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Comandante: Hugo Chavez's Venezuela

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Comandante: Hugo Chavez's Venezuela Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the aftermath of Hugo Chávez's death, the inside story of his life, his Venezuela, and his legacy.

Hugo Chávez was a phenomenon. He has been compared to Napoléon, Nasser, Perón, and Castro, but the truth is there has never been a leader like him. He was democratically elected, reigned like a monarch from a digital throne, and provoked adoration and revulsion in equal measure. Future historians will study his rule for what it says about the early twenty-first century. How did a charismatic autocrat seduce not just a nation but a significant part of world opinion? How did he make people laugh and weep and applaud, as if on command? And how did he continue to stay in power despite the crumbling of Venezuela?

When he first came to power in 1999, Chávez promised a democratic revolution to transform his country. In Venezuela and elsewhere, he became a symbol of hope and freedom for his people. Yet in his thirteen years as president, Chávez seized control of the hugely lucrative Venezuelan oil industry, consolidated government authority under the presidency, allowed basic government functions to wither, jailed and excommunicated political opponents, created a personality cult, and courted Castro and Ahmadinejad, all while occupying much of Venezuelas airwaves with his long-running television show, ¡Alo Presidente!

In Comandante, acclaimed journalist Rory Carroll breaches the walls of Miraflores Palace to tell the inside story of Chávez's life and his political court in Caracas. Based on interviews with ministers, aides, courtiers, and citizens, this intimate piece of reportage chronicles a unique experiment in power, which veers among enlightenment, tyranny, comedy, and farce. Carroll investigates the almost religious devotion of millions of Venezuelans who still regard Chávez as a savior and the loathing of those who brand him a dictator. In beautiful prose that blends the lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly truth of authoritarianism—a powerful combination reminiscent of Ryszard Kapuscinski's The Emperor—Rory Carroll has written a cautionary tale for our times.

 

Review:

"A democratically elected despot; a revolutionary whose main priority is winning campaigns; a showboating clown; a feared tyrant. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, soon to enter his 13th year of rule, is a mass of contradictions. In this incisive portrait of a histrionic ruler who brooks little criticism, Carroll, the Guardian's Latin American bureau chief, captures the tragic absurdity of life in a country flush with petrodollars but where many go without adequate health care, and where 'Out of Order' signs are switched out for ones promising 'Socialist Modernization' as broken-down elevators languish. The book starts with a closeup look at the comandante himself, then successively pulls back the lens on the sycophants who serve as his ministers and advisers, then on the decaying society outside the presidential palace. Chávez runs the country on whims, one week expropriating famed jewelry stores because they stand on the square where Simón de Bolívar was born, another week enthusiastically launching a public health program only to let it flounder. And all this on national TV, where the president's show Hello, President can run up to eight hours each day. Meanwhile, disastrous economic policies have left the country mired in inflation and shortages, with a creaking infrastructure and shuttered factories. Readers who know Chávez mainly for his anti-U.S. bluster will find some surprises in the true-life black comedy surrounding this mercurial leader. Agent: Will Lippincott, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The inside story of Hugo Chavezand#8217;s rule and complex legacy

Few leaders in our time have been as divisive and enigmatic as the late Hugo Chavez. In Comandante, acclaimed journalist Rory Carroll tells the inside story of Chavezand#8217;s life, his time as Venezuelaand#8217;s president, and his legacy. Based on interviews with ministers, aides, courtiers, and citizens, this intimate piece of reportage chronicles a unique experiment in power that veers among enlightenment, tyranny, comedy, and farce. Carroll also investigates the almost religious devotion of millions of Venezuelans who regarded Chavez as a savior and the loathing of those who branded him as a dictator. In beautiful prose that blends the lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly truth of authoritarianism, Comandante offers a cautionary tale for our times.

Synopsis:

The inside story of Hugo Chavezs rule and complex legacy

Few leaders in our time have been as divisive and enigmatic as the late Hugo Chavez. In Comandante, acclaimed journalist Rory Carroll tells the inside story of Chavezs life, his time as Venezuelas president, and his legacy. Based on interviews with ministers, aides, courtiers, and citizens, this intimate piece of reportage chronicles a unique experiment in power that veers among enlightenment, tyranny, comedy, and farce. Carroll also investigates the almost religious devotion of millions of Venezuelans who regarded Chavez as a savior and the loathing of those who branded him as a dictator. In beautiful prose that blends the lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly truth of authoritarianism, Comandante offers a cautionary tale for our times.

About the Author

Veteran journalist and former chief of the Latin American bureau for the Guardian, Rory Carroll has covered war zones, survived a kidnapping in Iraq, and reported on the transition to full democracy in South Africa. Now in California, he was stationed in Caracas for the research and writing of Comandante. His wife is a native Venezuelan.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594204579
Subtitle:
aacute;vez's Venezuela
Author:
Carroll, Rory
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
General History
Subject:
World History-General
Subject:
South America
Subject:
World History-South America
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20140225
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16-pg insert
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Latin America » Venezuela
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Latin America
History and Social Science » World History » South America

Comandante: Hugo Chavez's Venezuela New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$27.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594204579 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A democratically elected despot; a revolutionary whose main priority is winning campaigns; a showboating clown; a feared tyrant. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, soon to enter his 13th year of rule, is a mass of contradictions. In this incisive portrait of a histrionic ruler who brooks little criticism, Carroll, the Guardian's Latin American bureau chief, captures the tragic absurdity of life in a country flush with petrodollars but where many go without adequate health care, and where 'Out of Order' signs are switched out for ones promising 'Socialist Modernization' as broken-down elevators languish. The book starts with a closeup look at the comandante himself, then successively pulls back the lens on the sycophants who serve as his ministers and advisers, then on the decaying society outside the presidential palace. Chávez runs the country on whims, one week expropriating famed jewelry stores because they stand on the square where Simón de Bolívar was born, another week enthusiastically launching a public health program only to let it flounder. And all this on national TV, where the president's show Hello, President can run up to eight hours each day. Meanwhile, disastrous economic policies have left the country mired in inflation and shortages, with a creaking infrastructure and shuttered factories. Readers who know Chávez mainly for his anti-U.S. bluster will find some surprises in the true-life black comedy surrounding this mercurial leader. Agent: Will Lippincott, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
The inside story of Hugo Chavezand#8217;s rule and complex legacy

Few leaders in our time have been as divisive and enigmatic as the late Hugo Chavez. In Comandante, acclaimed journalist Rory Carroll tells the inside story of Chavezand#8217;s life, his time as Venezuelaand#8217;s president, and his legacy. Based on interviews with ministers, aides, courtiers, and citizens, this intimate piece of reportage chronicles a unique experiment in power that veers among enlightenment, tyranny, comedy, and farce. Carroll also investigates the almost religious devotion of millions of Venezuelans who regarded Chavez as a savior and the loathing of those who branded him as a dictator. In beautiful prose that blends the lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly truth of authoritarianism, Comandante offers a cautionary tale for our times.

"Synopsis" by ,
The inside story of Hugo Chavezs rule and complex legacy

Few leaders in our time have been as divisive and enigmatic as the late Hugo Chavez. In Comandante, acclaimed journalist Rory Carroll tells the inside story of Chavezs life, his time as Venezuelas president, and his legacy. Based on interviews with ministers, aides, courtiers, and citizens, this intimate piece of reportage chronicles a unique experiment in power that veers among enlightenment, tyranny, comedy, and farce. Carroll also investigates the almost religious devotion of millions of Venezuelans who regarded Chavez as a savior and the loathing of those who branded him as a dictator. In beautiful prose that blends the lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly truth of authoritarianism, Comandante offers a cautionary tale for our times.

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