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Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez

Simon Bolivar and Spanish American Independence 1783-1830

Simon Bolivar and Spanish American Independence 1783-1830 - John J. Johnson Short & sweet. Likely best for someone who has no exposure to the subject matter (i.e., like me).

First half is very broad strokes regarding the revolutionary context in Latin America, Bolivar as military officer, statesman, political theorist. The military history of the independence war is briefly presented, touching only the major initial reversals, then the five major battles that each appear to have liberated a state, thence descending into sectarian civil war after the Spanish Empire was ejected.

Second half is a collection of documents, including memoir excerpts, essays by Humboldt, and--the core of the book--Bolivar's four key statements: the Cartegena Manifesto of 1812, the Jamaica Letter of 1815, the Angostura Address of 1819, and the Bolivian Constitution of 1826.

1813 brought about guerra al muerte, a response to unrestricted imperial reprisals, in which pronouncement Bolivar spoke candidly: "Spaniards and Canary islanders, you will die, though you be neutral" (139). This position would eventually be loosened--but Bolivar in Jamaica estimates that the civil wars and liberation struggles up to 1815 cost Venezuela 25% of its population, and a total of one million persons died in all of New Spain, an eighth overall (154), in what he terms a "war of extermination" (158).

By the time we get to Angostura, he is proposing a new constitution, with a life president, and a tricameral legislature consisting of life senators, termed tribunes, and life censors. The terms are Roman and he's not kidding about that. The Bolivian constitution later makes this all manifest. The point is to have a popular, representative system with centralizing & permanant features.