Cover: Latin America’s Cold War, from Harvard University PressCover: Latin America’s Cold War in PAPERBACK

Latin America’s Cold War

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$25.00 • £21.95 • €22.95

ISBN 9780674064270

Publication Date: 03/05/2012


408 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

17 halftones


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Brands takes aim at those mainstream historians writing on Western Hemispheric relations who have portrayed the United States as an overwhelmingly powerful hegemon whose destructive interventions are responsible for the region’s sufferings. Delving into Latin American archives, Brands counters that Latin Americans have been active participants in their own history—in both their domestic politics and international diplomacy. During the Cold War, Washington and Moscow often had poor understandings of these local dynamics, so their ill-designed policies frequently failed; even those strategies that momentarily succeeded generated blowback and unintended consequences. As Brands persuasively argues, the true story of Latin America’s role in the Cold War lies in the dynamic interactions between international forces and domestic actors. Tragically, both the United States and the Soviet Union exacerbated the region’s already polarized politics, and the ensuing violent clashes rendered asunder fragile democracies. Fortunately, today many citizens in Latin America and many in Washington policy circles have drawn the right lessons from history, seeking to strengthen democratic institutions—and not overreacting to the provocations of the latest crop of neopopulists.—Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs

Globally, analysts claim that the Cold War provided stability and structure. Brands finds a different outcome in Latin America of the four decades of the Cold War (i.e., the 1940s through the early 1990s)… Brands’s study will stand as the definitive work in the years ahead.—J. A. Rhodes, Choice

In an entertaining yet rigorous book, Brands walks the reader through the key events of the cold war in Latin America. Contrary to the thesis that revolutions are inevitable throughout Latin America, he shows that they are actually rare, and that conservatism more nearly reflects the trajectory of Latin America than revolution. This intelligent, sensible, and convincing work argues that Latin America’s international conflicts require a comprehensive understanding of the perspectives of all the key actors, not just the United States.—Robert A. Pastor, American University

An outstanding book, well written and extremely well conceived in its coverage and structure. This is a major contribution to cold war history, and will undoubtedly become the standard work on Latin America and the cold war. Brands has produced an important study that provides a real service to readers.—Odd Arne Westad, author of The Global Cold War

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