The Great Depression in Latin America

The Great Depression in Latin America

Book Pages: 376 Illustrations: 8 tables, 2 figures Published: September 2014

History > Latin American History, World History, Latin American Studies

Although Latin America weathered the Great Depression better than the United States and Europe, the global economic collapse of the 1930s had a deep and lasting impact on the region. The contributors to this book examine the consequences of the Depression in terms of the role of the state, party-political competition, and the formation of working-class and other social and political movements. Going beyond economic history, they chart the repercussions and policy responses in different countries while noting common cross-regional trends--in particular, a mounting critique of economic orthodoxy and greater state intervention in the economic, social, and cultural spheres, both trends crucial to the region's subsequent development. The book also examines how regional transformations interacted with and differed from global processes. Taken together, these essays deepen our understanding of the Great Depression as a formative experience in Latin America and provide a timely comparative perspective on the recent global economic crisis.

Contributors. Marcelo Bucheli, Carlos Contreras, Paulo Drinot, Jeffrey L. Gould, Roy Hora, Alan Knight, Gillian McGillivray, Luis Felipe Sáenz, Angela Vergara, Joel Wolfe, Doug Yarrington


“[A]n excellent collection of essays by an accomplished group of Latin American, US, and UK scholars.  Breaking new ground in its treatment of the Great Depression's impact on Latin America, in nine country-focused chapters, contributors examine issues illuminating the impact of the Depression on the six largest economies (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico) as well as Chile, Cuba, and Central America. . . . In sum, the collection provides a wealth of detail and undermines the idea that there was a single set of responses to the Great Depression or a uniform impact across countries and regions. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.” — J. Gerber, Choice

“The Great Depression, it would seem, remains an essential source of the debates that we are still having about the role of the state in the economy and monetarism. This book, therefore, is of real value to students and teachers of Latin American history. The collection offers a full picture of the impact and consequences of the Depression across much of the region, with chapters focusing on individual countries, from Mexico to Argentina.” — Eugene Carey, Latin American Review of Books

"The excellent book, again, does not concertedly recast the decade into a new overarching interpretation; rather, it successfully diversifies and deepens the 1930s beyond its fairly well-known economic determinants and dimensions. This book will prove highly useful to specialists and other readers looking for a broad updated background on Latin America’s active engagement with the 1930s crisis." — Paul Gootenberg, Journal of Latin American Studies

"Drinot, Knight, and their contributors have produced an impressive volume. Not only is it of interest to economists and scholars of economic shocks from every discipline, but those with an interest in—or responsibility for policy toward—Latin America will find it a rich source of insights."  — David S. C. Chu, Journal of Economic Literature

"[T]he book succeeds in grounding the Great Depression in broader political, social, economic, and cultural processes, dismissing easy generalizations and revealing similarities and differences among Latin American countries.... [T]his book is a significant addition that will be of interest to scholars and general public alike on a topic whose contemporary relevance, once again, has been highlighted by the recent global economic crisis." — Jorge A. Nállim, Labour/Le Travail

"All the chapters make thought-provoking arguments that historians will find useful when discussing the period." — James P. Brennan, American Historical Review

"With The Great Depression in Latin America, Paulo Drinot and Alan Knight provide students and teachers of Latin American history with a valuable survey of a pivotal period. . . . [T]his volume does an admirable job of representing the diversity of experience that was Latin American in the 1920s and 1930s." — Julia Sloan, History Teacher

"Here are new histories of political economy which give rich contrasts and comparisons for those studying fascism, communism and corporatism in Europe and North America." — William Booth, History

"[A]n informative and worthwhile read. Comprising a wealth of both political and economic information, it is suitable reading for the expert and non-expert alike." — N. Clark Capshaw, International Dialogue

"In The Great Depression in Latin America, leading Latin Americanists address an important and timely topic from new perspectives, paying more attention to the cultural and social repercussions of the Depression in Latin America than have previous studies. A number of the essays take strong revisionist stands that will garner a lot of attention, and Paulo Drinot's introduction and Alan Knight's conclusion do a wonderful job of framing and enhancing the already strong essays."
— Steven Topik, coeditor of From Silver to Cocaine

"At last we have a broad new look at the impact of the Great Depression in Latin America, the most comprehensive and penetrating in a generation. Chapters by top scholars challenge past accounts of the economic collapse itself as well as its impact on politics and policymaking, the eruption of social movements, and the salience of class, race, and gender in the process. Without sacrificing the immense differences across countries and regions, this volume points to a much needed new synthesis."
— John Coatsworth, Columbia University

"This impressive collection breaks new ground in its treatment of the Great Depression's impact on Latin America. Gone are over-simplified emphases on populism, state cooptation of the masses, and the replacement of export-driven economies. In their place we have a more complex treatment of regional differences in the scale and impact of the Depression and of state responses to economic dislocation, as well as of the agency of protagonists like local bourgeoisies, foreign investors, workers, and women. This is obligatory reading for students of twentieth century Latin American political, economic and social history."
— Barry Carr, coeditor of The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics


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Price: $28.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Paulo Drinot is Senior Lecturer in Latin American History at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. He is the author of The Allure of Labor: Workers, Race, and the Making of the Peruvian State and editor of Che's Travels: The Making of a Revolutionary in 1950s Latin America, both also published by Duke University Press.

Alan Knight is Professor of the History of Latin America at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Mexico: The Colonial Era; Mexico: From the Beginning to the Spanish Conquest; and The Mexican Revolution (two volumes).

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction / Paulo Drinot 1

1. The Impact of the Depression on Argentine Society / Roy Horn 22

 2. Chilean Workers and the Great Depression, 1930–1938 / Angela Vergara 51

3. Change with Continuity: Brazil from 1930 to 1945 / Joel Wolfe 81

4. The Great Depression in Peru / Paulo Drinot and Carlos Contreras 102

5. Export Protectionism and the Great Depression: Multinational Corporations, Domestic Elite, and Export Policies in Colombia / Marcelo Bucheli and Luis Felipe Sáenz 129

6. Political Transition in an Age of Extremes: Venezuela in the 1930s / Doug Yarrington 160

7. Indigenista Dictators and the Problematic Origins of Democracy in Central America / Jeffrey L. Gould 188

8. The Character and Consequences of the Great Depression in Mexico / Alan Knight 213

9. Cuba: Depression, Imperialism, and Revolution, 1920-1940 / Gillian McGillivray 246

10. The Great Depression in Latin America: An Overview / Alan Knight 276

Contributors 341

Index 345
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5750-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5738-4
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