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Silver, Sword and Stone: The Story of Latin America in Three Extraordinary Lives

Marie Arana

7 Reviews

Rated 0

History of the Americas

A thousand years of Latin American history, told through the three obsessions that have held the region tightly in its grip.

The timeless stories of three contemporary Latin Americans whose lives represent three driving forces that have shaped the character of the region: exploitation, violence, and religion.

Leonor Gonzales, a miner's widow, lives in a tiny community perched in the Andean cordillera of Peru, the highest human habitation on earth.

Carlos Buergos is a Cuban who fought in the civil war in Angola and was among hundreds of criminals Cuba expelled to the USA.

Xavier Albo is a Jesuit priest from Barcelona who emigrated to Bolivia, where he works among the indigenous people.

In Silver, Sword and Stone Marie Arana seamlessly weaves these stories with the history of the past millennium to explain three enduring themes that have defined Latin America since pre-Columbian times: the foreign greed for its mineral riches, an ingrained history of violence, and the abiding power of religion. What emerges is a vibrant portrait of a people whose lives are increasingly intertwined with our own.

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Praise for Silver, Sword and Stone: The Story of Latin America in Three Extraordinary Lives

  • Arana's strength is the power and passion of her storytelling, and her explanation of what has shaped Latin America over the past half-millennium has the ring of truth . . . [a] marvelous book - WASHINGTON POST

  • Like a Condor soaring above the Andes, Marie Arana gives a sweeping overview of Latin American history. History is usually written by the winners, but this book throbs with passion for the victims and underdogs. It also celebrates the cultural triumphs, exuberance, and generosity that make Latin America so lovable

  • To trace the soul of a continent is an extraordinary feat, and Marie Arana does it with scholarly precision, moral thoroughness, and elegance of style. For anyone interested in understanding what Latin America is and where it comes from, SILVER, SWORD AND STONE has to be the very first step

  • An elegant and incisive writer and observer, Marie Arana has given us a thoughtful and revealing portrait of the fabled - and too-little-understood - world of Latin America. Combining history with contemporary reportage, SILVER, SWORD AND STONE is compelling reading

  • Through the power and beauty of her writing, Arana brings extraordinary clarity to one of the most complex regions of the world. I have never before read a book of such astonishing breadth and intricate depth, capturing both the magnificent sweep of history and the gripping immediacy of journalism. The stories she tells will break your heart and blow your mind, but they will also give you a much clearer understanding of Latin America and a deep sense of wonder at the strength and resilience of its people

  • Her energy and verve will no doubt attract many readers. - GUARDIAN

  • Arana's timely and excellent volume is not a history. It's not one of those cultural safaris one often sees substituted for thoughtful writing about global regions. Her book is a combination of stories, journalism, history and most important, insight... Arana gives us an epic story of stories - of regions conjoined by desire for treasure, power and control, and of the emotional mortar which binds people together through endurance. - NPR

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