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The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself
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The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  177 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Colombia's status as the fourth largest nation in Latin America and third most populous—as well as its largest exporter of such disparate commodities as emeralds, books, processed cocaine, and cut flowers—makes this, the first history of Colombia written in English, a much-needed book. It tells the remarkable story of a country that has consistently defied modern Latin Ame ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published February 9th 1993 by University of California Press (first published January 10th 1993)
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Miguel Torres barrios
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a Colombian, who has read a lot about Colombia, and who grew up outside of Colombia, I found this book very refreshing. For once, it is a cold and straightforward view of the history and politics of Colombia, void of any of the "patriotic feel" or "nationalistic fervour" I so hate when reading works on Colombia by Colombian authors; this book is not trying to make you fall in love with Colombia, nor hate it, it's just neutral and historically accurate, and this is why I love it and put it abo ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Okay, so three years later I finally finished this book. It wasn't nearly as boring as I remembered. I found it interesting and informative. However, it wasn't as interesting as some histories I've read, nor as informative as I would have liked. I suppose that's to be expected when it really is quite short. It did serve it's purpose of giving me a general overview of Colombian history, but I definitely plan on reading additional books to flesh out some time periods better. I'm glad I have it in ...more
-Desde el conocimiento y la erudición, pero también desde el cariño.-

Género. Ensayo.

Lo que nos cuenta. Acercamiento a Colombia como nación, desde tiempos precolombinos (que no existía como tal) hasta épocas contemporáneas, con ópticas de historia socioeconómica y sociopolítica (que no sociocultural).

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:
Ian McKinley
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent overview of Colombia's history and its social development. I could have used more exposition of why certain events were critical to the events or social movements that later developed, but that is a big ask in a book that looks at over 500 years of history.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelente aproximación a la historia de Colombia. Cuenta procesos históricos antes que un listado de historicidad. Recomendado 100%
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I got it! ... *Martina* Luther King!"
-- Chris Rock

Tal vez fui solo yo o tal vez fue, como sospecho, algo común en mi generación, pero la verdad es que mi ignorancia de la historia nacional de Colombia era un popurrí de cinco o seis nombres y eventos, superficiales en el colegio y olvidados detrás de la matemática y tecnología de la universidad: el florero de Llorente, Santander, La Pola, el bogotazo, las bananeras...

No todo fue mi culpa. La historia de Colombia no es tan fácil de procesar porq
Juan David Correa
Me tomo un poco de tiempo terminar este libro, puesto que hay mucha información condensada en cada uno de sus capítulos. La prosa del autor definitivamente es anglosajona, ya que la manera de evaluar cada ángulo de nuestra historia es fría y ausente de emotividad. Y eso no es malo si es que un compatriota desea introducirse en en un recorrido condensado de tan amplia historia. Ya que el Colombiano posee un espíritu positivista elevado y anestesiado de los fracasos reales de nuestra nación. Es sa ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
A solid overview of Colombian political and economic history. It's particularly fascinating and frightening to see how hardening political identities in Colombia eventually lead to a period of extreme violence (la violencia) that killed nearly 10% of the population over the course of a nightmarish decade. As an American reader in 2017, it feels too close to home.
Gustavo  Morales Sánchez
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Internacionalistas, historiadores.
Excelente obra historiográfica de Colombia. Ilustra los cambios en la política nacional, las crisis económicas, así como las transformaciones sociales que marcaron al Estado colombiano. Ameno, de fácil lectura sin caer en lo simplista, el autor logra narrar con precisión los procesos históricos y sus consecuencias. Lectura obligada para los amantes de la historia nacional de cualquier país, o para los estudios de las Relaciones Internacionales o los estudios latinoamericanos.
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book if one is looking for a non-slanted history of a country that not many other people have chosen to write about for general audiences - that is, if you are very interested in that particular country to begin with. Of course, if you don't have that tie then a long discussion of the threads between political parties in the late 1800s might not be quite as interesting.

I read this after having lived in Colombia as a youth, then having returned later to see the result of 32 years of change.
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an entertaining book! It tells the history of Colombia, from pre-Columbian times, up to the modern times. It is a very well-told story, light and refreshing. Although all Colombians who go to school receive history education, this book gives a deeper look at many things that are fundamental to understand why things are the way they are in the present. Actually, it is sad to see that many people are not interested in understanding how the past laid the foundations for the present. How is Col ...more
Really informative regarding Colombia's history, even if some sections were hard to get through. Pretty insightful regarding the reasons why Colombia is so different from other latin american countries politically. I wish that it had gone into more detail regarding the history withing the last 50 years. This is perhaps a personal preference but I was looking forward to finding more about guerrilla and drug-trade origins, and although it did touch upon all these, it wasn't in much detail. Overall ...more
Oct 12, 2007 rated it liked it
A non-ideological history of Colombia from colonial to present times. For American historians examining Latin America this is itself a feat, sad to say. This history seems a bit too informal and lacking in real substance: it reads more like a memoir with its many asides than a true scholarly work. Its bibliography is ample and amply described. I did enjoy the fact that his history focused on more than just drugs and violence; his portrait is sketchy but at least well-rounded.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I read this book in preparation for our trip to Bogota. It is one of the few histories of Colombia written in English. In point of fact it is really a "political history" of the country, simply talking about the various leaders in the country. As such the book did not give me much of a feel for the people and their lives, as over 80% of people live at a very subsistence level according to one expert we heard in preparation. As such it was not a very interesting read
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this after spending two weeks in Bogotá. It really helped explain why Colombia is the way it is today. This book is also the only history book specifically written about Colombia in English that I could find. Very informative and helpful, and not biased one way or the other. Anyone with an interest in visiting the beautiful but troubled land of Colombia should read this.
Robb Fitzsimmons
First book I read when Laura and I started dating. She's always surprised I read it, as she thought the book really boring.

I totally disagree - much more variety than most histories in terms of personalities. Stability doesn't make for a good read.

Overall, though, it put the country in a good and fair light, despite the title.
A single-volume account of the history of Colombia best for those who want to learn the nuts and bolts of Colombian history. While certainly a multivolume approach would be preferable, the book should be a starting place for those who wish to become familiar with post-colonial Colombian history.
Francisco Becerra
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a colombian, this book opened my eyes about how our history could be perceived by a foreigner, and to lift the veil of "grandioseness" of some events that needed another POV. An obligated read to understan my country.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una buena introducción a la historia de Colombia. Un buen resumen para quien quiere conocer la historia del país en trazos generales. El subtítulo - "una nación a pesar de sí misma" no parece ser una preocupación a través del texto.
Hector Camargo Villamil
Uno de los mejores libros de historia Colombiana que he leído hasta ahora, un análisis muy completo sobre la historia sociopolítica de Colombia, también algo de historia económica, muy recomendado.
Ana Cristina Villa B
rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2014
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Mar 16, 2017
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Sep 22, 2017
Kenneth Cote
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Dec 08, 2017
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May 20, 2014
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Paola Bichara
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Aug 26, 2013
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