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Recommended Reads: “Open Veins of Latin America”


Before the formation classes arrive for their fall training, they receive a book list of titles related to their sessions.  We asked the candidates what books they’ve enjoyed and would recommend to others who would like to read about the Franciscan charism, social justice issues, and country studies.

How well do you know your American history?  Like many U.S. citizens, candidate Jeff Sved grew up reading a story of exploration, the discovery of a new nation and beginning of a dominant society.

But Jeff also had a hunch there was more to the story then what was most popularly known.  It was when he started reading Eduardo Galeano’s book, “Open Veins of Latin America” that his understanding opened up to a new world of struggle and survival.

The description of Galeano’s book offered by Amazon.com reads:

“Weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry, Galeano fuses scientific analysis with the passions of a plundered and suffering people. An immense gathering of materials is framed with a vigorous style that never falters in its command of themes. All readers interested in great historical, economic, political, and social writing will find a singular analytical achievement, and an overwhelming narrative that makes history speak, unforgettably.”

Jeff seemed to agree with description as he reflected on his study. “It’s a history of Latin America from a very different perspective. Instead of looking at the colonization period as a time of exploration, it looks through the lens of exploitation and what western civilization – or I guess, in that context, eastern civilizations – did moving in and kind of killing culture that had been flourishing for so long.”

Jeff especially appreciated the reflection given by Galeano on the difference between the U.S. colonies’ success as oppose to the struggle of the Latin American and South American colonies. He says the author does a good job explaining the “different mindsets that the different countries took coming into these new colonies and why some worked and some didn’t.”

If you would like to read Jeff’s recommendation you can find the book on Amazon or check your local library.  Next Wednesday look for Annemarie Barrett’s recommended read.

We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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