Peruvian American journalist Marie Arana has just written a sweeping history of Latin America.
“Silver, Sword and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story” highlights the continent’s persistent economic inequality, racism and violence – and three obsessions that she says “have held Latin Americans fast for the past millennium.”
Arana is an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the former editor-in-chief of the Washington Post’s Book World.
“I have focused in this book on the three things that really moved populations and sort of prevailed on the lives of the people of Latin America to change their lives,” said Arana. “I dwell on the three major things that have done that. And those are the extractive nature of the society – we’ve always pulled things out, we’ve always given things away. Thus the ‘silver.’
“The ‘sword’ is the violence – we were created in violence. There was the very violent conflict of the conquests (and) before that the tribes were violent unto themselves because they were conquering each other. And we have gone on to be one of the most violent regions on Earth. The ten most violent cities in the world are all in Latin America.
“As to the stone portion of it. It’s religion and faith and how that informs us and how that has always been in some way allied to power in Latin America,” she said.
Read an excerpt from “Silver, Sword, and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story.”