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Coffee and Power: Revolution and the Rise of Democracy in Central America
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Coffee and Power: Revolution and the Rise of Democracy in Central America

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  29 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
In the revolutionary decade between 1979 and 1992, it would have been difficult to find three political systems as different as death-squad-dominated El Salvador, peaceful social-democratic Costa Rica, and revolutionary Sandinista Nicaragua. Yet when the fighting was finally ended by a peace plan initiated by Costa Rica's President Oscar Arias, all three had found a common ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 13th 1998 by Harvard University Press (first published 1997)
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Feb 11, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: central-america
Growing, harvesting, processing and exporting coffee has been the main economic life of Central America for the past one hundred years. The families who make up the “coffee elite” control much of the financial power and social organization of El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Those nations were in very different political and economic situations at the end of the last century. Costa Rica, the country that never really hits the headlines, is a social democracy with a functioning civil society
Oct 08, 2013 Carol rated it liked it
Since I'm not accustomed to reading books on political / economic history, this was slow reading. I'm actually surprised that I got past the first chapter, which was kind of like reading the Bible from the beginning, with all of the "begots" of the oligarchy of El Salvador. Nonetheless, it did help me understand better the differing histories and dynamics of El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica (and to a limited extent Guatemala.) Since it mostly concentrated on the role of large coffee produc ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Raul rated it liked it
This is NOT an easy read! The reason is that Jeffrey Paige does two different things in this book, while comparing and contrasting three different Central American countries (El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua), with an occasional reference to a fourth on, Guatemala. One of these is to compile the political history of the countries from 1929 through the 1970, on the basis of a wide variety of sources (including interviews), with special emphasis on how each of these histories has been shaped ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it
Jeffrey Paige is an excellent sociologist who provides an in-depth look at three countries in Central America. Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador are all explored throughout this book. There are occasional references to Guatemala but overall the other three are considered because their development has similarities. While they are different in the way they developed economically and socially they came form similar backgrounds. Similar governments formed in all three according to Paige and the e ...more
Jul 29, 2010 Robert rated it liked it
I read this book for a class, and I am going to reread it this summer
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