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216 × 138 mm
224 pages
15 illustrations
09 Jun 2014

From Frontiers to Football An Alternative History of Latin America since 1800 Matthew Brown

In summer 2014 the eyes of the world will be on the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and this will be repeated in 2016 for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Screens will likely be filled with cultural stereotypes about Latin Americans and airwaves packed with specious interpretations of Latin America’s position in the world. This book provides the historical analysis to rebut such misinterpretations and offers the reader tools with which to understand Latin America’s complex present.

From Frontiers to Football tells the history of Latin America’s engagement with global empires from 1800 to today. It is a story of repeated cycles of lessons learned and unlearned, continued dependency, victimhood and thwarted dreams. It is also a narrative of overthrown imperial designs, colonial armies defeated and new hopes expressed – inspiration for other colonized peoples across the globe. This book redresses the absence of cultural history, giving as much attention to Shakira and Pelé as to coffee producers, copper miners, government policies and covert imperialism. It avoids the polemical invectives of political interpretations, presenting a clear, readable and absorbing introduction to the history of Latin America’s interactions with the world over the last two centuries.

Latin America is at the forefront of innovation and a global centre in many social, cultural and economic activities. No longer either a frontier or a periphery, From Frontiers to Football presents a compelling and accessible portrait of a continent today.

‘Historians have paid less attention than they should to Latin America’s place in global history. In this sparkling and marvellously readable book, Matthew Brown draws on novels, film, music and sport, as well as political and economic history, to show how intense Latin Americans’ engagement with the rest of the world has really been, from Simón Bolívar and the independence struggles of the 1810s to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the global impact of Gloria Estefan, Diego Maradona  and Gabriel García Márquez. A superb introduction to Latin America’s history, written for a global age.’ – John Darwin, Oxford University

‘Latin America’s huge influence on the world is well recognised but rarely understood, so this book is an overdue exercise in accessible myth-busting. In the year that the World Cup comes back to the region for the first time in almost 30 years, Brown skilfully joins the dots between the region’s culture and those of the rest of the world. Reasoned, opinionated and moreish.’ – Andy Brassell, European football writer and broadcaster

‘Everything you wanted to know about Latin America . . . Matthew Brown has managed to compact 200 years of history of a vast and diverse region in just over 200 pages. He has condensed recent academic scholarship on history and politics and combined it with what you really want to know about culture, society and sport, particularly how and why football became so influential. This is a very readable and knowledgeable introduction that will help all readers join the dots and gain a deep understanding of how Latin America came to be how it is and what makes it tick today. A must-read for anyone interested in the region.’ – Dr Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, Reader in Hispanic Studies, School of European Languages and Culture, University of Kent

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Matthew Brown is Reader in Latin American Studies at the University of Bristol. He is the author of The Struggle for Power in Post-Independence Colombia and Venezuela (2012).