Edited by Carlos de la Torre & Cynthia J. Arnson
Woodrow Wilson Center Press, $27.00, 398 pages
Populism has been popular in Latin America for much of its history, from gaining its freedom from Spain in a revolutionary war; to modern day neo-populists, this ideal of populism has always had a strong hold on the imaginations of people. But what makes a political leader a populist, and what makes the idea of it worth fighting for? Those questions, and a few more, are discussed in this new book that examines modern day populists in Latin America, and focus on Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, though most of the other countries are mentioned. The contributors examine the many definitions of populism, and what they mean for society, and then they examine the region and determine if the modern politicians are truly populist or not.
This is defiantly a work for students of political science, they will enjoy this book because it examines each individual country of importance; instead of doing what many do, and that is a broad overview with few details. Average readers will still enjoy this book, because it will give open their eyes to the modern political though of the region; often ignored, or glossed over, by the press in the United States.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter