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Liberators: Latin America's Struggle for Independence [Paperback]

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Item Number 443271  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   524
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   1.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2002
Publisher   Overlook TP
ISBN  158567284X  
EAN  9781585672844  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In this "informative and inspiring volume" (Chicago Tribune), Robert Harvey reconstructs in vivid detail the gripping story of Latin America's independence and those who made it possible. Treated with contempt by their Spanish overlords, given to dissipation and grandiose proclamations, these fearless men nonetheless achieved military feats unsurpassed elsewhere in history. The aristocratic Simón Bolívar led his guerilla armies through swamp, jungle, and Andean ice to surprise his enemies and liberate most of northern South America. The inarticulate San Martín joined Bernardo O'Higgins, illegitimate son of a Spanish viceroy, to do the same in the south. These and five others waged the war for freedom against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, the American Revolution, the collapse of the Spanish Empire, and the revolutionary ferment of the nineteenth century. Despite the success of their revolutions, all seven liberators died in poverty, disgrace, or oblivion.
This fascinating and dramatic story takes in a vast range of martial experience, from butchery in the torrid Orinoco basin to a cavalry fought with lances 13,000 feet up in the mountains of Peru. It is one of the greatest and least-known epics of history, told here in unprecedented detail.

Buy Liberators: Latin America's Struggle for Independence by Robert Harvey, Susanne De Lotbiniere-Harwood, Spencer Locke, Praveen V Mummaneni, Frans Berkhout, A. Peterson & Cory Doctorow from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781585672844 & 158567284X

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More About Robert Harvey, Susanne De Lotbiniere-Harwood, Spencer Locke, Praveen V Mummaneni, Frans Berkhout, A. Peterson & Cory Doctorow

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Harvey is a former British MP who spent nine years on the foreign staff of "The Economist," where he became assistant editor. He lives in Powys, Wales and London.

Robert Harvey currently resides in London.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Brilliantly Readable  Sep 29, 2008
Harvey has clearly learned something from studying Simon Bolivar: faced with the difficulties and complexities of Latin American politics, he simply charges ahead, relying on energy and pace to see him through. As a result, like Bolivar, he is amazingly successful, despite a number of mistakes along the way. His great strength is his focus on the personalities of seven extraordinary men who deserve to be better known outside South America. The military accomplishments of Bolivar and San Martin in particular merit comparison with Hannibal and Alexander of Macedon. It was especially instructive to read this book soon after finishing the same author's work on North America's war of independence. The suffering of Venezuela alone makes one wonder what right Britain's colonists in North America had to complain about anything: compared with the South American wars, the North American war was a model of gentlemanly restraint on both sides. Yet one also comes to a better appreciation of the true greatness of George Washington. Latin America's great tragedy was that it found no real equivalent of Washington, whose unique combination of personal authority and restraint was essential to making the new republican democracy work. Bolivar had the inclination but not the character, whereas San Martin had the character but not the inclination. Many of Latin America's subsequent problems stem from the absence of a Washingtonian role model there - although Harvey makes the interesting point that the best candidates were probably two men who have been unfairly despised as pantomime emperors, Augustin of Mexico and Pedro of Brazil. This is a marvellous introduction to the history of a continent.
The players and History of the greatest task  Jan 13, 2008
If ever there was a task that was which was implausible and ever more needy, it was the liberation of the Americas, not a country but a mere continent. This books explains about the Heroes that made it possible. The peeks that each reached and the low points and disapointments that fallowed. Some would it was inevitable that these disappointments would fallow the liberations because of racists pretentions but this book shows the complicated works that each libarator faced and how they dealt with them after the humongous task of liberating the continent from Spain.

This is a great books in many levels. First it tells the story of every major liberator that took part in the Wars. It explains their reason as why they fought, their upbringing, how they dealt with the success and follies and how they all died. Most died in sorrow for they knew what libration might bring and they tried hard to avoid it but they could not push back the History that was already in place and the capricious people who would look only for their own interests and not the people's interest. Their is also horror in these pages, the cruelty of not just war but the terror in which it was fought. People were tortured to send a message on both sides. Their were so many heroes and villians and all of them are discribed in this book.

Be warry though because this is not an easy read. It is long and at times dull but this book gives you an excellent idea of that happeend during this period in time. This is a very complete and detailed study of the Liberation. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Serious reservations...  Jan 12, 2008
Like most North Americans, I was taught little about Latin America in school or university. Now that I live in South America, I have come to realize how unfortunate it is that a U.S. education seems to focus exclusively on European history (with a healthy dose of Afro-American culture). The history of Latin American liberation is a fascinating story that absolutely should be told, and the reader deserves a more serious and scholarly engagement than Harvey's book.
Harvey's book is well-written and exciting; its ambition is for popular history but it reads more like journalism than historical scholarlship. This makes sense, given Harvey's backround as a journalist, and by itself is not a flaw. The problem is that the book is totally devoid of footnotes, endnotes, and sources. Harvey does list a multilingual bibliography at the end of the book, but one is left putting an inordinate amount of faith in Harvey as historian. Throughout the book Harvey quotes copiously from important historical figures, such as Francisco de Miranda, Bolivar, and San Martin, as well as from Latin American scholars, and more minor personages and witnesses. In almost every case he neglects to give the source, date, or context of the quote. Was the excerpt from a diary?... a letter?... was it published?... who was intended to read it?... what language was it written in? (many figures like Miranda and Bolivar were multilingual)... who translated it for the book... Harvey?... Harvey's source?... Was it written in English?...
For an editor to allow these questions to remain unanswered is a case of complete incompetence; a work of "popular" history still must comform to a certain standard. This book would be unacceptible for a 9th grade history class.
An example: I was willing to accept these failures, however, due to the strength of the narrative, until I arrived at page 56, when Harvey writes of Miranda's return to London in 1808, and how the "radical" politician Edmund Burke "published a pamplet vigorously arguing that South America should be emancipated." Leaving aside the argument over whether Edmund Burke was "radical" or not, I then encountered a long quote on page 58 and was told that it was Edmund Burke firing off a "broadside" about a change of British policy with regard to South American independence in 1808 due to Napoleon's invasion of the Spanish Peninsula.
As somewhat of a literary scholar familiar with Burke, I was immediately stunned.
The problem is that Edmund Burke died 9 years earlier, in 1797, and so Harvey's quote and the facts of this part of the narrative are totally inaccurate and misleading, and because he provides no footnotes or sources, I could not approach the rest of the book without feeling dubious of his scholarship.
This is just one example of Harvey's inaccuracy. There are others, such as his elevation and overstatement of a "clerk" named Simon Rodriguez, and his supposed influence on the young Simon Bolivar (see John Lynch's 2006 biography of Bolivar for clarification). And I am not a history scholar; perhaps there is much more that I missed!... or perhaps not, but Harvey has left us with no way to confirm what he writes. And I don't think he does this out of any bias. It strikes me as pure laziness, on the part of he and his editor... not a good quality in an historian OR journalist!!!
This is unfortunate, and readers, even if they are "popular" readers, deserve better. If you are going to read this book, do so with perhaps some supplimentary material to confirm the facts, and if you are a high school or university student or professor, look elsewhere for accuracy. I am still waiting for a more reliable and scholarly book on the South American "Liberators."
Masterful Account of Liberation  Apr 1, 2007
Mr. Harvey has written a wonderfully engaging and human perspective on the OTHER American revolutions, the ones that brought down the oligarchial and reactionary Spanish Empire in this hemisphere. He writes of the awesome feats of bravery that time and time again fought against all odds. His portraits of Bolivar, San Martin, O'Higgins, Pedro Braganza, Iturbide, Cochrane, Sucre and the "supporting cast" doesn't shirk from revealing their all-too-human foibles either. Sadly, the legacy of their heroism has been obscured by the repetitive cycle of coup, caudillismo and so-called democracy in the liberated lands over the last 200 years. Equally lamentable is the fate of several of these heroes, who were shunned or worse by the people they freed. Kudoes to Harvey, not a historian by trade, who shows how good history should be written.
The Great Southern Eruption of Liberty   Aug 31, 2004
"Liberators," by Robert Harvey, is the most accessible popular history - in English - of the great spurt of revolution that swept South America in the early 19th century. Harvey uses the story of the Great Men of the revolution in order to weave together the events of the period, beginning with the great Precursor, Francisco Miranda, to the titans of the revolution - Liberators Simon Bolivar and San Martin, not to mention O'Higgins, Mendoza and Sucre, plus the mercenary Sea-Devil, Cochrane. He rounds off with chapters on the bloody rebellions that hit Mexico, plus the saga of Brazil's Emperor Pedro. Of the various players, Miranda comes across as the most sympathetic, mainly because of his cosmopolitan travels (he was a lover of Russia's Empress Catherine) and also becuase he didn't get his hands too bloody. Martin comes across as dour but brilliant; Bolivar, inevitably the star of the show, is painted as a great military leader on the scale of Alexander the Great, whose Andes campaign goes down as one of the greatest in history. As an Englishman, Harvey is at his best telling the story of Miranda and Cochrane, with their connections to Britain - one of whom, Cochrane, was a disgraced Member of Parliament; the other, Miranda, spent some time ingriguing with William Pitt. Also, as one versed in European history, Harvey is adept at drawing links between the Age of Reason, the age of European revolution and the Latin liberation movement.

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