Colombia: Fragmented Land, Divided Society by Frank Safford and Marco Palacios

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Colombia: Fragmented Land, Divided Society is a comprehensive history of the third most populous country of Latin America. It offers the most extensive discussion available in English of the whole of Colombian history-from pre-Columbian times to the present. The book begins with an in-depth look at the earliest years in Colombia's history, emphasizing the role geography played in shaping Colombia's economy, society, and politics and in encouraging the growth of distinctive regional cultures and identities. It includes a thorough discussion of Colombian politics that looks at the ways in which historical memory has affected political choices, particularly in the formation and development of the country's two traditional political parties. The authors explore the factors that have contributed to Colombia's economic troubles, such as the delay in its national economic integration and its relative ineffectiveness as an exporter. The three concluding chapters offer an authoritative and up-to-date examination of the impact of coffee on Colombia's economy and society, the social and political effects of urban growth, and the multiple dimensions of the violence that has plagued the country since 1946. Written in clear, vigorous prose, Colombia: Fragmented Land, Divided Society is essential for students of Latin American history and politics, and for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the history of this fascinating and tumultuous country. 

Oxford University Press, 2002.
ISBN: 9780195046175. 404 pp.
Softcover. Very good.