Best central america history books according to redditors

We found 232 Reddit comments discussing the best central america history books. We ranked the 84 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Belize history books
Costa Rica history books
El Salvador history books
Guatemala history books
Honduras history books
Nicaragua history books
Panama history books

Top Reddit comments about Central America History:

u/Ammonoidea · 2473 pointsr/AskReddit

How to read Mayan Hieroglyphs. Imagine: you're a 19th century Westerner. As far as you know, the jungles of Mexico are an empty waste, filled with terrible bugs and horrible climate (you're also probably racist, so not a whole lot of help there either). Then, well, you find this. Giant ancient temples, monuments, buried in the jungle for hundreds of years. How? Why? Sure, the Spanish recorded cities in the North of the Yucatan, but they were nothing like this. And you just keep finding more of them deep in the jungle, and most crazily they're covered in what is unmistakably... writing. Who were these ancient people, and what did they have to say?

Digging through the archives in Europe, the Western world found ancient books written by these same people, the few saved from Spanish fire. This was a whole literary culture, destroyed by the Spanish in their invasion. Think about how radically this changed our ideas about the world. Look, the fact that the ancient Hittites, the Assyrians, The Sumerians, the Minoans wrote, well that wasn't too unlikely, right? I mean, they were related to cultures we knew could write. Hell, there'd even been great success in figuring out Egyptian, Sumerian, Assyrian and several others. But, understanding this was going to be way harder.

Firstly, there was no translation, no rosetta stone. Well, not unless you counted a weird document made by a Spanish Monk in the 1500s, which most scholars at the time didn't. The sounds it suggested for each symbol didn't make sense when you applied them. Besides, scholars became increasingly convinced the ancient maya were peaceful priest-astronomers, whose symbols were not really like our (western) writing but something more primitive. Symbols, ideas, not a real script. Secondly, people thought for the above reason, that there was no living descendant of the language, certainly not the Maya of the native peoples. Oh, no definitely not.

Now, by the 1920s, scholars had figured out how to read their numbers, and found a fantastically complicated series of interlocking calendars, of astrological patterns. But, there wasn't any progress on the actual reading. In fact, there wasn't any until the 1950s from a very odd place.

Scene: Berlin 1945. Soviet Soldiers, entering the capital of the enemy fan out through the city to end the war. Our hero: Yuri Knorozov, an eccentric Soviet soldier, formerly studying Egyptology before the war. Now, the good story is that Knorozov entered the national library in Berlin as it was burning, and saw in a moment of happenstance a rare book containing copies of three extant Maya codices (folded books). Rushing, he saved it and read it through the return journey to Moscow. However, he later said that there was no fire, he simply picked up a box of books and found it. But still! This is a critical moment.

For Knorozov was a great admirer of the old decipherers, the men who had translated Egyptian, Hittite. Determined, he settled back in Moscow, and began to think. He had never been to Mayan lands (he wouldn't get to go until after the fall of the Berlin wall), but armed with books and thought, he made important progress. His major incite was this: the maya script was a rela script, probably composed of syllables, and that de Landa's notes (the Spanish Monk) was a garbled account of these syllables. In 1952 he published his early work, met with scorn in America. Yet he kept at it.

Now, Knorozov wasn't the only guy to be working on this, there many other important researchers, but this story is getting long. So to cut it short: With Knorozov's insights, he and many other researchers in the USA and Mexico began to translate the maya script. At first, just a little, then with each confirmation, a little more, until it was a great flood. Through 500 years of jungle and persecution, the ancient Maya were speaking to us.

About what? Well, at first it didn't appear that interesting. Here was not the earlier priest-astronomers. Kings being crowned, bloody wars, the founding of cities. Yet, slowly a complex tapestry revealed itself, of warring cities, great leaders, epic battles. What had seemed like distant figures became vicious death and life struggles for power. They weren't all that different from the politics around us (alright, more penis-stabbing, but hey).

So there: a great mystery solved. The Mayan script. A thousand years of civilization that we can now read (mostly).

Edit: I'm so glad my most popular comment is about history. If you want to know more, Michael D. Coe's The Maya is a great (if a bit dense) introduction. Coe's Breaking the Maya Code is a more focused text on just the script. For a shorter piece about breaking the code and other cases of script decipherement (Egyptian, Greek Linear B) and other unsolved scripts (Rongorongo, Etruscan, Greek Linear A) check out Robinson's Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts, which is also a fantastically beautiful book (serious, if the typographer of this book and the graphic designer ever finds this post, please pat yourself on the back. Or something. You're awesome!).

Thanks Reddit Gold Guy Explains why thinks looked different.

u/bluesky557 · 70 pointsr/UnresolvedMysteries

Injury and/or infection seem like safe bets. I highly doubt he "went native" (ugh, colonial-era racism) or set up a cult. The jungle is extraordinarily dangerous and the insect problem is probably what got them in the end. I read David McCullough's The Path Between the Seas about the building of the Panama Canal, and it's estimated that over 27,000 workers died from malaria and yellow fever. Three guys alone in the Amazon with rudimentary protection would probably perish very quickly.

u/brownspectacledbear · 31 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

You may be interested in this book:

A journalist actually rode the rails and followed immigrants from central America (where most are coming from at the moment) up to the border. He found that yeah most of the women are being preyed upon and are sexually assaulted, but it isn't other illegal immigrants that are doing it, it's the men who have made a business over terrorizing border crosses. The men who stay in Mexico and Central America. Shocker right, Trump said they were all crossing so it must be true. Also I don't mean to upset your idea that America is wonderful or great, but a lot of the terror and violence exists because America has a high demand for illegal drugs. The American demand creates drug cartels. I specifically talked about xenophobia over racism because that's what Donald Trump has proven to be a xenophobe. He is describing undocumented immigrants as a massive horde who are destroying America (Make America Great Again? Please.) The system that America runs off of is built with inequality. You do not have to explicitly say let's make America white, to believe that America should be all white. And yeah maybe painting someone who is legally by the definition of the constitution of the United States America a citizen as being a foreign national is probably a little bit mixed in with racism. That's what Trump does, he appeals to the lowest common denominator.

u/khosikulu · 20 pointsr/AskHistorians

It was more complicated than that, you're correct. But economic questions weren't irrelevant. Rather than talk out of school (my specialization), I thought I should point you at titles that may help and which I don't have to hand because I'm not in my office:

I don't know if this is too long in the tooth now, but Immerman's The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention may have some insights. Bear in mind it's 1983 so the situation became substantially more complicated in the following 7-10 years. But this may tell you a lot about that early period. Walter LaFeber's Inevitable Revolutions (1993) may also be worth a perusal.

But for more recent studies of US policy relative to the Guatemalan coup and its aftermath, I think Bitter Fruit (new edition, 2005) may still be at the top of the heap. Nick Cullather assembled the official CIA history of the 1950s coup in 1999, but I have never laid eyes on that book. I've read bits of Immerman and all of LaFeber, but a long time ago. Hopefully this will give you someplace to start!

u/SeanUR · 19 pointsr/ireland

If you want to learn more about the Irish in Latin America I highly recommend this book

u/eeksskee · 16 pointsr/ethereum

Chichen Itza is one of the most amazing things in the world. Experience it no matter what. Also, a great time to read Breaking the Maya Code, which seems applicable to Ethereum/crypto in a lot ways. Spoiler alert: it took forever in part because each generation of archaeologists thought they had a monopoly on the truth and couldn't adapt their techniques and understanding to evidence that they were wrong.

u/marcdasharc4 · 14 pointsr/Panama

Never learned it in school here, but the whole story of the Scottish settlement in Darién is featured prominently in The Path Between The Seas by David McCullough. I read it shortly after high school. “Thrilling” isn’t an adjective I would normally use to describe a non-fiction book, but the way McCullough pieces the history of the canal with the history of Panama and the various countries and personalities invested in the project(s) at one point or another is superb.

u/NumberMuncher · 12 pointsr/worldnews

I enjoyed this book.

The author rode in a Lidar plane and described the process. They do many flyovers. The computer averages the images after the fact. It is unlikely that a leaf is in the same place for each flyover, unlike the ground.

u/Liberal54561 · 10 pointsr/UnresolvedMysteries

I recommend reading "The Lost City of The Monkey God".

u/SkiMonkey98 · 9 pointsr/worldnews

and if you want to focus on guatemala, try Bitter Fruit

u/derangeddollop · 8 pointsr/neoliberal

For awhile redirected to this blog post:

> It's instructive for people my age who are thinking of careers in foreign policy to know that you can back death squads in Central America, deny mass atrocities, brazenly defy Congressional dictates, get convicted of withholding information from Congress, back a covert coup d'état, actively undermine the peace process in Israel, and be in charge of implementing the Bush administration's "freedom agenda" and end up with a senior fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations and an offer to be CFR's president should Richard Haass leave. I believe the term for this is "perverse incentive".

u/rspix000 · 8 pointsr/news

Archeologist Arthur Demarest has been at the forefront of effectively working with the natives around his Mayan digs. He has been able to reduce looting by involving the locals in making money off tourists who want to see the artifacts and excavations intact. He was actually able to recover a looted ball court goal from a remote site in Guatemala because of local "skin in the game". Compare that with another archeologist who went down into the jungles with NASA sat maps and found good stuff (I can't remember the details, but saw a talk he gave NASA when he got back). He tried to carry off a well preserved altar to the capital and the locals became upset that he was trying to steal their heritage. They stripped him and his crew, took all their stuff, and they are lucky to be alive after a dangerous escape from captivity. Those digs don't rely on competition with the locals for funding. This could only lead to big trouble in Darwinland. You must separate the funding of the science from the local trinket sales or the locals may just sell off the tortoises. I'm just saying.

u/BonerZero · 8 pointsr/AskHistorians

Thanks for your detailed reply and inquiry. I have not read "The Father of Spin" or "The Century of Self," though I now look to pick up those titles for I am incredibly interested in thought control in democratic societies, as Bernays described in great detail in his book, Propaganda (Brooklyn: Ig Publishing, 2005), where he begins by saying something like "the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in a democratic society."

Stephen Schlesinger's Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala goes into detail about the UFC involvement and mentions Bernays, though less is clear about his fear-mongering about communism. Certainly Cold War ideology played an intricate part coming from Washington, but that's a very pre-Westad view (please read "The Global Cold War"). Guatemala has a long, long, history that is often overlooked because other great powers like the US come along. But local factors are arguably much more important. We need to consider the deep ideological divides found within Guatemala, K'iche' elites and Creole elites and their relationship between Indian and non-Indian populations, the changing economic policies before the 1950s, , shifting political alliances, United Fruit Company, Arbenz, and the doomed land reforms. A question one might ponder: Why would Eisenhower be afraid of Arbenz? He was from the military. He wasn't a communist. But land reform, just like most progressive movements anywhere in the world during the cold war was often used as by states to attack internal threats. Bernays most likely contributed to the fear of communism in American media, and within the Eisenhower administration (one Dulles brother was a shareholder of UFC while the other worked for the admin). It may have encouraged the CIA to get involved. But as Grandin points out, there's a lot going on in Latin America, and specifically Guatemala that Bernays did not foresee, and even CIA personal did not fully grasp. The psychological warfare is still considered a "success" by CIA standards.

u/ReactorofR · 8 pointsr/videos

The video description has three 1 2 3

u/ahu747us · 7 pointsr/Panama

Path between the seas is a very good book about the Panama Canal construction. Written by David McCullough.
The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

u/fionnstoned · 7 pointsr/conspiracy

Before I read that book I wanted to be an army officer and eventually go into politics. That book grew me up.

u/Cal_history · 6 pointsr/AskHistorians

They usually have access to materials that aren't available to anyone else, so often they produce excellent work (that's then not declassified for 30 years, in some cases). Mostly these folks serve different purposes than writing objective history for academic consumption, though. They're intended to serve as a sort of institutional memory for the unit, as well as produce material to sell the work of the agency to the current administration. They may also produce 'official history' type manuscripts, but that's often not a primary job responsibility. There are plenty of these histories that are pretty high quality, in any event. Examples:

Relevant article:

There's probably some bias imposed by the circumstances, but then again everyone works from some perspective or another. I can't imagine an official agency historian being anything but upfront about that.

A bigger problem with military agencies' historians is probably that military history is currently something of an inbred field that's more than a little influenced by disconnect from the rest of the discipline through institutional issues like many of the positions being at service academies and other military-sponsored sites where there isn't necessarily the broader intellectual community. That's not 100% the case, obviously, but I'd suspect it imposes more bias on the questions that get asked, type of approaches to answering them, and quality of research than happens to official agency historians.

u/MidEastBeast777 · 6 pointsr/educationalgifs

Yup, Ferdinand de Lesseps was the one who was given much of the credit for the construction of the Suez Canal. He tried to do the same in Panama and make the whole canal at sea level but failed miserably and almost bankrupted France.

The book by David McCullough on the Panama Canal is an amazing read

u/Morazan1823 · 6 pointsr/todayilearned

Bitter Fruit has a great account of The United Fruit Co.'s involvment & povokation in the CIA'S war in Guatemala. Written by to Harvard professors, the non-fictional historical account reads like a thriller novel. Listed here on Amazon, 4.8 out of 5 stars, From $11.48 used

u/Elphinstone1842 · 5 pointsr/AskHistorians

There are lots of great books about Port Royal in its heyday. The first ones I'd recommend are The Sack of Panama by Peter Earle and Empire of Blue Water by Stephen Talty which both give really solid broad introductions to the politics and environment of the Caribbean and Port Royal's relationship with buccaneers during its heyday in the 1660s until 1671 when England started to crack down on them.

If you want more specialized reading exclusively on Port Royal then I'd recommend Pirate Port: The story of the sunken city of Port Royal by Robert F. Marx for some light reading, and if you want a really excessively meticulous study of everything you ever wanted to know about Port Royal from written records and archaeological findings with lots of maps and reconstructions included then read Port Royal Jamaica by Michael Pawson and David Buisseret.

Lastly, a great primary source on Port Royal in its heyday is the contemporary book The Buccaneers of America which was published by Alexandre Exquemelin in 1678. Exquemelin himself was an actual former French/Dutch buccaneer and the book contains many of his first-person recollections, such as this describing the activities of buccaneers in Port Royal in the 1660s which has clearly influenced some modern pirate tropes:

> Captain Rock sailed for Jamaica with his prize, and lorded it there with his mates until all was gone. For that is the way with these buccaneers -- whenever they have got hold of something, they don't keep it for long. They are busy dicing, whoring and drinking so long as they have anything to spend. Some of them will get through a good two or three thousand pieces of eight in a day -- and next day not have a shirt to their back. I have seen a man in Jamaica give 500 pieces of eight to a whore, just to see her naked. Yes, and many other impieties.

> My own master used to buy a butt of wine and set in the middle of the street with the barrel-head knocked in, and stand barring the way. Every passer-by had to drink with him, or he'd have shot them dead with a gun he kept handy. Once he bought a cask of butter and threw the stuff at everyone who came by, bedaubing their clothes or their head, wherever he best could reach.

> The buccaneers are generous to their comrades: if a man has nothing, the others will come to his help. The tavern-keepers let them have a good deal of credit, but in Jamaica one ought not to put much trust in these people, for often they will sell you for debt, a thing I have seen happen many a time. Even the man I have just been speaking about, the one who gave the whore so much money to see her naked, and at that time had a good 3,000 pieces of eight -- three months later he was sold for his debts, by a man in whose house he had spent most of his money.

u/rkdude02 · 5 pointsr/Panama

Path Between the Seas by David McCullough is pretty much the magnum opus on the subject.

u/AldoPeck · 5 pointsr/deepfatfried


Fucked over a ton of SA countries in way worse ways. Doesn't justify using Puerto Rico as a neoliberal laboratory and money laundering tax haven (that makes their economic numbers look better).

u/[deleted] · 5 pointsr/AskHistorians

If you want a good source, I'd check out Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization by Arthur Demarest. He does the best job of describing it out of the books I've read.

To summarize, the Classic Period Maya built their society using a unique form of agriculture suited to the rainforest. Rainforest soils are incredibly thin, and most of the nutrients is stored in the plants themselves rather than the sediment. Maya agriculture attempted to mimic the way the rainforest handles nutrients by burning plant mass to create thin fertile soils. They also planted multiple crops together in a way that minimized the damage to the soil. They would allow fields many years to recover after each harvest so as to avoid over taxing the system.

The system was incredibly stable as long as you didn't overdo it. Which is exactly what happened in the Late Classic Period. The Classic Maya city-states of the Peten region had been fighting each other for centuries, but when a stalemate arose between the two major powers (Calakmul and Tikal), other smaller cities began to 'throw their hat into the ring.' There were dozens of different cities at this point all competing to be the next regional power.

This kind of competition was expensive. In addition to devoting resources to the wars, they put lots of resources into new construction projects and festivals. Maya kingship was based on divine right, and the bigger the pyramid and the more impressive the festival the closer that king was to the gods. The problem was that pouring all of these resources into wars and competitive festivals depleted the granaries. So the Maya increased agricultural production, which was a dangerous decision.

Which city collapsed first is still a question for debate, but once it started it swept through the Maya lowlands like a domino rally. A famine broke out and this created refugees. The refugees went to other Maya communities, which were already stretching their resources thin as it was. These communities then too ran out of food and people left them for other communities, and so on and so forth. Pretty much the entire Southern Maya lowlands was depopulated in less than a century.

Other Maya regions like the Guatemala highlands and the Yucatan did fine, mind you. Their civilization actually flourished after the collapse in the Southern Lowlands.

u/tubamann · 5 pointsr/audible

I've a few recommendations here, both about writing and about langauge as a whole

  • Cuneiform by Irving Finkel as a (very) short but nice introduction to Cuneiform. I enjoyed it a lot, especially since I couldn't seem to find other popularized introductions to the subject.
  • Empires of the Word by Nicholas Ostler. This is a behemoth, a world history in the context of languages. I love the book, although it can be a bit information heavy at times. The focus is on langauges, but comes with lots of nice examples of writing as well. (I found this book through The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker, which is tries to describe language from a neurological PoV, an amazing book)
  • Breaking the Maya Code by Michael Coe, one of the players in the breaking of the Maya script. I didn't know a thing about mayan language or script before reading this, and albeit being too detailed on who-did-what, the mayan script is beautiful and this books documents this wonderfully.
  • The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox. The theme is similar as the one above, but this is focused on the decipherment of Linear B, where both script and language was unknown. Very recommended, especially in the methodology on how to catalogue large number of correlations between script pairs in the time before SQL...

    I'm following this thread closely... :)
u/cgalv · 4 pointsr/FeMRADebates

Theories of what caused maladies were many and varied before the germ theory eventually won out in the early days of the 1900s. It's crazy to think about it, but they still hadn't figure out that, for instance, malaria was an illness caused by a microscopic parasite transmitted through the bite of a mosquito at the time they were digging the Panama canal...leading to many a tragic treatment theory for malaria wards. I recommend The Path Between The Seas for a tragically enlightening read.

A theory that hysterical behavior was caused by a malfunction of the uterus is not really any more sexist than the general belief that people had 4 'humors' in their body, and their relative imbalance could cause illness. Or that illness was caused by 'bad air' especially from swamps.

u/forker88 · 4 pointsr/history

A few titles on specific topics that seem uncovered:

u/vitingo · 4 pointsr/PuertoRico
u/CHIDJM · 3 pointsr/environment

Someone else listed the source, but this book, The Path Between The Seas, covers it very in depth, and is 100% worth the read. I consider it one of the best books I've read of 2014, and that is an extensive list full of some really good books.

u/Ahhuatl · 3 pointsr/mesoamerica

"Thirding" Wallaby's and Rabbit's suggestions, I'd recommend Arthur Demarest's "Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization".

u/eternalkerri · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

I used Alexander O. Esquemelins book Buccaneers in America

Bennerson Little's The Sea Rover's Practice

And The Sack of Panama

edit: sorry about that last post, I should have cited, but I was quite ill the past two days.

u/sistersunbeam · 3 pointsr/videos

Yes! I did an entire class on more or less this subject (US-Latin American Relations, or "How the US was Constantly Interfering in Latin America").

Banana Cultures, John Soluri: About the history of banana consumption and farming in Honduras. AMAZING BOOK.

Talons of the Eagle, Peter Smith: I believe this has a chapter about US efforts to undermine Latin American governments that were "too socialist" which talks about Guatemala and Jacobo Arbenz^1.

The Massacre at El Mozote, Mark Danner: And finally, one about El Salvador, but that deals with these mass killings and the horrors that went on in Latin America during this period when the US was interfering.


^1 I had to go look at an old paper to find this one. I know I read about Guatemala specifically somewhere because it made me really angry, and I think this was it.

u/aarkerio · 3 pointsr/mexico

The "classic" books about the Mayans (the first books every student reads when he/she starts his Mayan Studies master) are:

The Ancient Maya by Sylvanus G. Morley

The Rise and Fall of Maya Civilization by J. Eric S. Thompson

La civilización de los antiguos mayas by Alberto Ruz Lhuillier

Those books have some information outdated (mainly because they were written before the Mayan writing was deciphered) but still they are a great introduction to the Mayans studies.

More modern sources :

A great, great reading, all my friends refuse to give me back Cole's book, they invite me a dinner in exchange and all is OK.

Besides, is good to know the works of this guy, because he is THE guy:

u/elixir22 · 3 pointsr/worldnews

Just read a great book by Douglas Preston that describes the use of this tech to find another lost city in Honduras. Fast read!

u/MJ_83 · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

If you find this interesting, there is a fantastic book on US "influence" in Latin America called Empire's Workshop.

u/pipperdoodle · 3 pointsr/history

The books under the Maya section in the link u/Mictlantecuhtli gave are good. Forest of Kings, Michael Coe's The Maya, etc.

For a general overview of the Maya with great pictures, try Maya: Divine Kings of the Rainforest (definitely an inter-library loan book to get!).

If you're interested in Maya writing try Michael Coes' Reading the Maya Glyphs, or The Art of the Maya Scribe.

Much of Maya history is known from the text written about the royalty, so if that interests you try Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens. Talks about the individuals and the relations between different cities, but might be too specific about names and chronology so it depends on whether you like that stuff. Maybe get a general overview of their history first, then definitely explore the people.

u/marmd · 2 pointsr/europe

Hey! There's a very good irish Newspaper in Buenos Aires which covers news about Ireland and the irish community here: The Southern Cross. They don't have a webpage, so I'm linking to their Medium

I also recommend you this book: Paisanos: The Forgotten Irish Who Changed the Face of Latin America by Tim Fanning. The prologue was written by Michael Higgins, so I guess it is sold in Ireland. I don't know how known is the story of irish people in South America up there

edit: Removed facebook link

u/arjun101 · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

I've been reading a lot of foreign policy stuff lately, here is what I recommend.

If there is one single book on foreign policy you should read, read Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004) by Steve Coll. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in 2005, and is a fantastic book that examines the way US foreign policy in Central/South Asia developed, evolved, and devolved over during the '80s and '90s. Its brilliantly written, and weaves effortlessly between historical narrative, the personal journeys of key individuals, and the larger contemporary socio-economic and political context.

Other books I'd recommend on US foreign policy (fair warning, many of these are from a left-wing perspective and tend to be harshly critical--or at least, very cynical):

u/Sancv · 2 pointsr/TheAmericans

If anyone is interested in History:

Latin American in the Era of the Cuban Revolution

Inevitable Revolutions

Both great books that go well with the theme of Latin America this season. The first book is an easier read, while the second might be better suited for history lovers.

u/CommodoreCoCo · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

You can find a lot in our booklist- I'll single out some from there that focus on writing and add some more.

  • Breaking the Maya Code by Michael Coe is the example of what popular history can be. It's a thrilling account of the decipherment of Maya writing, which Dr. Coe played a big part in.

  • Reading the Maya Glyphs by Coe and Mark VanStone is a sort of workbook companion to Coe's history. It teaches the fundamentals of Maya writing and is handy guide for further studies.

  • Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube is less explicitly about the glyphs and more about what we can learn from them. Still, Martin and Grube are skilled epigraphers who reveal the history of several important city states with emphasis on how archaeologists and epigraphers work.

  • Maya Decipherment is David Stuart's blog and a great thing to follow. Simon Martin and Stephen Houston frequently contribute, as do a handful of others. Lots of great articles of various topics,

  • FAMSI has a great selection of resources on all kinds of Mesoamerican writing. Josserand & Hopkins' Glyph Workbook is generally better than Coe & VanStone's, if less official. The Kerr Vase Database is fun to look through, and the searchable dictionaries are useful.

  • Corpus of Maya Heirogylphic Inscriptions from Harvard's Peabody Museum is a handy database that's easy to browse and nice to have on hand when other books/articles reference a monument. Sometimes has translations, almost always has transcriptions.

u/wuapinmon · 2 pointsr/costa_rica

I've long enjoyed a different kind of history book about la Tiquicia.

u/theycallmemorty · 2 pointsr/videos

If you're interested in the history of the construction of the original canal I highly recommend a book called Path Between the Seas by David McCullough. It's full of all kind of interesting stuff about the political, engineering and epidemiological problems they faced.

u/HansGutenbauer · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

Jacobo Arbenz had ties to ALL political parties in Guatemala... in fact, the minority of his government was composed of people of communist ideology. Socialists, capitalists, etc. were represented in his government. Saying he had anti-U.S. views is an exaggeration, he just disliked anyone that threatened the sovereignty of Guatemalan democracy. This is a fairly comprehensive read on the whole affair:

u/vonHindenburg · 1 pointr/MapPorn

I'd highly recommend David McCullough's "Path Between the Seas" for a great discussion of the Panama/Nicaragua debate and history of the actual construction.

u/ongakuka · 1 pointr/AskReddit

i read this quote in David McCullough's incredible book about the Panama Canal, called The Path Between The Seas. It comes from John Stevens, the man who eventually came in and finished the overwhelmingly gargantuan task of completing the construction of the Panama Canal, perhaps the largest engineering task ever undertaken up until that point.

"Do something, for the mistake can be corrected...but there is no way to correct nothing".

u/Kthulu666 · 1 pointr/pics

The Massacre at El Mozote is a good book about our involvement in Nicaragua that doesn't treat our government with kid gloves. Surprised it was required reading in a college class. Definitely worth buying.

u/fschmidt · 1 pointr/Bible

What is WC?

I watched some of the 9/11 video. Self-sacrifice is associated with goodness, but then the Islamic terrorists also practiced self-sacrifice, so self-sacrifice by itself isn't enough. Good judgement is also needed. Also, 2000 was still better than now. There probably were some good people at that time, it is only in the last few years that I have seen all traces of goodness disappear.

Romans 12:2 is something I quote to Christians all the time (at least I did when I dealt with them). Of course I wish Christians would follow this, but only traditional Anabaptists seem to. Mainstream Christianity is completely conformed to this age.

I haven't read "Night" by Elie Wiesel. I know enough about this topic since most of family died in the Holocaust and my father escaped from a Nazi work camp and then fought, blowing up German trains. Individuals can make the most difference when there is open war between good and evil, by siding with good. But when one is surrounded by ubiquitous evil, as in modern culture, it is much harder to make a difference.

Ancient Israel was a case of constant conflict between good and evil with good generally being the minority. Still, at least there always seemed to be at least one prophet of good, which is better than today.

Most of what Jesus says is consistent with the Old Testament, and his opinion of Solomon is no exception. Solomon clearly violated Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

I didn't write much about the New Testament because modern Christianity doesn't work. But here is one thing I wrote:

About history, please don't waste your time on YouTube and on history books. Only original sources have value. Here are some books that you may find interesting:

To understand the world wars, probably the best book to read is Mein Kampf.

Like with religion, one has to get as close to the source as possible in history to find truth.

u/JCutter · 1 pointr/horror

No doubt trying to market and sell his book.

u/prinzplagueorange · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

Oscar Martinez documents this in brutal detail in his book The Beast. Martinez personally rode the migrant trail from Central America to the US eight times in the course of writing his book. It's also been documented extensively by human rights groups. The "people who shouldn't be here" line ignores the fact that most of these migrants are fleeing problems that the US itself is largely responsible for creating (due to the war on drugs and attacks on left-wing movements in the region).

u/crotchpolice · 1 pointr/ChapoTrapHouse

You're in luck, there are entire books written about this very subject

u/Indigoes · 1 pointr/financialindependence

Well, arguing that you “should” have a moral compunction to do anything is a virtually impossible task, because morals are internal motivation. I can try to appeal to those morals through guilt (which you don’t like), though calculating marginal utility and appealing to your sense of community (the EA approach, which you don’t like), or by demonstrating that you did benefit from other people (which I will continue to try). But if you truly believe that you are entitled to everything you have and not only owe nothing to people to whom you profited from (because that’s the way the world works) and do not wish to address disparities even though the cost to you is much less than the benefit to someone else (because it’s yours and you worked for it), then you are free of moral compunction and I can’t change your mind. That’s why this is usually the provenance of religion, which promises a punishment from a higher being to encourage what many societies have defined as “the right thing to do.”

First, I would like to agree with you about capitalism as a force for good. The expansion of globalized trade and capitalist economies has made the people on this planet healthier and wealthier than at any other time in human history. Those gains have been distributed, but they have not been equally distributed, and as a result, there is massive global inequality both between and within nations. And actually, the OECD suggests economic strategies by which lessened inequality promotes more growth, growing the pie for everyone (so the pursuit of maximizing only profits at the expense of other developments is not necessarily the greatest global good).

That being said, I will address your three points.

The most important is #2. The idea of “business-friendly values” is a very popular one, but values alone cannot make an economy thrive (or a government or a society) without institutions that protect and promote those values. It is not at all clear that implementing “western values” create prosperity in any kind of automatic way, and certainly not without protective institutions. In addition, it is rare for people in positions of power to voluntarily give up that power, and so disenfranchised people tend to remain disenfranchised. I would say that in your example of immigrants that come to the “Western world” and prosper can do so not because of their values, but because of the institutions that allow that to happen. I suggest Acemoglu and Robinson's Why Nations Fail and Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion as further reading.

It’s also part of the reason that innovation tends to come from a subset of economies. Countries that innovate, have good institutions, and invest in education tend to have more innovators, find a balance between protection of profit and distribution, and make more innovators. There is also an incentive to oppress innovation on discoveries outside of the original innovation centers, which is why we have overzealous patent protection and unequal business agreements that use proprietary tech (Point #1).

Which brings me to the idea that international business can perpetuate disenfranchisement. Many companies use economic power to subvert the power of the people in order to protect their profits, whether through appropriating the use of force or through lobbying elected officials. BP lobbied the US and the UK to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran to prevent oil fields from being nationalized (and resource profits sent overseas) in 1953. The United Fruit Company convinced the Eisenhower administration to overthrow the government of Guatemala in 1954 to avoid agrarian reform policies. In 2007, Chiquita banana admitted to funding a terrorist organization in Colombia to protect their interests. Domino Sugar today refuses to comply with labor protections in the CAFTA agreements, using disenfranchised Haitian-Dominicans to harvest sugarcane (part 1) (part 2). Conflict minerals in the DRC and Zimbabwe are still used in a large proportion of electronics. Nestle still uses child labor to harvest cacao in the Ivory Coast.

Rich countries are not immune. Fossil fuel lobbying in the US is a real and problematic thing that is bad for the earth and bad for the green energy industry.

So though it’s true that you did not personally oppress any Tanzanians or Iranians or Koreans (or Guatemalans or Colombians or Haitian-Americans or Congolese or Zimbabweans or Cote-d’Ivorians) (Point #1), if you made money as a shareholder of those companies (or consumed their products), then you profited from the unethical behavior of those companies. As a direct result of those business decisions, people in other countries received less money and you received more. Period. I don’t think that this necessarily makes you a perpetrator, but I think that it does make you complicit.

If you consider this kind of capitalistic profiteering ethical (or “the way the world works”), I can agree that you do not have a moral compunction to support disenfranchised people and reject these company behaviors. However, if you think that any of these actions are morally wrong, then you should feel guilty from profiting off of them. (And I am speaking explicitly about investment income here).

Even if you do not profit from stocks in those companies, you may profit as a consumer – when you buy cheap gas or bananas. Taxes that the companies paid may have supported your elementary school. Benefits from medical protections may have been reinvested in new therapies that cured your grandmother’s cancer. The global economy is complex. But generally, the people who are already rich are those who reap a larger share of the benefits.

If you believe that this is morally acceptable (or “the way the world works”), then you do not have a moral compunction to donate to charity.

However, if you do have a problem with these behaviors and you feel morally uncomfortable with the results, you have two routes to address the issues, and both routes should be followed at the same time: to ameliorate the effects through global giving AND to pursue system reform to make it stop happening.

u/alamosh · 1 pointr/Panama

Just bought the Kindle edition. Here's the link for anyone interested.

u/desktop_version_bot · 1 pointr/Panama
u/GMoore85 · 1 pointr/socialism

Read Empire's workshop. You can find it on Amazon, I'll put a link in my comment. We had to read this book during my Latin America history class in college. Pretty much breaks down 100 years of American imperialism in L.A. We pretty much put a pro big business dictator in every country in South America, and we took out a lot of democratic governments while doing it under the guise of "battling communism".

u/strangelite · 1 pointr/politics

I'm a historian of Latin America, so I really only know about the US-Latin American cases or the US/Canadian/European - Caribbean cases. Peter Kornbluh has published a lot of declassified US primary source documents that relate to US interventionism abroad.

The Pinochet File, about Chile
Bay of Pigs Declassified, about Cuba

A really good secondary source is Greg Grandin's book Empire's Workshop.

A great secondary source on this sort of stuff occurring during the 1970s in Southeast Asia, by Alfred McCoy, is The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Meticulously researched (the book is over 1000 pages, the footnotes are endless). McCoy is a pretty tremendous historian, out of U of Wisconsin. His area of expertise is Southeast Asia, not the US, and like me, he stumbled into a much darker story than he ever expected to find.

u/MrGoodEmployee · 1 pointr/chicago

I've heard House of Leaves is really bizarre and cool.

My current deck is Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa, Between Legitimacy and Violence: A History of Colombia, 1875-2002, Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, Blood Meridian, and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

It's a really depressing list.

I read American Gods a couple years ago and hated it enough to not pick up another fiction book for like over a year.

u/New_Acts · 0 pointsr/politics

I can't tell if you're pulling my leg or really just didn't realize you sent a magazine article...

  • The company had powerful friends in the Eisenhower administration, including Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs John M. Cabot, whose brother Tom briefly was United’s president. It also hired Washington lobbyist Thomas G. “Tommy the Cork” Corcoran, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s brain trusters, and two other public relations experts, John Clements, a powerful conservative, and Spruille Braden, Truman’s Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs

    The Assistant Secretary of State for LA brother's was United's President. For a single year.

    Then the company hired lobbyists, 2 of which have no bearing on United and 1 who was the Assistant Secret of State for LA who would be one of the few people in Washington deeply knowledge to have the qualifications for that job..

    People being paid by a company to lobby the government on its behalf. Well thats damning evidence for sure.

  • But most analysts agree that United Fruit was the most important force in toppling Árbenz, and Bernays was the company’s most effective propagandist

    This is the most topical sentence in the article. And yet. Which analysts is he referring to?

    Thats as bad as Fox News saying "Some would say.." Its bad journalism without providing any sources so that it protects itself from being refuted

    If pasting editorialized generalizations is what you think is proving your point, It's not.

    I'm not even sure why you linked the article? To show that United was involved in lobbying the government and a public relations fight with Guatemala to protect their business interests?

    Yeah thats a good point. Maybe I should have included something in my original post about United Fruit being an element to it.

    Maybe something like

    >United Fruit added sticks to the fire for sure


    >Now the business interests (not only United Fruit) being affected in Guatemala was definitely a factor

    So instead of a source. You provided a 2nd hand account that barely has any sources in it other than unnamed analysts.

    Heres a source. 1953 Declassified history of CIA actions in Guatemala

  • Point 4 from the excerpt.

    >In November 1951 the first of many meetings was held between Agency officials to discuss Guatemala

    >In early 1952, after a careful survey of anti-communist Guatemalan revolutionary leaders, it was decided that RUFUS ( Carlos Castillo Armas) was the only one with sufficient prestige, character, and ability to organize and lead a successful revolution.

    Declassified Telegram from CIA January 1952

    >. It is requested that JULEP locate but not contact CARLOS CASTILLO ARMAS if in Salvador or Honduras. If located, headquarters should be continually advised of major movements. Reference gives reported permanent [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] address in Honduras.

    The United States and Guatemala 1952 - 1954. Declassified internal document

    > In 1952 State department officials welcomed Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza to Washington on his first state visit...[he] told state department officials that, if they provided arms, he and Castillo Armas would take care of Arbenz.

    >Truman instructed DCI Smith to follow up. Smith dispatched [redacted] a spanish speaking engineer who joined the Agency in 1951, to make contact with Castillo Armas and other dissidents in Honduras and Guatemala. [Redacted] arrived in Guatemala city on June 16th, the day before Arbenz enacted the agrarian reform.

    >The administration's concern about the Arbenz regime had increased
    in mid-1951, and there is evidence that the Truman administration en-
    couraoed the company to take a hard line. United Fruit's vast holdings and
    monopolies on communications and transit in Central America attracted the
    attention of lawyers in the Justice Department's antitrust division as early
    as 1919 In May 1951, they were preparing for court action to force United
    Fruit to divest itself of railroads and utilities in Guatemala when the State
    Department intervened. In a National Security Council session. Department
    representatives argued that a legal attack on United Fruit's Guatemalan
    holdings would have "serious foreign policy implications," weakening the
    company at a time when the United States needed it. The action was sus-
    pended until the situation in Guatemala had improved. It is often asserted
    that the United States acted at the company's behest in Guatemala, but this
    incident suggests the opposite may have been true: the administration
    wanted to use United Fruit to contain Communism in the hemisphere

    United Fruits lobbied the government for support after having their land appropriated by Guatemala by Decree 900 in June 1952

    8 months before Decree 900 was passed, the CIA was conducting meetings on actions to take in Guatemala. 6 months before the law was passed they already had Castillo Armas picked as the best candidate to replace Armenz. (and he did)

    Somewhere in your head you seem to think United Fruit time traveled and caused the coup when it was already starting months before they ever lost their land, and it wasn't until they lost their land that the propaganda campaign of Edward Bernays really took off.

    You really don't know what you're talking about. You should stop. The link you gave is literally the first result listed if you google "United Fruit propaganda". You're not even putting any effort into your point. You just wanted to spew your corporations are evil nonsense and get upvotes.

u/jellowcakewalk · 0 pointsr/brasil

No one understands history and current events of Latin America worse than coxinhas.

u/science_diction · 0 pointsr/todayilearned

Correction: 2 month long continuous battle. Fixed in previous post.

Native American Allies of the Conquistadores, here's a book on the subject:

Aztec ideals of human sacrifice:

"To the Aztecs, death was instrumental in the perpetuation of creation, and gods and humans alike had the responsibility of sacrificing themselves in order to allow life to continue. "

Yup, there's a sane people!

And let's capture people instead of kill them so we have more sacrfices!

And the losing teams of our sports games!

Let's kill them too!

Oh and let's not forget! The people who harvest the sacrifices sometimes wore SUITS OF ARMOR MADE FROM HUMAN SKIN as a glorifying tribute to their gods! And if you sacrificed these people, YOU WERE EVEN MORE HOLY.

How can anyone defend these people? This is a quintessential example of a theocracy, for crying out loud. It's a war between a god-king and a conquistador on behalf of a divine right king. They are BOTH bad guys. Wow! What a concept!

Oh wait! Because they are indigenous people they must automatically be respected. Right. Yeah. Forgot about moral relativism.

u/DrLyleChipChipperson · 0 pointsr/news

I'm well-versed on US Foreign Policy in Latin America and the Global South—The US Army School of The Americas, included. Yes, I, too have read Chomsky, LaFeber, et al.

Back to the present, and not history: What percentage of these children from Guatemala? You know Guatemala isn't the only country in Central America, right?

The government doesn't even have figures for this, of course, because the border hasn't been secure for decades.

Unfortunately, its past activity decades ago does little to explain why after Obama's Dreamers' Speech that tens of thousands of children were sent toward the border.

Obama's rhetoric of children arriving "through no fault of their own" and the wrongness of "punishment" for such actions was a huge green light for all of Central America and Mexico to send their children to the border. The law and border don't matter, because we're "compassionate" about the less fortunate (not the Americans displaced by illegal immigrants and their undercutting of labor, of course, which hurts teens and non-Asian minorities hardest).

What's the worst that could happen—they get sent back home? If they make it across, they can bring you (the parents) and your whole family over legally once they're made citizens; or at the very least their children will have it by birthright.