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The Heart That Bleeds: Latin America Now

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  423 ratings  ·  36 reviews
An extraordinarily vivid, unflinching series of portraits of South America today, written from the inside out, by the award-winning New Yorker journalist and widely admired author of Samba.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 28th 1995 by Vintage (first published March 8th 1994)
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Julio César
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
My first encounter with Alma Guillermoprieto's reporting ocurred some five years ago in the pages of The New Yorker. The article was called "Fidel's farewell" and it was about the old Cuban leader's decision to step back from his country's presidency after nearly fifty years of uninterrumpted power. I really liked her stylr and her insightful analysis, so when I came across this book and found out that it was a compilation of articles on Latin America from the early 90's, I bought it.
Each articl
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an extremely engaging book about Latin America at the beginning of the ’90. Besides the amount of information related to that period, I really enjoyed Alma Guillermoprieto’s writing style. She may be describing various political events, but she never forgets to write about how these events affect all layers of society. This collection of short stories touches subjects like Sendero Luminoso (how it affected Peruvian society and how its leader was captured), Pablo Escobar, the drug trade, ...more
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
As a guide to Latin America of the late 80s and early 90s, of the Contras, Escobar, Noriega and Shining Path—and many events we in the North heard far less about—Alma Guillermoprieto brings a measure of style, guts and cool intelligence to her essays equal to that of any living journalist. Although no longer current events, the vitality of her writing makes every one of these stories feel as urgent and relevant as the day they were written. Each is a glimpse into countries convulsing with change ...more
Paula Echeverri
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Guillermoprieto is amazing. The geographical and social scope of the stories is really broad, total respect (and a bit of jealousy) for the investigative reporting that led to them. Maybe this is obvious for a journalist, but how fascinating it must have been to visit so many places and talk to so many people from all camps of life. She points out that much of the content and leads came through local journalists, which is just as excellent, making the local media part of each story. The narrator ...more
Hugh Collins
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant brilliant brilliant anyone who hasn't read it shouldn't be allowed to vote. ...more
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gabe
Hands down the best writing on Latin America I've ever read. ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Coincidentally, while reading this book, the January 2018 issue of National Geographic arrived and Alma Guillermoprieto had a beautiful piece on Columbia's recovery from civil war. That was a fun surprise.

I've traveled to Venezuela and Guatemala and was captivated by the beauty of the rich landscapes and the kind, generous people I met there. Yet, I've puzzled over these countries, so rich in natural resources, and also so devastatingly poor. How can that
Patrick McCoy
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was introduced to Alma Guillemoprieto‘s fascinating book The Heart That Bleeds (1995) by Daniel Alarcon from his list “Ten Powerful Books from the Latin American Canon” in the P.S. section of his novel Lost City Radio. It is a series of dispatches that Guillemoprieto wrote for the New Yorker in the late 80s and early 90s on different situations in several Latin American countries. It is dated in that all of the dispatches are from 1989 to 1993, but she is a compelling storyteller and resourcef ...more
Jeni Enjaian
Sep 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
I learned quite a lot from this book which always makes for an enjoyable read. The structure of the book, a series of long-form news stories, aided in making the book digestible and captivating for the reader. I also found the current events nature of the essays a fascinating take on what now makes up recent history, since this book was published in the mid-1990s.
I just wish, however, that Guuillermoprieto had included another essay, or at least more pages, about the fascinating interplay betwee
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love Gulliermoprieto’s style, and her insight! This is another work that draws you in, inviting you to better understand Latin America. I appreciate the context that she gives, too. In particular, this book helped me fill in some gaps in my knowledge as I seek to better understand Latin American history — approachable works on the events of the late 20th century are not all that common, and finding this gem that is well-researched, well-presented, and compassionate in tone has been a gift. Hig ...more
Adriana Bonilla
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is hands down one the best books I've ever read and definitely one of my favorite books from now on.
It mixez both of my mayors: Politic science and social communication, in such a perfect way. This books teaches and inspires me in the same way.
It was wonderfully and powerfully written by a woman who went far and beyond to show the world a little bit of what was happening in Latin America, in such a cruel time as the 90's.
Praise for the author.
Sean Morrissey Carroll
For a scholar of the time period this book would be an invaluable resource. For a casual history lover, this is immediate and unfiltered reportage without the filter of time that limits the players and situations that in the long-term are whittled down to understandable storylines. Although the first few and last few essays in the book are exciting and indicative of Greater Regional dysfunction, in the center there are a few that drag with minute details or long-winded process.
Monica Alvarez
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though it's a book about drug and government corruption during the 1980/1990s it's still a lot to take in. I cried and got mad as I read. ...more
Dan De Leon
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
As I type this simple review, I am in Cuernavaca, Morelos close to so many of the places and contexts that Guillermoprieto writes about in "The Heart that Bleeds." It is certainly an apt title given that while poverty is rampant, politics are corrupt, and the water supply is literally sickening, the people that make Latin America what it is have passion that belittles and overshadows their neighbors to the north. While reading the chapter about Rio, I shook my head in disbelief at the fact that ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
had only read guillermoprieto via the new yorker archives. this is my first book of hers, it does read quickly as short-stories captivating you by the turn and return to countries (chapters titled after cities), non-fiction, that do belong together. i learned tons, this book was written before the clinton administration took place, the panama canal had yet to return to panamenian control (late 90s), it was before the reigning party in mexico (pri) had lost an election (pan), and pablo escobar wa ...more
Jul 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Finally felt like I had a clear view from the ground in South and Central America. The book is comprised of a number of extensively researched articles which appeared in the New Yorker throughout the 1980s, covering the Sandinistas, Argentinean society in the aftermath of the Dirty War, Colombian drug cartels and more. The scope of her pieces across levels of society is striking. In an article on the trash dumps in Mexico City for instance, the perspectives she presents range from those of child ...more
Chris M.
Oct 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone its a good book
Shelves: already-read
1.What makes this book unique is that it talks about vry interesting topic like the unraveling web scandel surrounding the presidential election in Argentina. It attracted me right away becayse it talks about something I really wanted to know more about and that's the story of Medellin.
2.I don't really know if it met the expectation because I didn't finish the but it is overall a great book.
3. I do apporove of the writing style;her style kind of reminds me of Junot Diaz, the auther to "Drown" wh
I took a Introduction to Latin American Studies class and this was one of the required readings for the class. This collection of articles is one of the reasons I loved this class. Its a great start to knowing modern latin america and this issues that it has been through. It truly makes your heart bleed when you read Guillermoprieto's writings. One of the most heart wrenching articles was about the Mexican pepenadores, or garbage pickers. I would recommend this book to anyone want to know more a ...more
Carlos Alonso-Niemeyer
This book was given to me by my brother in law who is an authority on the topic. Since I left Mexico in 1990, this book provided a window into the news and historic changes that took place in Mexico and the rest of latinamerica during that time.

I am reading a book from Vargas Llosa called [Book: Lituma en los andes] that talks about the events that took place in Peru during the shining path's reign of terror. Also, we hear about ex-president Fujimori's election (now days he is being prosecuted b
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book in Spanish is entitled, "I am writing to you from the foot of a volcano." the english title is "the heart that bleeds: latin america today." contrast these titles. one is better, no? evidence of that the pernicious slime of magical realist aesthetics finds its way onto anything everything and anything latin american origin in north america? i think so.

the essay about Mexico City garbage pickers is fantastic.
Feb 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Guillermoprieto gives insight into the lives of people in several Latin American countries around the early 90s. She has an approachable writing style and provides some nice snapshots of what it was like for the people living in these areas during the time of her reporting there. My biggest gripe is that it just felt outdated (probably because it is almost 20 years old). Definitely a good read for people interested in Latin American life or politics.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly amazing how interesting these chapters are considering the events in them took place nearly 25 years ago. Subject matter ranges from drug lords, religion, telenovelas, mariachis, and people who makes their homes among the garbage. The only chapters that didn't fully capture my attention were those specifically about politicians, but even those were pretty good. A great crash course on Latin America of the recent past. ...more
May 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Latin Americanists, fans of New Journalism
Alma Guillermoprieto is one of the best chroniclers of Latin America for English readers. Her subjects are amazing, the reporting is quality (while a little superficial at times). The real gem here is that it's accessible to fans of Latin America as a narrative guide to the social issues of the day, as well as a fascinating first read for people without the background. ...more
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
I haven't actually finished the entire book yet. Each chapter focuses on a different Latin American nation so it's easy to just go through chapter by chapter. You don't have to read the section on the drug cartels in Columbia to understand the one about sandinistas in Nicaragua. If you're interested in Latin American history, look into this book. ...more
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A collection of pieces originally published in the New Yorker, these are examples of some of the finer journalism pieces on Latin American society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Intriguing and thoroughly researched, Guillermoprieto offers us insight on what it was like to live through quickly evolving economic and political changes, in occasionally revolutionary times.
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Alma Guillermoprieto is both an excellent writer, easy to read and often heart-grabbing, but also an excellent thinker. This book is coming up on being a couple decades old, but her insights are still relevant. This is great background for anyone wishing to better understand Latin America.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
if you gave this book 3 stars or fewer i may need to fight you.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great writing, and impressive, exhaustive reporting -- very dense. She chooses interesting and unusual stories in each city and each country as a focus to illustrate a major problem.
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Although now somewhat dated, best insights I've ever read into modern Latin America ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Foundational for anyone studying Latin America. Guillermoprieto is an amazing writer/reporter. Yet readers mustn't forget that these stories are snapshots of bigger picture issues. ...more
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Guillermoprieto was born and grew up in Mexico City. In her teens, she moved to New York City with her mother where she studied modern dance for several years. From 1962 until 1973, she was a professional dancer.

Her first book, Samba (1990), was an account of a season studying at a samba school in Rio de Janeiro.

In the mid-1970s, she started her career as a journalist for The Guardian, moving late

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