick to just being a little chronological, they can be a little dry. What I really liked about this book is in every chapter it made a point of connecting the history of the past to what Colombia is like today. This made it far more interesting and easy to read than many books that give the history of the country. It focuses on different topics throughout the book, everything from violence to sports to transportation. Only constructive criticism I'd give to the authors is Sometimes when histories stick to just being a little chronological, they can be a little dry. What I really liked about this book is in every chapter it made a point of connecting the history of the past to what Colombia is like today. This made it far more interesting and easy to read than many books that give the history of the country. It focuses on different topics throughout the book, everything from violence to sports to transportation. Only constructive criticism I'd give to the authors is that there are way too many sentences that list things. This isn't an actual example but way too many sentences say things like "this caused a large social, cultural, and socioeconomic impact." When you keep reading sentences listing things like that the words lose their meaning and it would be better to keep it short. But other than that a great book that teaches you a lot about Colombian history and culture.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicolás

    A good introduction to foreigners on the dynamics of 'modern' Colombia

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Fackler

    I have no point of comparison regarding Columbian history so will just note a couple of things in relation to other historical works I have read. The writing style was informative, but repetitive. Topics would come up at different points in the text that were noted to have later explication or to have been developed earlier. Unfortunately, no reference was given to the pages where this further explication is. Towards the end of the text the author seemed to be just stringing together evidence with I have no point of comparison regarding Columbian history so will just note a couple of things in relation to other historical works I have read. The writing style was informative, but repetitive. Topics would come up at different points in the text that were noted to have later explication or to have been developed earlier. Unfortunately, no reference was given to the pages where this further explication is. Towards the end of the text the author seemed to be just stringing together evidence without any story-line. This made for dry and jumpy reading which makes for a great timeline, but does not make for smooth reading. I got what I wanted out of it, which was a better understanding of 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and look forward to learning more about Columbia when I next pick up the topic.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bryanna Plog

    A fairly well-written account of the history that lead to the Colombia of today, but read a bit too much like a series of academic papers cobbled together by the authors to prove their thesis of a country united despite itself. Still worth the read for anyone interested in Latin American history or wanting an introduction to Colombia beyond what Hollywood and the nightly news can offer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marcel Patulacci

    This book is perfectly appropriated for those who wish to discover Colombia and don't previously possess any knowledge about the country. It offers more than the history itself, a large overview on different aspects of the country in general, from the economy to the culture in modern times.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    An academic piece, but thoughtful and thorough in scope.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  10. 4 out of 5

    MELISSA VARGAS MARQUEZ

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Peterson

  12. 5 out of 5

    Richard Cowan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  14. 5 out of 5

    Juan Pablo

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maddie Stevens

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lincoln Swaine-Moore

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Francis

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Haley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lora Nelson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marce

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patricio Durrels

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kellen Johansen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Cooper

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ann Jacobson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Hernandez

  30. 4 out of 5

    Milu

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