The Guatemala Reader

History, Culture, Politics

The Guatemala Reader

The Latin America Readers

More about this series

Book Pages: 688 Illustrations: 105 illustrations, 10 color plates, 1 map Published: October 2011

General Interest > Travel, Latin American Studies > Central America, Native and Indigenous Studies

This reader brings together more than 200 texts and images in a broad introduction to Guatemala's history, culture, and politics. In choosing the selections, the editors sought to avoid representing the country only in terms of its long experience of conflict, racism, and violence. And so, while offering many perspectives on that violence, this anthology portrays Guatemala as a real place where people experience joys and sorrows that cannot be reduced to the contretemps of resistance and repression. It includes not only the opinions of politicians, activists, and scholars, but also poems, songs, plays, jokes, novels, short stories, recipes, art, and photographs that capture the diversity of everyday life in Guatemala. The editors introduce all of the selections, from the first piece, an excerpt from the Popol Vuh, a mid-sixteenth-century text believed to be the single most important source documenting pre-Hispanic Maya culture, through the final selections, which explore contemporary Guatemala in relation to neoliberalism, multiculturalism, and the dynamics of migration to the United States and of immigrant life. Many pieces were originally published in Spanish, and most of those appear in English for the first time.


“A lively, literate sourcebook on the politics, economy and society of Guatemala, with selections ranging from historical accounts to newspaper articles, essays, memoir excerpts and modern analysis. A volume the excellent series of Latin American Readers, aimed at students, travelers and scholars.” — Longitude

“This latest volume in Duke’s excellent Latin American Reader series brings us more than 200 texts and images from Guatemala providing a rounded introduction to this fascinating Central American country’s history and culture. It is the perfect point of departure from which to begin exploring this diverse and often troubled society, and Duke has also issued the weighty text as an e-book, a splendid idea for travellers armed just with a backpack and a reader that will provide them with a valuable resource without weighing them down on the way…. But the menu is literally brimming with delicious fare and it is probably unfair to single out any section. Better, in fact, to get the book and read it from cover to cover.” — EC, Latin American Review of Books

“With an appeal to travelers, students, and scholars, The Guatemala Reader is a useful volume. As an introduction to the country and its people, it drives home some of the stark realities behind its beautiful facade.” — Ralph Lee Woodward, The Latin Americanist

"The task of selecting just two hundred texts to represent six centuries of human history is daunting; nevertheless, in the hands of some of the top scholars of Guatemala, the result is tremendous. By simultaneously making a case for the study of Guatemala’s pasts and presenting key questions that are likely to determine its future, Grandin, Levenson, and Oglesby have created a resource that will be important for students of Guatemala for many years to come." — Heather Vrana, Ethnohistory

"This is an accessible overview of the nation." — Rough Guide to Guatemala

The Guatemala Reader is captivating both because Guatemalan history is so compelling, and because the editors have done a fantastic job of choosing the texts and images to include. Their selections offer great variety in terms of vision, perspective, and genre, and their introductions to those pieces are uniformly superb.” — Steve Striffler, co-editor of The Ecuador Reader

“This excellent and comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary materials about Guatemala is a seminal addition to the literature. It is brilliantly put together and its usefulness is not only for students being introduced to that country but also as a reference source for Guatemalan scholars.” — Beatriz Manz, author of Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror, and Hope


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Greg Grandin is Professor of History at New York University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.

Deborah T. Levenson is Associate Professor of History at Boston College and the author of Trade Unionists against Terror: Guatemala City, 1954–1985 and Adiós Niño: Political Violence and the Gangs of Guatemala City, forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Elizabeth Oglesby is Associate Professor of Geography and Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. She previously worked as the editor of Central America Report and the associate editor for NACLA Report on the Americas.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations xv

Acknowledgments xxi

Introduction 1

I. The Maya: Before the Europeans 11

II. Invasion and Colonialism 39

III. A Caffeinated Modernism 107

IV. Ten Years of Spring and Beyond 197

V. Roads to Revolution 281

VI. Intent to Destroy 361

VII. An Unsettled Peace 441

VIII. Maya Movements 501

IX. The Sixth Century 545

Suggestions for Further Reading 625

Acknowledgment of Copyrights and Sources 641

Index 653
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5107-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5094-1
Publicity material