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Genesis

(Memoria del fuego #1)

by
4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,630 ratings  ·  147 reviews
"From pre-Columbian creation myths and the first European voyages of discovery and conquest to the Age of Reagan, here is 'nothing less than a unified history of the Western Hemisphere... recounted in vivid prose.'"--The New Yorker

A unique and epic history, Eduardo Galeano's Memory of Fire trilogy is an outstanding Latin American eye view of the making of the New World.
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 17th 1998 by W.W. Norton & Company (first published 1982)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Michael
This 1982 book was stunning to me, the compelling way Galeano distills some turning points in Latin American history into visions and vignettes that march through pre-Columbian creation myths and the decades from the end of the 15th century to 1700. Two other volumes apply the same treatment from then up to modern times. Wikipedia tells me that Galeano, who died in 2015, was a leftist Uruguayan journalist and essayist who is respected for his 1971 historical critique of colonialism, “Open Veins ...more
Aubrey
Why do white people own so many pets? We're not allowed to own people anymore.

I got that off of the Internet.
Three years ago Governor William Berkeley could proudly remark: I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have either for a hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them.

-Yorktown, Virginia, 1674
I got that from this book, a prime target for trigger-happy literature banners the
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Ted
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, horror
Through the centuries, Latin America has been despoiled of gold and silver, nitrates and rubber, copper and oil: its memory has also been usurped. From the outset it has been condemned to amnesia by those who have prevented it from being.
yes, from simply being




Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015)


Galeano explains, in his Preface, what he wishes to do.
I am not a historian. I am a writer who would like to contribute to the rescue of the kidnapped memory of all America, but above all of Latin America, that
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Four hundred forty-four (444) ratings, 48 reviews, GR average rating: 4.40. I was almost sure this is artificial. Maybe Eduardo Hughes Galeano has many friends, Latin American friends. How can a book possibly get an average rating of 4.40 from almost 450 readers? Could this not be the champion of all GR-rated books?

No. Memory of Fire is a trilogy. The second book, Memory of Fire: Faces and Masks is even more eye-popping: 274 ratings, 12 reviews, 4.51 GR average rating.

You might say nothing can
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Madeleine
Nov 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Yes.

I fell in love with history the second I got out of high school and realized how much of history is a story of people struggling against oppression and injustice. Struggling for democracy and equality. Struggling to make a better world...those born oppressed and those born oppressor, together.

Colonialism is as much the story of those who fought back as the story of those who "won." America* is as much the story of its Indigenous nations as the story of its first undocumented** immigrants. As
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Nate
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review #17 of "Year of the Review All Read Books"

The Guaros, who live in the suburbs of Earthly Paradise, call the rainbow snake of necklaces and the firmament overhead sea. Lightning is glow of the rain. One’s friend, my other heart. The soul, sun of the breast. The owl, lord of the dark night. A walking cane is a permanent grandson; and for “I forgive,” they say I forget.

-Eduardo Galeano. Genesis


"Eduardo Hughes Galeano died today, Eduardo Hughes Galeano was a Latin Boom writer and journalist,
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Adam
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book that exist in the strange ground between Howard Zinn”s People’s History and Borges’s Brief History of Infamy. It featured the rage and the unpeeling of the veneer of nostalgia and romance of history of the former and the irony, pocket novels, morbid humor of the latter. This is not a scholarly or popular history though the author does show his research, but more in the realm of epic poem and Borges, a savage and beautiful book. I can’t wait for the rest of the trilogy.
Schuyler
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm not going to use the word 'boring' because my father says that 'boring' or 'boredom' is a word that intellectually lazy people use, that in fact you're not actually bored, but just not properly describing your state of mind/opinion, and that you should probably just go outside and play or turn down the thermostat in your room because, apparently, cold temperatures 'build character'. Or something like that. I will say that this book didn't hold my attention, for the following reasons: ...more
David
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
First, I am white and second, the history I know about Latin America Is depressing in what we did to the natives. I am sorry for this. Reading this book, told in small segments or stories reinforced what the Europeans did to the Americans, was just painful. I started in earnst but after awhile it was shelved for anything happier. It took me about four months to read and was glad to finish it. One of those books that I am glad its out there but the guilt for being white is too painful.
David
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
It feels ungrateful and churlish to not give it 5 stars. This is a massive and beautiful and utterly devastating portrait of the history of the violation, enslavement, and genocide carried out upon the people of so-called America, up to 1700. Actually, yes, give it 5 stars.

But here is the challenge: beautifully written though each of these short pieces are (most under a page) -- and they are tight concise little works of art -- the sheer span of history leaves few recurring characters and this
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Michael
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Galeano starts off by reminding us this is a work of literature and not an anthology, and for this reason I'm not entirely sure how to review it. Firstly, because I don't entirely trust translations of literature, and secondly because I don't believe Galeano. As a literary work, the first volume in the Memory of Fire trilogy is astounding - its gut-wrenching vignettes and spiritually cohesive yet stylistically diverse journey is late 20th century prose at its finest, but as an anthology and as a ...more
Rob Prince
Aug 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The first of the `Memory of Fire' trilogy, which taken together make up Galeano's modern history of Latin America - a mosaic of historical moments carefully put together, well researched and quite moving. About as good as history gets. Taken in its entirety the series is a never ending - mostly painful journey of Latin America's struggle to define its own future. The political critique is quite accurate and not overdone. Very painful stuff.
This first volume starts with native legends -
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Book Wormy
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, 1001-read
#Reading1001 #ReadAroundtheWorld #Uruguay

I went into this expecting to hate the use of vignettes to tell a story (I hate short stories) but to my delight I found this format worked really well. It is amazing how cohesive a narrative the author has created by blending these various voices from the past.

The use of Vignettes allows Galeano to give the reader a snapshot of various points in time from various points of view. These points of view are often in direct contrast to the Eurocentric view of
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Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
Galeano is a fierce writer... the first in a trilogy of books detailing/explaining/ravaging the Westernized view of the history/culture/society of, as he calls them, the Americas... digging into the ancient prehistory of the region and its multiethnic peoples and their realities... passages about culture, religion, commerce, trade, daily life... a harsh read for the "Make America Great Again" crowd, or anyone who believes 'the white man' is the peak of civilization, or is even, in fact, ...more
Kristin Boldon
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, own, mfa
Overwhelming, gut churning, darkly funny at times.
Rakib_khan
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and Open Road Integrated Media for this opportunity.
Very rarely do I come across such awesome works of art that I find myself unworthy of reviewing. 'Genesis' by Eduardo Galeano, which is volume one of his Memory of Fire is definitely one such work of literature. It is a novel of the history of a continent, of a great many people who have been wronged so much, yet sadly they were wronged by some fellow human beings. It is
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Christine
Copy via Netgalley and Open Road


This is a book you are either going to love or going to hate. There really is no in-between. And you wouldn’t know until you have read at least a quarter or more of it.
Genesis is the story of the Americas, in particular South America, and the invasion of it by the Europeans, mostly the Spanish in this book. The story is conveyed via the use of small, short mini stories. Some of these stories are creation myths of First Peoples, some are the views of the Incas,
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Maria Beltrami
As the Bible begins with Genesis, this kind of Latin American Bible Galeano has written as a trilogy, entitled Memory of Fire, begins with a Genesis. The stories of the beginning of the world, the first man and the first woman, and the flood that killed the humanity, are strikingly similar to those we know, but then the story becomes cloudy, because it comes the time of the conquest and extermination. A radical extermination because of the Aztecs and the Incas, they tried to obliterate even the ...more
Bethany
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
This is on my "for school" shelf, but really, we only had to read the first 65 pages for school. I continued because it is such a fabulous book, and I don't regret it, even if it did take me all semester. It was well worth the time it took to get through it, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

It reads almost like a book of poems, or at least that's how I read it. It's like a mosaic of small snapshots that, put together, tell a horror story. It's like reading a scrapbook through pictures. It's
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dedeh  handayani
May 27, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: sejarah-dunia
The Indians Say: "The land has an owner? How's that? How is it to be sold? How is it to be bought? If it does not belong to us, well, what? We are of it. We are its children. So it is always, always. The land is alive. As it nurtures the worms, so it nurtures us. It has bones and blood. It has milk, and gives us suck. It has hair, grass, straw, trees. It knows how to give birth to potatoes. It brings to birth houses. It brings to birth people. It looks after us and we look after it. It drinks ...more
Scott
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing piece of work. The first of a trilogy, Genesis is an inventive narrative history of the Americas. Beginning with aboriginal myths & legends and working through European colonization until 1700, it covers every place from the frigid Alaskan coast to the southern tip of Argentina, with great emphasis on the Caribbean, Peru & Brazil. In short, powerful glimpses, Galeano brings the reader into the minds of the heroes, villains, conquerors, victims, and "average" people of the ...more
Ryan Erlbaum
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The Memory of Fire Trilogy is beautifully written, ironic, funny, sad, unbelievable, historical, and I will read this series over and over. For those who dislike history, check this out- history isn't dead, according to Galeano- it's alive: breathing, twisting, forming our ideas about the present- it's uplifting and brutal, often for those who have no voice- Galeano gives them a voice with this trilogy, presenting Latin American/world history from the views of those on the periphery.
Scotch
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm all for semi-experimental, fragmented narratives, but I ended up being desperate for something to hold into and carry me through these bits of history. I gave up halfway through. I appreciate the complication of history, but felt it was lacking in something. Or maybe I was lacking a bit in historical context.
Mira
Aug 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago when it first came out, along with the others in this series. I just re-read parts of it again---a beautiful and poignant book that navigates the history of the Americas and colonialism through myth, legend, and indigenous narrative.
Joe
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A llama wished
to have golden hair,
brilliant as the sun,
strong as love
and soft as the mist
that the dawn dissolves,
to weave a braid
on which to mark,
knot by knot,
the moons that pass,
the flowers that die.

- Ballad of Cuzco
Miquixote
The ultimate exposition of the deplorable state of humanity on the part of the colonialists from 1492-1700.
Luis
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is poetic history, not everything is accurate but it captures the spirit of Natives and their cosmology in beautiful and dense short stories.
Uzma Khan
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Though Galeano's death earlier this year still aches and always will, what a gift he has left us in this fierce, beautiful work that is part mythology, part history, and part novel.
Antonia
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i am hungry for all of his books . i think i may have them all, not sure, but i love to return to him again and again. he is a sane voice in the midst of an insane world.
Abby
Given my interests, I'm surprised I had to discover this book while trawling the internet for something entirely different. Asking why is like asking why I never knew about Palmares, an autonomous, self-governing community of over ten thousand African-born people who resisted slavery and recapture for the entire seventeenth century in Brazil. SO THAT HAPPENED. Can we talk about this? Like, all the time?

The little stories from Galeano's "mosaic" history are sometimes stunningly beautiful,
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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
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Other books in the series

Memoria del fuego (3 books)
  • Faces and Masks (Memory of Fire, #2)
  • Century of the Wind (Memory of Fire, #3)
“Cuando terminó el largo abrazo, un aroma espeso, de flores y frutas, invadió el aire. De los cuerpos, que yacían juntos, se desprendían vapores y fulgores jamás vistos, y era tanta su hermosura que se morían de vergüenza los soles y los dioses.” 2 likes
“El sacrilegio (1946)
Bartolomé Colón, hermano y lugarteniente de Cristóbal, asiste al incendio de carne humana.
Seis hombres estrenan el quemadero de Haití. EL humo hace toser. Los seis están ardiendo por castigo y escarmiento: han hundido bajo tierra las imágenes de Cristo y la Virgen que fray Ramón Panè les había dejado para su protección y consuelo. Fray Ramón les había enseñado a orar de rodillas, a decir Avemaría y Paternóster y a invocar el nombre de Jesús ante la tentación, la lastimadura y la muerte.
Nadie les ha preguntado por qué enterraron las imágenes. Ellos esperaban que los nuevos dioses fecundaran las siembras de maíz, yuca, boniatos y fríjoles.
El fuego agrega calor al calor húmedo, pegajoso, anunciador de lluvia fuerte.”
2 likes
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