Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” as Want to Read:
Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

by
4.27  ·  Rating details ·  14,677 ratings  ·  1,091 reviews
Since its U.S. debut almost fifty years ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx.

Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions,
...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Monthly Review Press (first published 1971)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónLa casa de los espíritus by Isabel AllendeLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García MárquezFicciones by Jorge Luis Borges
Libros en Español
683 books — 743 voters
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi KleinA People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn1984 by George OrwellManufacturing Consent by Edward S. HermanThe Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Best Left-Texts
458 books — 308 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,677 ratings  ·  1,091 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
Allen B. Lloyd
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez presented President Obama with a copy of Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America during a summit meeting in 2009 the intellectually gouty noise machine of the bourgeoisie began to flap its collective jowls, calling the gift an insult to America, and Obama's acceptance of it a sign of his acquiescence to communist influences. The truths contained in the gift were essentially ignored by the right-wind punditry, because truth and history have no place in ...more
Susan
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this book out of curiosity—and interest in Latin America. I was advised that it was just rant or left-wing rant, but decided to see for myself. I came away with this as the main idea: “in Latin America, free enterprise is incompatible with civil liberties” as Galeano says in his commentary on the book in an afterward. The book catalogues the exploitation of “the people” —usually the indigenous people—by South American oligarchies and by their European and North American affiliates.
It’s ce
...more
Miquixote
This guy writes fiction likes it's non-fiction and non-fiction likes it's fiction. He blends in and out better than anyone I know of. What beauty, what poetry, what defiance, what anger, what celebration, what satire, what humour. Sheer brilliance. Oh, and he does his research too.

Recommended related readings: Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Exterminate All the Brutes, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, The Wretched of the Earth.
John Gurney
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Open Veins was a title in the Hugo Chavez Book Club; the Venezuelan strongman surprised President Barrack Obama with a copy in 2009. Open Veins was written by a novelist in the vivid prose of a novel and the history takes many liberties, making it more like historic fiction. On pg. 283, author Galeano cited Chilean dictator Pinochet leaving “30,000 dead”, which didn’t ring true to my memory. A quick check of Wikipedia shows “various reports and investigations claim that between 1,200 and 3,200 ...more
Zanna
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an agonizingly lucid account of the of colonisation and depredation of a continent. Beginning with the continuing genocide of the native population, seguing into the advent of slavery and its replacement with hunger wages for the same back-breaking (or in the case of the mines, lung-destroying) “work” as the slaves were forced to carry out, and concluding with the neocolonial extraction of Latin American resources by the USA and Europe; whatever Latin America makes, he argues, its main e ...more
Tucker
Mar 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
Eduardo Galeano passionately recounts the horrific events of the last 7 centuries in Latin America. I am neither a history buff nor Latino insider, so I discovered quite a bit, even as I concurrently traveled and experienced aspects of the region firsthand. It should be noted, however, that the author applies no science or organization to his storytelling. Facts are obviously molded for dramatic appeal (handpicking specific dates, excerpts from JFK speeches, etc.). Footnotes are lacking for a st ...more
Jose Moa
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, history
A fundamental book for understand the ,social, economic,cultural,scientific and politic condition of Latin America.
A absolutely must to read for everybody, in special all Latin America inhabitants.

Perhaps somebody in a near future will write : "The Open Veins of Africa : Two Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent"
Roxanne (The Novel Sanctuary)
Incredibly informative, well researched and thought out book that provides context into how Latin America got to the state it is in today.
Neal Adolph
For the past month I have been collecting my thoughts and writing them out and putting them into paragraphs and shaping those paragraphs into a longer article of some sort. But nothing has yet coalesced into a thing I would call a review, or even a passable reflection. This book has left me with a complicated bundle of thoughts, and they seem to still transcend the pleasant shaping of words and punctuation into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into something that communic ...more
El Avestruz Liado
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
An indispensable, albeit controversial, book to understand Latin America. A work of impressive scope, essentially the history of a whole continent. Just not to confuse anyone about the ideological orientation of the author, the book is printed (at least in my edition) with a nice red cover.

Now, jokes aside, some parts of the book are written in a rather loud tone which many will consider is borderline on propaganda but let me suggest to the adventurous reader to just ignore that and delve into
...more
G RdM
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Galeano has a unique gift for writing about historical events in Latin America. I have read it so many times that I might need to buy a new copy just because the book is so worn!!
I see how some might not appreciate his brutal honestly and his decision to point a finger directly at those who raped the lands of Latin America and took with them the precious resources to fuel their wars and greed. At the same time, those resources were flushed out of our continent with the blood of the indigenou
...more
Todd
Galeano is a Uruguayan journalist/writer who has written a magesterial three-volume expansion on this book since it was published in 1970. It is really a jarring read, especially if you're not familiar with how badly Latin America has been exploited by first Spain and Portugal, then the British Empire, and then the United States. Galeano is particularly critical of the imperial forces beyond the shores of Latin American that have bled it dry for 500 years, but he's also sharply critical of the " ...more
Ivana
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to write this in English, in hope that everyone will pick up this book (which has been translated into many languages) and read it. No, this isn't just a book about Latin America. This is a book about the world, our world, and how it came to be. You don't live in Latin America? You don't speak Spanish? In fact, you live in, say, Iceland? Doesn't matter- you will find a link between what Galeano writes, and you. You are a product, or better stated- a victim, of what he postulates in this b ...more
James Klagge
A history of (the exploitation of) Latin America since the arrival of Europeans. The book was researched and written in the 1960s. So much has happened since then (such as Iran-Contra and our suppression of the revolution in Nicaragua; or NAFTA), but none of the events would change the story. It is a very long, sad, tragic story. Free trade comes only once restricted trade has allowed a country (the US, UK) to develop its own industries sufficiently to benefit from free trade. Then smaller count ...more
Kirti Upreti
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lenses. Colloquially, we often use this or that lens as our means to see the world. Look through the lens of socialism and you believe that a happy world is the world of equality. Look through the lens of capitalism and suddenly free and fair competition is imperative to your happiness. Spiritual and religious lenses would show you a world where eternal gratification awaits you in the afterlife. The examples are endless. What we call a lens is nothing but a kaleidoscope that guards the boundarie ...more
Jeremy
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a hugely important book when it first came out back in the early 1970s. Eduardo Galeano's survey and assessment of the brutal, impoverished history of latin american life at the hands of foreign interests has lost none of its underlying fury.

The laundry list of exploitation and unchecked human suffering chronicled here, which goes back to the days of Cortez, still has the power to make jaws drop even over 50 years after it was published. Gaelano digs deeply into the economic and politi
...more
Dianne
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
When Hugo Chavez recently handed this book to Obama, I decided I'd better take a look. The 1997 edition, handily on the shelf in my library, includes a beautifully written foreword by Isabel Allende. This book (plus ODES by Pablo Neruda) were the two books Allende took with her when evacuating Chile after the 1973 coup. I'm learning much about the oppression, colonization, and economic exploitation of Latin America, and feeling fairly stunned that I never knew about this 1973 book.
Sara Salem
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent history of Latin America from an anti-imperialist perspective. A must read for defenders of the IMF, World Bank, and global capitalist system. Heartbreaking.
Chrisl
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1970s, socenamer, lila, history
1/18/'18
Been watching Mercedes Sosa videos. They remind of Galeano.
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search...
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search...
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search...

And one by Jorge Drexler, a Uruguayan like Galeano.
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search...

The folks that post their assortment of pictures to accompany the songs provide sometimes "Oh, wow" views of Latin America.
1/11/'18

Nowadays, I've read enough history, reality, that escaping to historical fiction is prefer
...more
Edward Rathke
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful and important book. A thorough analysis of imperialism and colonialism in Latin America. He traces their history, not by region or chronology, but by the ways Latin America was bled dry by the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, and, finally and currently, the USA.

Galeano traces the influence of the natural resources that Latin America was blessed with, only to find this blessing their greatest curse and the source of these 500 years of exploitation. Gold, silver, cacao, cot
...more
Sookie
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Its 2017 and Common Wealth is still a thing.

Open veins of Latin America requires a certain degree of objective detachment to go through. It isn't just the content that the book offers but the long lasting effects of history, of shitty decisions that has forever changed the world and the people it contains. There is a singular thread of despair that runs across these geographies that succumbed to oppression for centuries.

Galeano writes a report on five centuries of pillaging of his homeland in t
...more
Sasha
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
So basically I think I really needed a "for dummies" version of this book, even though it is already intended to be for a general audience. I have minimal background in Latin American history and know close to nothing about political economy and so this was very difficult for me to read and absorb anything. I think I got the general take-aways and remember some specific facts/events/patterns, but for the most part, I don't think I got nearly as much as I should have out of reading this book. Als ...more
Morgan (Turbo)
The Opening chapters of this book are fascinating! It goes into much detail of the exploitation and enslavement of the indigenous peoples of south and central America. Most of the history is new to me. One fact that still stays with me is that the shipments of gold and goods coming into Spain and Portugal, from their respective conquests, were actually shipped right back out to other countries because of their substantial national debts.

On the other hand, the following chapters a bit boring. I
...more
Sara Anselmo
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I know I can be accused of sacrilege in writing about political economy in the style of a novel about love or pirates. But I confess I get a pain from reading valuable works by certain sociologists, political experts, economists, and historians who write in code. Hermetic language isn’t the invariable and inevitable price of profundity. In some cases it can simply conceal incapacity for communication raised to the category of intellectual virtue. I suspect that boredom can thus often serve to s ...more
Rob Prince
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I know, I know, this is the book that Chavez gave to Obama. Let us hope that the US president actually reads it and digests its content. Interestingly enough, I used this in a class I taught this past spring. The fact that Chavez offered to book to Obama greatly the likelihood that my students actually read it. Actually they had to as it was the subject matter of the mid term. I still think this is one of the best introductions to what in the `old days' we used to generally called U.S. Imperiali ...more
Deodand
This book is really about the world. Galeano doesn't miss anyone with his tar brush, rightfully so. If you've ever given any thought to the concept of Fair Trade you should probably read this book instead of just buying your Fair Trade cup o' joe at the local.

I didn't give this book more stars because Galeano jumps around quite a bit and the book is in need of more coherence. It might've been a smoother read if it had followed a time-line instead of proceeding in a looser form. It's also a book
...more
Natalie
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ugh. Depressing and informative and inspiring. So much complicated but crucial information. I wish this one hadn't been from the library. I wanted to keep it and reread sections over the coming months. Three weeks wasn't enough time to let it all sink in.

It has convinced me, again, that the struggle against global imperialism is the most important one on earth right now. But I still don't know how to participate in that struggle in a meaningful way.

The best I can say is, if everyone read this
...more
Nuno R.
One of the most fundamental books to understand current geopolitics, and how economical dependency is created, oligarchical structures arise to power and are maintained by foreign concerns, and where are the roots of underdevelopment. Not just in Latin America.
Karlo Mikhail
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book every social democrat praising the West European welfare state and a humane capitalism should read: their "socialism" is actually built on the blood and pillage of the Third World!
Kobe Bryant
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
History is kind of depressing isn't it, what about all the fun times people had in beautiful South America
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Los mitos de la historia argentina: la construcción de un pasado como justificación del presente
  • Bolívar: American Liberator
  • The Wretched of the Earth
  • O Povo Brasileiro: A Formação e o Sentido do Brasil
  • Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle
  • The State and Revolution
  • Operación Masacre
  • Bar del Infierno
  • Los mitos de la historia argentina 3
  • Women, Race & Class
  • Hopscotch
  • Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America
  • The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State
  • La resistencia
  • Ideias para Adiar o Fim do Mundo
  • Hitler ganó la guerra
  • El último apaga la luz: Obra selecta
  • Sintomas Mórbidos: a encruzilhada da esquerda brasileira
See similar books…
2,624 followers
Eduardo Galeano was 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 ob
...more

News & Interviews

  Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa’s highly anticipated new book, Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America, arrives...
6 likes · 0 comments
“The Nobodies

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping
poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on
them---will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn't rain down
yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn't even fall in a
fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their
left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right
foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody's children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the
no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life,
screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.
Who don't speak languages, but dialects.
Who don't have religions, but superstitions.
Who don't create art, but handicrafts.
Who don't have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have faces, but arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police
blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.”
130 likes
“Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others - the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neocolonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.” 51 likes
More quotes…