Synopses & Reviews
The second volume in Robert Scheina's definitive study of Latin American military history draws upon years of extensive research and teaching in the field. Although wags in the United States have quipped that if Latin America's military forces were not constantly seeking political power they would have nothing to do, Scheina describes how these men have not only bravely defended their own homelands from foreign enemies but have also gone abroad to fight in both world wars and in the Korean War. This groundbreaking volume also examines the numerous U.S. interventions in Latin America during the twentieth century and the various motivations for them, ranging from the petty interests of influential North American businesses to global concerns with grand strategy which, for example, resulted in the building of the Panama Canal. Scheina concludes by exploring the role of Latin America in the Cold War and Colombia's ongoing conflict with the drug cartels. He focuses on operational history in the context of war as an instrument of politics and society, including insightful analyses of the military as an institution and of its relations with civilian government. Latin America's Wars fills a void in the literature, broadens U.S. readers' understanding of their neighbors, and serves as a point of departure for new scholarship.