Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: The Sandinistas and Nicaragua since 1979/the Education of a Radical: An American Revolutionary in Sandinista Nicaragua

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: The Sandinistas and Nicaragua since 1979/the Education of a Radical: An American Revolutionary in Sandinista Nicaragua

Article excerpt

The Sandinistas and Nicaragua Since 1979 edited by david close, salvador Martí i Puig, and shelley a. McConnell. Lynne Rienner, 2011, 365 pp. $69.95.

The Education of a Radical: An American Revolutionary in Sandinista Nicaragua by michael johns. University of Texas Press, 2012, 142 pp. $45.00 (paper, $24.95).

Nicaragua is a country of active volcanoes, romantic poets, and Byzantine politics, a place where the tone is set by schizophrenic swings, from the lofty hopes of utopian dreamers to the sordid schemes of corrupt caudillos. In The Sandinistas and Nicaragua Since 1979, scholars sympathetic to the Nicaraguan revolution of the 1980s grapple with the transformation of the Sandinistas from youthful idealists into powerful elites enjoying unprincipled privileges. The Education of a Radical attributes this familiar transition to the limitations of political ideology and the inherent imperfections of human nature.

The contributors to the first book review the heady, hopeful days following the overthrow of the Somoza dynasty, locating the roots of the Sandinistas' top-down centralization in the clandestine nature of the guerrilla struggle and, perhaps, in the nation's entrenched authoritarian political culture. They lament the eventual hegemony of President Daniel Ortega and the obsessive power politics that have shaped his rule. Yet the country has witnessed many positive changes since the 1979 revolution, including the partial democratization of political and civic life, the expansion of antipoverty programs within a stable macroeconomic framework, and the pursuit of a more balanced, smarter foreign policy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.