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Faces and Masks

(Memoria del fuego #2)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,055 ratings  ·  64 reviews
“A book as fascinating as the history it relates . . . Galeano is a satirist, realist, and historian.” —Los Angeles Times

For centuries, Europe’s imperial powers brutally exploited the peoples and resources of the New World. While soldiers of fortune marched across continents in search of El Dorado, white settlers established plantations and trading posts along the coasts,
ebook, 312 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Open Road Media (first published January 1984)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This is the second volume of Eduardo Galeano's "Memory of Fire," one entry in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Four hundred sixty-three readers have rated it and it has an average rating of 4.49. If you feel too lazy, tired or busy, or too old and have not much time left in this world to read all three volumes then don't. But you must, and I say this with urgency and great conviction, you must read at least one of these three volumes for you simply cannot die, as it is unimaginable t ...more
1776: Philadelphia

The United States

The thirteen colonies are hungry for the West. Many pioneers dream of taking off over the mountains, with rifle, ax, and a handful of corn as baggage; but the British crown has drawn the frontier on the crests of the Appalachians and reserved the lands beyond for Indians. The thirteen colonies are hungry for a world.


The Far West

Space exists for time to defeat, and time for progress to sacrifice on its altars.
This second installment of Memory of Fir
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moments of extreme beauty throughout this epic retelling of the history of the Americas. Galeano writes vignettes gleaned from hundreds of historical accounts -- the book itself is a gaping, mouthwatering portal to the vast bibliography in its final pages.

Galeano treats history as poetry and, while this is non-fiction, Memoria del Fuego is written with the grace and astonishing insight of the best poetry. Galeano takes a concert of the Guaraní Indians, brought to Buenos Aires by the Jesuits to s
1785: Guanajuato

Silver Portrait

Using the language of fluttering fans, ladies chat in the leafy gardens. Somebody pees against the wall of the church and on one side of the plaza two beggars, sitting in the sun, pick at each other's lice. Beneath the stone archway a distinguished doctor in a huge cloak talks of the Rights of Man, and a monk moves down the lane muttering eternal condemnations against the drunks, whores, and rowdies who cross in front of him. Not far from the city,
collectors hunt
Were it not shot through with humor, this would be a book of unbearable grief and fury. E.g. the short piece called "Fiction in the Colonial Era (1785: Mexico City)":
The viceroy of Mexico, Matias de Galvez, signs a new edict in favor of Indian workers. The Indians are to receive fair wages, good food, and medical attention; and they will have two rest hours at noon, and be able to change employers whenever they like. (69)

There are also moments of beauty, as in "They Carry Life in Their Hair":
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Continues from where it left off - 1700 to be precise, and takes you through 200 yrs of American history, the history of N and S America.

The Europeans have arrived and continue their plunder. Minor and major uprisings arise everywhere, some put down, some successful. Countries become independent, but borders keep getting reshaped, as greed, trade, meddling keep countries at war.

Interesting how once the European powers realised they could no longer hold these lands with their armies, the moved o
A.H. Haar
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to A.H. by: Matt Espinoza-Watson
"The blue tiger will smash the world.

Another land, without evil, without death, will be born from the destruction of this one. This land wants it. It asks to die, asks to be born, this old and offended land. It is weary and blind from so much weeping behind closed eyelids. On the point of death it strides the days, garbage heap of time, and at night it inspires pity from the stars. Soon the First Father will hear the world's supplications, land wanting to be another, and then the blue tiger who
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a brutal reportage of the 'conquest' of the Americas by savages (white settlers, missionaries, explorers, and glory seekers)... told in his inimical style, with passion and facts intermingled with polemics about politics and race and social justice, this book continues the trilogy admirably, bringing to the forefront how the treatment of indigenous peoples by 'civilized man' puts the lie to Western Civ narratives Americans are spoonfed by their schools, their media, and their politicians... but ...more
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i first found this series on my parents' shelves when i was younger, i would read parts of them. it's either this one or the first one that has my favorite quote.
"they were two by an error that night corrects"

i have since come to doubt that quote as beautiful as it is. maybe they were two for a reason and night fucked up, although it was a beautiful fuckup for awhile. but i'm young and who knows, and i'll always miss him.
Part two of a trilogy...
Literary genius...
Galeano takes historical "bits and bites" and reminds us of the past of Latin America and America during years of 1700 to 1900, encouraging review and research of the vast number of historical events he touches on.
Dipa  Raditya
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Talking about New World with rhymes, poems, aphorisms. In this book, Galeano talks about discourse of power play that restructure all Latin America. The biggest impact is the loss of indigenous identity.
Jakob Myers
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An improvement, if that's possible, on the first volume. A compact, formally innovative, and entertaining history of radicalism and reaction in the Americas. ...more
Samuel Goff
Eduardo Galeano puts a novel spin on the idea to document history. In this book he spans 200 years of history, from 1700-1900, into short, concise vignettes. He presents the history of Latin America in microcosm, paragraph by paragraph. The travels he takes us on document the conquerors and the conquered. Famous people and peons. In some, he interprets himself taken from 361 different sources. In others he quotes directly from the source. The result is the literary form of musique concrete. So ...more
Robbie Bruens
The second part of Galeano's trilogy is even more powerful and compelling than the first. It's also funny, mordant, insightful, inspiring and full of some of the most dynamic characters you'll ever meet in any work of fiction or nonfiction. And I would be remiss to mention how ingeniously Galeano combines fiction and nonfiction. The book can be called fiction because Galeano weaves together a tapestry of historical episodes in his own idiosyncratic and particular way, through his own artistic le ...more
Kevin Macdonald
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kevins-canon
What It's About: "Faces and Masks" by Eduardo Galeano is the second book in the"Memory of Fire," trilogy which chronicles the history of the Americas. This book traverses the 18th and 19th centuries of history in the Americas. The contents of the book are presented in vignettes. The vignettes amount to, in Galeano's words, a "novel or essay or epic poem or testament or chronicle". Galeano explains his aims by stating: "I am not a historian... I am a writer who would like to contribute to the res ...more
Book Wormy
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, 1001-read
#Reading1001 #ReadAroundtheWorld #Uruguay

I really love the way these books are set out and to me this book was even better than the first. The vignettes the author has chosen to use really do capture time and place and they move the narrative on in a natural linear order while giving the reader a wide view of the history of the Americas especially Latin America.

Favourite quotes:

1776 Pennsylvania "In the best of cases, Paine considers government a necessary evil; in the worst, an intolerable evil
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Galeano writes with a grim poetic fury in this book, providing brief glimpses into the history of the Americas. This volume (number 2 in a trilogy) covers 1700 to 1900, the time of colonialism, revolution, and economic imperialism. His history is one of both impression and depth as it describes the lives of the oppressed and the revolutionary, the mythical and the heroic. The writing focuses on the Indian and the slave, mestizo and mulatto, seeing whites largely in the roles of economic and poli ...more
Jul 16, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Like much of his other writing, Galeano writes novels composed of very short stories/vignettes within the novel, so that I'm not sure it should even be characterized as a's not quite short stories, but the form is a little hard to get used to. At least in this book, there is some linearity as each vignette progresses forward in time. This book covers the period 1700-1900 in Latin America. I often find myself confused, but if I stick with it or reread passages I'll figure out the allus ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Onwards to volume two of the Memory of Fire trilogy!

This time round Galeano tackles the years 1700 – 1900. Again there’s a lot dedicated to the suffering the Indians had to go through. However, there are more chapters on America turning into a superpower and the plight of black slavery. He also mentions how society is moving towards the contemporary era by mentioning products such as Levi’s and Coca-Cola.

As such there’s no huge change in the writing style or approach. The standard still is consi
Roopa Ramamoorthi
This book by Eduardo Galeano in peotic langauage and short flash fiction like pieces covers the history of especially South America from around 1800 to 1900. It is a book most definitely worth reading if you want to find out about what happened during this time of colonization and conquests but told in a style that will mesmerize and haunt and linger long after you read the book.
Ben Peyton
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one started off a little slower than the first book but I thought the second half of the book was excellent. A lot of moving stuff in this book. Galeano is just an amazing writer. He creates these scenes out of nothing and makes you care about the hundreds of characters, most of the nameless, you meet throughout the story. Well worth picking up.
Eliot Fiend
this book is dense with stunningly beautiful moments--so much so that it's hard to keep reading, to see history move in such a way. galeano has drawn on an immense bibliography to pull out vignettes, tiny stories, that chart over time the europe's colonization of the americas. i kind of can't believe i didn't encounter this book earlier because it is such a jewel. ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part two of a three part history of The Americas. In true Galeano style, this non-fiction, magical realism, short story, trilogy, tells and re-tells the history of the hemisphere from genesis to the end of the 20th c.
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel the same about book 2 as book 1. It's an odd read, these half page "stories." For a majority I had wasn't familiar with what was being told. But it was still worth the time. It was a good book to be stretched by. ...more
Brenda Petersen
Aug 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history aficiandaos
Incredibly well-written, interwoven stories reveal the tragic and tumultuous past of Latin America. A great complement to any traditional history of the region.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great history written in a really interesting and different way. Beautiful and painful stories.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential History of the Americas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arif Mustafa
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvellous - a poet writes history
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Galeano continues his climb towards becoming my favorite writer.
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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

Other books in the series

Memoria del fuego (3 books)
  • Genesis (Memory of Fire, #1)
  • Century of the Wind (Memory of Fire, #3)

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