The Lived Experience in 20th Century Central America

How have Central Americans and Americans experienced the twentieth century in Central America?  We will be reading testimonials, memoirs, documentaries and novels to get at the personal experiences of daily life in these deeply conflicted social orders.   We will read them in the following order, together with a synthetic history of Central American countries by John Booth.   I am not asking the bookstore to get them, as you can obtain them all much cheaper on line.  You will write a journal in two installlments, and a final 15 page essay for the course.  No exams. All the books are fantastic, and good reads.   Do not buy the June Erlick book, as I will lend you a copy. 
John Booth, Understanding Central America (Sixth Edition)
Omar Cabezas, Fire From the Mountain
Stephen Kinzer, Blood of Brothers:  Life and War in Nicaragua                 
Gioconda Belli, The Country Under My Skin
Sergio Ramírez, Adiós Muchachos
Stephen Schlesinger, Bitter Fruit:  The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala
June Erlick, Disappeared:  A Journalist Silenced
Rigoberta Menchú, I, Rigoberta Menchú:  An Indian Woman From Guatemala
Francisco Goldman, The Art of Political Murder
María López Vigil, Oscar Romero:  Memories in Mosaic
Ana Carrigan, Salvador Witness
Manlio Argueta, One Day of Life
Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
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