Making the Americas
The United States and Latin America From the Age of Revolutions to the Era of GlobalizationeBook - 2007
Americans' belief in their economic, political, and cultural superiority launched them on a mission to transform Latin America that has evolved into a global process of Americanization. From corporate and philanthropic initiatives to military interventions, Americans motivated by self-interest and idealism sought to reshape Latin America and gave birth to the American driven process of globalization.
Synthesizing a broad range of international relations scholarship, including perspectives from gender, race, and cultural studies, O'Brien offers a sweeping history of the Americas that ranges from the adventures of eighteenth-century whaling men to the contemporary struggle over globalization. As a part of this study, the author explains how the responses of Latin Americans to Americanization have varied from the vehement rejection of U.S. economic dominance to embracing as well as reconfiguring the icons of American consumer culture.
O'Brien's goal is to provide readers with a nuanced understanding of how the people of the Americas have shaped their own history, and influenced the development of U.S. economic, strategic, and cultural power in the world today.
O'Brien (history, U. of Houston) presents a history of US-Latin American political and economic relations that weaves theoretical understandings from critical race and gender studies together with more traditional approaches to argue, in essence, that the United States paternalistically viewed Latin America as an exotic other that would benefit from US-style political and economic relations (which, in turn, would encourage American "manly" virtues of individualism and competitiveness) even as it never hesitated to intervene militarily to turn back perceived threats to its influence or to protect its economic interests. However, those on the other end of this "civilizing mission" have variously rejected, embraced, and reconfigured American goals in ways that have prefigured the reactions of people around the world to the similar American mission of globalization. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)