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THE COSTA RICA READER:
History, Culture, Politics

Authors: Steven Palmer and Ivan Molina

Long characterized as an exceptional country within Latin America, Costa Rica has been hailed as democratic oasis in a continent scorched by dictatorship and revolution; the ecological Mecca of a biosphere laid waste by deforestation and urban blight; and an egalitarian, middle-class society blissfully immune to the violent class and racial conflicts that have haunted the region. Arguing that conceptions of Costa Rica as a happy anomaly downplay its rich heritage and diverse population, The Costa Rica Reader brings together text and artwork designed to reveal the complexity of the country's past and present. It characterizes Costa Rica as a site of alternatives and possibilities that undermine stereotypes about the region's history and challenge the idea that current dilemmas facing Latin America are inevitable or insoluble.

This introduction to Costa Rica includes more than fifty texts related to the country's history, culture, politics, and natural environment. Most of these newspaper accounts, histories, petitions, memoirs, poems, and essays are written by Costa Ricans. The authors are men and women, young and old, scholars, farmers, workers, and activists. The book presents a panoply of voices: eloquent working-class raconteurs from San José's poorest barrios, English-speaking Afro-Antilleans of Limón province, Nicaraguan immigrants, factory workers, dissident members of the intelligentsia, and indigenous people struggling to preserve their culture. With more than forty black and white images, the collection showcases sculptures, photographs, maps, cartoons, and fliers. From the time before the arrival of the Spanish, through the rise of the coffee plantations and the Civil War of 1948, up to participation in today's globalized world, Costa Rica's remarkable history comes alive.

$22.95 (softcover)
Titles currently in the series:
Argentina Brazil Costa Rica Cuba Mexico Peru
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