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Understanding Contemporary Latin America, 4th edition

Richard S. Hillman and Thomas J. D’Agostino, editors
Understanding Contemporary Latin America, 4th edition
ISBN: 978-1-58826-791-7
ISBN: 978-1-58826-914-0
2011/463 pages/LC: 2011020124
Understanding: Introductions to the States and Regions of the Contemporary World

Praise for previous editions:

"Excellent.... a welcome volume covering a wide range of topics central to ‘understanding contemporary Latin America.’ It will be useful not only in introductory survey courses, but also in courses on politics, economics, and history."—James Dietz, California State University, Fullerton

"Masterfully unravels many issues facing Latin America today to enrich our understanding of its complex dynamics."—Cynthia Chavez Metoyer, California State University, San Marcos


This thoroughly-revised new edition of Understanding Contemporary Latin America has been thoroughly revised to reflect the many significant events and trends of the past six years.

The book includes entirely new chapters on economics and religion, as well as extensively updated material on politics, the military, international relations, environmental issues, nationalism, the role of women, and more. The result is an indispensable introduction, both descriptive and analytical, to the complexities of contemporary Latin America.


Richard S. Hillman is distinguished professor emeritus of political science at St. John Fisher College. His numerous publications include Democracy for the Privileged: Crisis and Transition in Venezuela. Thomas J. D’Agostino is associate dean for global education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The two are coauthors of Distant Neighbors in the Caribbean: The Dominican Republic and Jamaica in Comparative Perspective and coeditors of Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean, now in its second edition.


  • Introduction—R.S. Hillman.
  • Latin America: A Geographic Preface—M. Price.
  • The Historical Context—R. de la Pedraja.
  • Latin American Politics—T.J. D'Agostino.
  • The Military—P.W. Zagorski.
  • The Economies of Latin America—S.G. McKinney.
  • International Relations—C. Fraser.
  • The Environment, Population, and Urbanization—J. Chase and S.E. Place.
  • Patterns of "Race," Ethnicity, Class, and Nationalism—K.A. Yelvington.
  • Women, Work, and Politics—S. Tiano.
  • Education and Development—S. Franz and R.F. Arnove.
  • Religion in Latin America—H. Stewart-Gambino.
  • Latin American Literature—D.H. Bost and A. Lozano-Alonso.
  • Trends and Prospects—R.S. Hillman.