Book Review: A Brief History Of Bolivia

A Brief History Of Bolivia, by Waltraud Q. Morales

This book is a textbook example of why leftists write bad histories (and generally write nonfiction badly as a whole).  It would be a bad enough book if the author were merely biased, as she is, in favor of leftists and predictably ignorant about the workings of the need for political consensus rather than trying to take advantage of temporary electoral majorities to ram one’s misguided and destructive policies through.  The book is made even worse by the fact that the author ignores basic contradictions that any remotely sentient reader who is not as blind as the author is would be able to spot them quickly.  One example should suffice, as when the author seems to equate accused racism on the part of Creole elites in Bolivia with the expressed desire of indigenous rebels to destroy the white race as if they were equal evils, or that it was not evil to wish harm on whites but it was evil to be an elite over ignorant and violent native peoples.  An author like this does not deserve to be praised, nor can a work of hers be even remotely coherent in such circumstances.  This book is unbridled activism for an authoritarian leftist leader whose departure may be the best thing to happen to Bolivia in a long time, and yet this book has nothing but praise for extremist leftist positions and politicians except when they behave reasonably out of circumstance.

This book is a bit more than 300 pages long and begins with a list of illustrations, maps, tables, and acronyms as well as acknowledgements and a preface that views the election of Evo Morales as the culmination of Bolivia’s history.  After that the book introduces the people of South America’s heartland and then discusses the ancient peoples of South America and their empires (1) as well as Colonial Bolivia (2).  The author spends a chapter looking at independence and the first few presidents (3) before discussing the age of Caudillo rule that lasted until Bolivia’s disastrous defeat in the War of the Pacific against Chile (4).  After that a chapter discusses Republican rule (5) as well as the Chaco War and its aftermath (6).  The author then discusses the national revolution and its aftermath (7) as well as the counterrevolution that predictably followed (8) and the challenge of democracy from 1982 to 2002 (9).  The book then ends with a look at the supposed “democratic” revolution of Morales (10) and then gives some bad prognostications for Bolivia’s future (11), after which the book ends with appendices that provide some of the book’s few facts (i), a chronology (ii), bibliography (iii) and suggestions for further reading (iv), after which there is an index.

If there is anything instructive about this book, it is in the way that it demonstrates the obsession of leftists like the author (and like many of the political left in Bolivia and other places) with simon pure doctrinal purity.  Over and over again in this book one sees the proliferation of mutually hostile parties on the left with laughable names expressing a desire for unity and the book contributes to this mood of unreality by abusing any politician who sought to behave in a pragmatic faction or to build a broad electoral coalition to work with others.  The consistency with which the author shows a basic ignorance of reality and parrots her ideological points is a notable quality of this work, but it is not a quality which makes this book a worthwhile piece of history.  If the fears of Coronavirus continue, though, a book like this could easily be used as a suitable replacement for toilet paper, as one wouldn’t be losing anything by flushing this turd of a book down the toilet.  This book is really only directed at and appealing for fellow travelers to the author who have a high opinion of socialists and want to blame white people for all the problems of the world.  Anyone else should skip this.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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