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Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  3,186 ratings  ·  415 reviews
Throughout his career, Eduardo Galeano has turned our understanding of history and reality on its head. Isabelle Allende said his works “invade the reader’s mind, to persuade him or her to surrender to the charm of his writing and power of his idealism.”Mirrors, Galeano’s most ambitious project since Memory of Fire, is an unofficial history of the world seen through histor ...more
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Nation Books (first published April 3rd 2008)
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Glenn Russell
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing

MIRRORS: Stories of Almost Everyone - contemporary Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano's collection of hundreds and hundreds of finely constructed mini-tales, two or three on every page, with such titles as: Origin of Fire, Origin of Beauty, Origin of Sea Breezes, Resurrection of Vermeer, Resurrection of Arcimboldo, Mozart, Goya, Venus, Hokusai, Kipling, Nijinsky, Beethoven, Lenin, Invisible Men, Invisible Women, Palace Art in France, Origin of the Croissant, Darwin’s Questions, The Gold Rush and T
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Only if you are ready to read something that may contradict your fixed historical beliefs, will you appreciate this book. Figures that you thought to be infallible, victories you deemed flawless and concepts you held so dear shall all be hammered. You have to forget all the so called official history you've accumulated from formal education and state TVs.

Narrated from the point view of its author, this book wasn't compiled to pay homage to warriors or to glorify kings. Rather, it came into being
Paris (spiritedaway)
Origin of the Embrace

Thousands of years before its devastation, Iraq gave birth to the first love poem in world literature:

"What I tell you
Let the weaver weave into song"

The song, in Sumerian, told of the encounter of a goddess and a shepherd.
That night, the goddess Ianna loved as if she were mortal.
Dumuzi the shepherd was immortal as long as the night lasted.



As the drums of the war butchery drew near, Franz Kafka wrote Metamorphosis. And not long after, the war under way, he wrote The
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pdf
‘‘The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.’’

George Santayana
Kirti Upreti
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
[Re-read: Oct 2020] This morning, I started my day with a mug of tea and Sir Attenborough's witness statement on Netflix. It made me utterly sad, not for the humanity but for the nonagenarian Attenborough. His empathy and hope for the world, even after being a first hand witness to what humans really are, could only spring tears from my eyes. As Galeano recalls Don Carlos saying, "The only sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin against hope." We are going to fail him big time. If there is a hell ...more
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
History, as stories. History, from the beginning, sort of, with a poetic re-working of Genesis and ending as the new century enters at stage right, despairing from what's come before. History, as examined by a cynic, skeptic, artist, lover, collector, judge. History, without all the commercials and talking and stuff. History, that is simplistic, selective, apocryphal and occasionally wrong, and necessary for all of that. History, that grabs you by the lapels or the scruff of the neck and yells, ...more
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: translation

Mirrors are filled with people.
The invisible see us.
The forgotten recall us.
When we see ourselves, we see them.
When we turn away, do they?

Eduardo Galeano, famed Uruguayan journalist and author, has said of himself, “I’m a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.” That credo has been ably demonstrated throughout works spanning four decades, including Open Veins of Latin America, the Me
Shuhan Rizwan
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sara Salem
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the most poetic books I have ever read. He goes back to narrate history through the eyes of the marginalized, with short beautifully-written stories.
AJ Conroy
Jun 15, 2009 marked it as to-read
NPR Recommendation:
Imagine Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, but penned by a poet and expanded to include the history of the entire world. Framed in inventively organized tiny vignettes — most just a paragraph or two long — Eduardo Galeano's Mirrors explodes our ideas of history in both content and form.

Fiercely political and fiercely human, Mirrors is a feast for the browser, armchair historian, poet and activist. Galeano rewrites the histories of the forgotten and the un

The Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano shows in this book, though many short texts, the history of the world seen through the unseen, unheard, and forgotten by the official history. Recalling the lives of artists, writers, gods, and visionaries, of the black slaves who built the White House and the women erased by men's fears, this book is absolutely wonderful. But also painful and full of injustice. Please give it a try and take look at these Mirrors.

"Official history has it that Vasco N
dianneOnRBG RIPmalaiseBreak
Eduardo Galeano is a world treasure. His insight, poetry, and knowledge of the historical truth (we're never taught) is unrivaled. I stopped underlining when i realized that every line should be highlighted.
If you want to know the story of the world, the REAL story - not the past as written by the predatory "winners" - read Galeano. Every page is so loaded with good stuff that i find i read his work very slowly- like devouring a good meal - you can't take in more until that's digested.

pg. 246 -
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, history
To dig Galleano's view of history it helps if you're cool with his feminist-Marxist-atheist "anti-heirachical, anti-patriarchal" agenda. The better portion of his stories he's included from deep past history have no corroborating notes, so all you have to go on, for the entire slog, is Galleano's word for it, alone. I'm sorry but that's just not good enough for someone who can't really take anyone else's word for anything, when it comes to screening the past of humanity through a sieve. So be fo ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Maybe we refuse to acknowledge our common origins because racism causes amnesia, or because we find it unbelievable that in those days long past the entire world was our kingdom, an immense map without borders, and our legs were the only passport required," Galeano writes. He provides us with hundreds of short stories about people of history, mostly horrific but with a few glimmers of hope. IMAGINE, a world without borders!
Prabodh Sharma
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It has been approximately 5000 years since a recognizable form of civilization has been existing. From the perspective of history, this time is so short that we can almost touch the clay plates on which the tale of Gilgamesh was written and can smell the sulphur in the air from the multiple wars of the last century. We can also feel the ripples in time of women tortured with witch hunting, Africans loaded as cargoes on the ship and millions dying in famines while the rich were having the gala fe ...more
Sara-Maria Sorentino
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adam, steph, naeem, jack, charliee, all the people,
Recommended to Sara-Maria Sorentino by: alan
a sporadic sampling:

-Water and light-

Back in the year 1600-something, sculptor Luis de la Pena wanted to sculpt light. In his workshop on an alley in Granada, he spent his entire life trying and failing.

It never occurred to him to look up. There, on the crest of a hill of red earth, other artists had sculpted light, and water too. In the turrets and gardens of the Alhambra, crown of the Muslim kingdom, those artists had made the impossible possible.

The Alhambra is not a stationary sculpture. It
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Eduardo Galeano is one of Uruguay's best known writers; his moment of fame in the United States came when Hugo Chávez presented Barack Obama with a copy of Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America at the Summit of the Americas; when a military junta ruled the writer's native country, it imprisoned him and banned his books. This book is a collection of some 600 mini-essays, most a few paragraphs long: a history of the humanity with a focus on the oppression of the poor by the rich, of the working cl ...more
Sam Orndorff
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The fact that the top reviews here are not in Latin script tells you something about the book. With this book, an incomplete history of the modern era, Galeano explores the obscure, the arcane, the suppressed, the aphorisms, the anecdotes, etc. all while deploying a powerful critique of Power. Because the book is broken into fragmentary history, I was able to devour it rapidly, but not lightly. Being a student of the oppressed, I was familiar with many of the tales here, and while most were new ...more
Eve Bradford
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I just read this book in 4 days. I was completely absorbed, even though I could feel that awkwardness that comes from reading an English translation of something that must have been more lyrical and nuanced in the original Spanish. This book is so important. It will make you smarter in a revolutionary way.
The syndrome that consumes our world and has been shaping our history is illuminated here through small vignettes of forgotten stories and overlooked perspectives.
I am deeply grateful for this
Rick Goff
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a fine, fine book. It's a collection of vignettes, poems, arguments, observations and pictures. Each entry is very brief, averaging about 3 per 2 pages. All of these items combine, by their selection and execution, to express a view of world history, wherein the privileged few abuse their advantage and the defeated and impoverished are blamed for their condition

I really admire this book. It doesn't set out with the traditional objective of building a case by identifying dots on a timelin
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you don't already yearn for justice, you will ache for any hint of it in human history by the time you get a tenth of the way through this book.

If history was taught this way to young people, engaging a moral sense of right and wrong on behalf of the wronged instead of as a litany of boring dates and misleadingly benign myths that justify the status quo, it would help ignite the passion we need to change the world for the better.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Galeano's masterful prose is sublime, as always. But the episodic segments of history included are unrelentingly tragic and it simply became too much for me to finish. I will pick this up again, but I am eager for something--dare I say--uplifting right now.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly written. The history of the world captured in vignettes which attacks all your preconceived notions. Must read.
This book is true to its claim of being a story of almost everything. With an index running into over 20 pages, the variety of historical events, myths, personae it covers is overwhelming. Every story is made human and personable. I turned the last page with a desperate and hopeless prayer: “I wish I can write like this”

I will return to the stories here.
Rory Masterson
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's Galeano. If you're into his vignette-style writing, you'll dig this.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
At first, I didn't enjoy it as much as the other books I've read by Galeano (namely The Memory of Fire trilogy). He seems to be at his best when describing characters rather than disembodied events, which is may be why I found his nameless stories about prehistory to be less engaging. However, Mirrors picks up breakneck speed toward the end. One might expect Galeano's "formula" to get tiresome, but the punches he manages to deliver with his final lines are as incisive as ever.
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-other
We Americans seem to have a fascination for history viewed from the lives of, generally, great men. It is a reflection of our commitment to the National myth of the rugged individual: the rugged, self-energized individual leads the parade, determining who marches and where and how the crowd will go. That bedrock belief has led to the growing popularity in recent years of biographies, to the publication of works, for example, on the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln. These and similar giants of ...more
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mirrors reminded me very much of Zinn's People's History of the United States, except with a greater sense of poetry and style, and a scope covering the entire globe from the beginning of time.

Galeano presents hundreds of tiny historical and mythological nuggets, mostly focused on systematic oppression and all the effed up shiz you didn't learn in history class.

Besides going in chronological order, these stories are not linear at all. Thus, this is not really much of a page-turner. However, pat
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

History is perhaps the most flawed edifice that has been handed down and been added to by successive generations of the world. It works by the magical illusion that it is sacrosanct, unquestionable and impartial. We forget that it is merely a construction at the hands of equally flawed mortals at the rest of us who were guided by ideologies of their own. Mirrors is an arrow aimed at every one of these suppositions in order to destroy history’s illusory armour.

Mirrors is written in the style tha
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mirrors: Stories of almost everyone for almost everyone.
Well written short stories of world history through a significant narrative style.
Must read it.
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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

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