Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World
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Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  1,131 ratings  ·  63 reviews
In a series of mock lesson plans and a "program of study" Galeano provides an eloquent, passionate, funny and shocking exposé of First World privileges and assumptions. From a master class in "The Impunity of Power" to a seminar on "The Sacred Car"—with tips along the way on "How to Resist Useless Vices" and a declaration of the "The Right to Rave"—he surveys a world uneve...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 5th 2001 by Picador (first published 1998)
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Mirrors by Eduardo GaleanoUpside Down by Eduardo GaleanoWhite Like Me by Tim WisePrivilege, Power, and Difference by Allan G. JohnsonSpeaking Treason Fluently by Tim Wise
Black, White, and Beyond
2nd out of 20 books — 1 voter
Off-Topic by G.R. ReaderI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouThe Communist Manifesto by Karl MarxThe Second Sex by Simone de BeauvoirA Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
The Revolution Starts Here
66th out of 73 books — 27 voters

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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This goes on and on and on and on about what is wrong with the world today, and yesterday, and its grim prospects tomorrow, the seeming hopelessness of the future so that there was a point where I felt I couldn't take it anymore, shocked that I live in this planet, and looked at my two children as mistakes. I felt my whole being weakening, like I was in an onset of a fatal food poisoning that will lead to my death in a couple of hours.

A world turned upside down. A relentless, cruel oration expla...more
Thom Foolery
As other reviewers have noted, Galeano doesn't provide footnotes to back up his assertions, which makes this book a rant and not a treatise. It is a breathtaking rant, though, with language as beautiful as the world it describes is ugly. Plus, Galeano does provide a list of sources at the end, if the reader needs further convincing that Galeano's description of the "Looking-Glass world" is spot-on.

Here are some of Galeano's own words:

The "killer instinct" is an essential ingredient for getting a
Dimitris Hall
Η ανάπτυξη
Μια γέφυρα δίχως ποτάμι.
Ψηλές προσόψεις κτιρίων δίχως τίποτε από πίσω.
Ο κηπουρός ποτίζει το πλαστικό γρασίδι.
Κυλιόμενες σκάλες που δεν οδηγούν πουθενά.
Ο αυτοκινητόδρομς που μας δίνει τη δυνατότητα να γνωρίσουμε τόπους, που εξαιτίας του έχουν καταστραφεί.
Η οθόνη της τηλέορασης δείχνει μια τηλεοπτική συσκεύη που περιέχει μιαν άλλη τηλεοπτική συσκευή μέσα στην οποία υπάρχει μια τηλεοπτική συσκευή.

Ο ήλιος δύει στα τέλη του αιώνα
Είναι δηλητηριασμένο το χώμα που θα μας σκεπάσει ή θα μας εξ
Steev Hise
"Open Veins of Latin America" is better. Galeano is still brilliant but quite a bit too strident in this book, with all these unsupported, radical assertions (which i fully believe, but skeptics will just scoff) about the horrors the powerful exert on the poor.

Strangely enough I have a used copy once owned by at least 1 student - I frankly am baffled as to why a professor would assign this book for some class full of clueless college sophomores. Much better to start with "Open Veins" or somethi...more
Louella Mahabir
Not because I loved it. Upside down was not nice at all. It's like taking all journalists' cynicism and rolling it up in a giant ball then rolling it towards the reader. Eduardo is a very intelligent writer from Uruguay who "LOVES" politics and was so very disgusted with the world when this was written. The sentiments spread after having read it.

Scary good. Read at your own peril...
Eva Chafi
Este libro, a diferencia de otros del autor que leí, está escrito como novela, digamos, más bien comouna larga investigación escrita en prosa de la injusticia, intercalando pequeños "cuentitos" en recuadros, más o menos cada dos páginas. Esa estructura lo hizo un poco más difícil, sobre todo teniendo en cuenta la seriedad y realismo del tema.
Dos cosas le bajaron el puntaje:
1) Es del 99, así que los datos no están muy actualizados.
2) ¿Es necesario quejarse de TODO? No soy defensora a ultranza del...more
Ezequiel L.C.
Galeano fiel a su estilo, muy interesante y completo. Toca todos los temas que a una persona pensante deberían inquietar (consumismo, medios de comunicación, recursos naturales, etc) y los analiza desde un enfoque muy original. Por momentos algo denso, pero vale la pena.
Galeano's writing is so poetic even when he's writing about the savage inequities of the world. Makes me wish I could read his original Spanish text instead of a translation so I could understand more of the lyricism and nuances of his words.
Galeano's Upside Down evokes as many emotions as there are problems in the world. The cleverly written book at times can make the reader pull out one's hair in frustration and cry in the hopelessness of the world we live in. He doesn't write what many people already don't know but he states what many of us fear to acknowledge and fear is the primary theme of the book. We live in a fearful society that fears everything including "foreigners," neighbours, food, water, air, economy, wealth or lack...more
Aldo Ojeda
En este libro, Eduardo Galeano hace una extensa y feroz crítica de la situación política, económica y social que se veía en el mundo a finales del siglo XX. Página tras página incluye ejemplos de las acciones políticas hablando fuertemente a favor de la corrupción y de la destrucción del planeta, de cómo se enseña que para triunfar, para tener éxito, dinero y poder, hay que robar, hay que aprovecharse de todo y de todos.

El problema es que Patas arriba no es propositivo. Las reflexiones de Galean...more
Journalist, historian, poet, author — there is no other writer whose style is comparable to that of Eduardo Galeano. The Uruguayan penner, best known for his acclaimed Memory of Fire trilogy, further indicts our culture of privilege in Upside Down. Comprised of a series of illuminating vignettes, Galeano, with his trademark wit, sarcasm, and adroit phrasings, turns his unerring critique onto the vapidity and shallowness of our modern world. Whether decrying violence, consumerism, ecological degr...more
Carly Drake
I read a review in which this book was described as a rant, and I'd have to agree - an eloquent, feisty, brilliant rant. I have only encountered Galeano in bits and pieces across my academic life, so it was nice to sit down with him and get to know him a little better. I feel like he and Naomi Klein could be friends; this work brings together ideas about so many different aspects of modern life (economics, politics, food, culture) and I appreciated his astute and uncompromising insights. My read...more
Wow! Talk about opening my eyes to how our society sets our youth up for failure!! I still refer to this book from time to time for solid examples of abuse of power and twisted ethics. Example: have you ever seen a billboard in the wealthy neighborhoods advertising expensive sneakers or must-have gadgets? Not likely to see billboards at ALL in wealthy neighborhoods yet, they can afford it and most likely already have it. How twisted that when you drive through the low-income neighborhoods there...more
A cleverly written polemic that puts a great lens on globalized inequality as viewed by Latin America. Only a bit dated after 15 years, but definitely long-winded.
Anita Trabal
Brilliant book. Recommend it to anyone looking for a different perspective on the whole and why it is the way it is.
A rereading. Galeano is always worth a second or third look. This book in particular rises from the preachy, infuriated side of the liberal/socialist universe, but shows in plain view the harsh, brutally selfish and divided world we have become from the capitalism propped up by the police/military/political establishment and our own complacency. Nothing really shocking for anyone willing to delve deeper below the surface. Images of "City of God" kept running through my mind in the sections on Ri...more
My brother gave me this book as a present. It took me awhile to get through it because I kept setting it down for long periods. This also means I don't remember a lot of what the author said in the first half, but I remember really liking it! Its the kind of book that is easy to read in sections. A lot of the information he presented was not super surprising for me (although I can see how the book was eye-opening for my brother) but it was a good reminder that I know nothing about the US's invol...more
The best of Eduardo Galeano. What would happen if we lived in an upside down world? Perhaps we already know.
Karlo Mikhail
This is a crushing satirical expose of the glaring inequalities and injustices of a world turned upside down that many has come to be desensitized as “normal.” Here is one my favorite lines from Galeano’s mock lesson plans: “The worst violators of nature and human rights never go to jail. They hold the keys… the countries that guard the peace also make and sell the most weapons. The most prestigious banks launder the most drug money and harbor the most stolen cash. The most successful industries...more
One could conceive of this book as Galeano's reporting and reflecting on neoliberal capitalism (it was originally published in 1998). While much of the analysis may well seem trite today, the book is a thoroughly satisfying quick read: conceived as a series of satirical lesson plans, these pages of punchy prose evince Galeano's moving skills at ripping away the fetish of bourgeois ideology and representing the suffering of human beings without succuming to either pornographic exploitation or rom...more
Uno de los mejores de Galeano. Una serie de pequños artículos, notas y críticas que se van sucediendo unas a otras en torno a temas comunes o conexos y permiten entrever muchas de las situaciones aparentemente absurdas, ilógicas o simplemente inverosimiles pero que demuestran la propia lógica del mundo o la falta de lógica de nuestras sociedades. La gran ventaja es que es un libro completo pero puede leerse como artículos lo que hace su lectura mucho más breve pero a la vez permite releerse con...more
Ryan Mishap
An awesome, wry book from this prolific writer from Uraguay. Here, he takes a gander at the "first world" and all its consumerism, brutality, exploitation, and ideologies. then, he determines that, in the first world, everything is upside down.
The little "aside" boxes are alternatley hilarious and horrendous. He is adept at using everyday reality--contradictions, violence, and absurdist extremes--to turn the reader onto radical ideas and new thought directions. Recommended!
as much as i agreed with some of his points, and at times they were made very well, this was a little too all over the place for me. i think the way it was written made it feel like rhetoric, maybe because of the lack of actual citations for all of the incidents he referred to. i really wanted to love it, and i'm in total agreement with much of it, but it just seemed too much like a rant to be credible, which was disappointing.
Now, if you like your history clearly written from a particular point of view, Galeano is the man. I don't know how he maintains such a consistent sense of outrage and injustice, but I admire him for it, and I find his books - while not necessarily comforting or enjoyable - always thought-provoking. This is more lyrical and less historical, more biting social commentary than literature, but so far, so good.
Jimi Gilroy
Latin American perspective to world politics. A great read for anyone who is a consumer or knows one. Lots of wood block prints and little, dirty tidbits about the global economy and politicians. I read it in Spanish which I recommend if you can. Galeano uses a sophisticated vocabulary that has given me the impetus to talk more passionately to talk about politics in Spanish.
Stefany GG
Este libro te da un par de cachetadas para que te mantengas atento a lo que sucede en tu alrededor. No todo está perdido si uno pone su corazón para mejorar nuestro porvenir, aunque eso parezca un delirio. "El autor terminó de escribir este libro en 1998. Si quiere usted saber cómo continúa, lea, escuche o mire las noticias de cada día.
Cecilia Gonzalez
The naked truth! would this book change slightly the view the ones in the north have for the south?. Not recommended if you don't give a S·%$& about the rest of the world. Every page, every word is accurate, but it made me sick to have so much reality together and realize this things won't change in years and years to come.
Written in 1997 this book is seriously amazing! It's a great look at the horror that we impose on the countries that afford us our lovely lifestyles.
If five hundred years of oppression, pillage, rape and murder are too much for you to read about, I wouldn't recommend it for you. Maybe try a kid's book or something
Amé este libro, a pesar de la ideología de Galeano este libro muestra claramente la desigualdad política, económica y social que lamentablemente se vive en los países del sur del mundo, los tristemente llamados, por Galeano "países al revés".
Salvador Garza
Great book, great ideas, great exposition. Most probably the majority of the events are altered to fit the argument, but none the less the idea is clear and simple. But after a while you get bored of the author complaining about EVERYTHING
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Eduardo Galeano is a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist. His best known works are Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire Trilogy, 1986) and Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America, 1971) which have been translated into twenty languages and transcend orthodox genres: combining fiction, journalism, political analysis, and history.

The author himself has proclaimed his obs...more
More about Eduardo Galeano...
Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent The Book of Embraces Soccer in Sun and Shadow Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone Genesis (Memory of Fire, #1)

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“Si Eva hubiera escrito el Génesis, ¿cómo sería la primera noche de amor
del género humano? Eva hubiera empezado por aclarar que ella no nació de
ninguna costilla, ni conoció a ninguna serpiente, ni ofreció manzanas a nadie,
y que Dios nunca le dijo que parirás con dolor y tu marido te dominará. Que
todas esas historias son puras mentiras que Adán contó a la prensa.”
“Human rights pale beside the rights of machines. In more and more cities, especially in the great metropolises of the South, people have been banned. Automobiles usurp human space, poison the air, and frequently murder the interlopers who invade their conquered territory -and no one lifts a finger to stop them. Is there a difference between violence that kills by car and that which kills by knife or bullet?" (p.231)” 8 likes
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