The Latin Americans: Their Heritage and Their Destiny

The Latin Americans: Their Heritage and Their Destiny

The Latin Americans: Their Heritage and Their Destiny

The Latin Americans: Their Heritage and Their Destiny

Excerpt

A small book on Latin America must leave a lot unsaid. It is often necessary to make statements without the supporting evidence. The reader may be assured that no statement in this book is made lightly; it is backed up not only by data but also by a lifetime of travel and observation in all the countries of Latin America. This does not mean that the reader must agree with the judgments expressed. The author himself revises his opinions constantly in the light of new evidence and further reflection on the problems considered. Indeed, he hopes that this book will stimulate a candid and intelligent discussion rather than a curt rejection of unwelcome ideas.

The book contains, in addition to information, considerations on controversial, important, and sensitive issues. These are discussed candidly, without the jargon behind which some scholars like to hide and without the parochialism which makes some subjects and values taboo. The current demand for relevance is justified if it means that the immensely important issues which confront us must be faced honestly. No one discipline is competent to embrace all the subjects discussed, and the book is addressed to a wide audience with a variety of interests.

This is not a textbook of Latin American geography, history, economics, literature, or of any one of the established "disciplines"; rather is it a synthesis of all of them. No attempt is made to cover each field. It is indeed difficult to distinguish between fields; they are all related and intertwined, and the same subject may thus reappear in a different context in various chapters. The stress is on those significant and relevant matters which are important for the understanding of the total picture. Hopefully, the interest thus aroused will be translated into a more detailed study of those areas in which the reader wishes to go deeper and in which the bibliography will provide guidance.

Ronald Hilton . . .

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