Latin American History from Plaza Books
By Michael Stillman
Plaza Books of Santa Rosa, California, has issued its latest list, number 16, of books and associated material relating to Latin America. Most works are in either Spanish or English, with a few written in French. Included is a wide variety of titles that will be of interest to those who collect the lands south of the U.S. border. Here are a few.
Item 5 is an interesting report on rebellion in 1930s Cuba that may help us to understand the anti-American tone of the later revolution under Castro. The book is The Crime of Cuba, written by Carleton Beals, an American journalist, who wrote about life under dictatorships in Latin America. At the time this book was written, Cuba was overthrowing the dictatorial and authoritarian regime of Gerardo Machado. Machado was elected in 1925 as a moderate and reformer, but as economic conditions deteriorated during the Great Depression, and the price of sugar collapsed, Machado turned to dictatorial and brutal measures to maintain control. America, as often was the case, inserted itself into the dispute, trying to form a government both acceptable to the Cuban people and the interests of American business. Machado was removed, but his successor lasted only a few weeks. General Fulgencio Batista moved into the void, and he would preside over a corrupt dictatorship until ousted from power on January 1, 1959, by Fidel Castro. Priced at $675.
Item 31 is a description of Ecaudor in the 1860s by Friedrich Haussarek, who was the American minister to that country. Haussarek was born in Austria, and participated with the student legion in the German revolution of 1848, but after twice being wounded, immigrated to America, where he settled in Cincinnati. He served as U.S. minister to Ecuador from 1861-1865, and as any student of American history will quickly grasp, that was a good time to be out of the country. This is a third edition of his book, Four Years among the Spanish-Americans, published in 1881. $200.
Item 44 is a 1740 English edition of Frenchman Jean de Pointis' A Genuine and Particular Account of the Taking of Carthagena by the French and Buccaniers, in the year 1697. Admiral de Pointis led a fleet whose aim was to plunder the Spanish colony at Carthagena. Along the way, he picked up a couple of ships of buccaneers, who wished to join in the looting. Despite strong resistance, the "allies" were successful, although de Pointis attempted to keep the buccaneers from entering the city. Eventually they did, but not until the French sailors had made off with the bulk of the loot, fighting off English raiders on their way home to France. Included with the book are two manuscript documents, at least one of which appears to relate to this raid. $2,950.