100 books like Principles in Power

By Vanessa Walker,

Here are 100 books that Principles in Power fans have personally recommended if you like Principles in Power. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America

Debbie Sharnak Author Of Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay

From my list on human rights in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2009 when Uruguay held a second referendum to overturn the country’s amnesty law that protected the police and military from prosecution for human rights abuses during the country’s dictatorship. Despite the country’s stable democracy and progressive politics in the 21st century, citizens quite surprisingly rejected the opportunity to overturn the state-sanctioned impunity law. My interest in broader accountability efforts in the world and that seemingly shocking vote in Uruguay drove me to want to study the roots of that failed effort, ultimately compelling a broader investigation into how human rights culture in Uruguay evolved, particularly during and after its period of military rule. 

Debbie's book list on human rights in Latin America

Debbie Sharnak Why did Debbie love this book?

Operation Condor is the coordination that occurred between military governments across borders in South America during the Cold War to repress those suspected of being subversives. Some fled their home countries, only to be apprehended, tortured, and sometimes killed by a neighboring regime.

As difficult as it has been to try those involved in national crimes, it has been even more challenging to do so in these legally complex cases that span numerous jurisdictions. Lessa, however, has been following these accountability efforts for over a decade, and writes a fantastic book about these battles, shedding light on not only the events that occurred but also the struggle to document them and have accountability for victims. 

By Francesca Lessa,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Condor Trials as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stories of transnational terror and justice illuminate the past and present of South America's struggles for human rights

Through the voices of survivors and witnesses, human rights activists, judicial actors, journalists, and historians, Francesca Lessa unravels the secrets of transnational repression masterminded by South American dictators between 1969 and 1981. Under Operation Condor, their violent and oppressive regimes kidnapped, tortured, and murdered hundreds of exiles, or forcibly returned them to the countries from which they had fled. South America became a zone of terror for those who were targeted, and of impunity for those who perpetuated the violence.

Lessa shows…


Book cover of Bread, Justice, and Liberty: Grassroots Activism and Human Rights in Pinochet's Chile

Debbie Sharnak Author Of Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay

From my list on human rights in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2009 when Uruguay held a second referendum to overturn the country’s amnesty law that protected the police and military from prosecution for human rights abuses during the country’s dictatorship. Despite the country’s stable democracy and progressive politics in the 21st century, citizens quite surprisingly rejected the opportunity to overturn the state-sanctioned impunity law. My interest in broader accountability efforts in the world and that seemingly shocking vote in Uruguay drove me to want to study the roots of that failed effort, ultimately compelling a broader investigation into how human rights culture in Uruguay evolved, particularly during and after its period of military rule. 

Debbie's book list on human rights in Latin America

Debbie Sharnak Why did Debbie love this book?

So many books about the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile focus on the particularities of violence during that awful period in the country’s history.

Yet, Bread, Justice, and Liberty looks at a longer trajectory of the struggle for human rights in the country that focuses on socioeconomic justice that began long before the coup of September 11, 1973, and also continued much further afterward.

It is a beautifully written monograph that focuses on shantytown communities’ experiences and activism and expands our understanding of Chilean politics and human rights. 

By Alison Bruey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bread, Justice, and Liberty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the SECOLAS Alfred B. Thomas Book Award
Named Best Social Science Book, LASA Southern Cone Studies Section

In Santiago, Chile, poverty and state violence have often led to grassroots resistance movements among the poor and working class. Alison J. Bruey offers a compelling history of the struggle for social justice and democracy during the Pinochet dictatorship. Deeply grounded by both extensive oral history interviews and archival research, Bread, Justice, and Liberty provides innovative contributions to scholarship on Chilean history, social movements, popular protest and democratization, neoliberal economics, and the Cold War in Latin America.


Book cover of In Search of the Lost Decade: Everyday Rights in Post-Dictatorship Argentina

Debbie Sharnak Author Of Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay

From my list on human rights in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2009 when Uruguay held a second referendum to overturn the country’s amnesty law that protected the police and military from prosecution for human rights abuses during the country’s dictatorship. Despite the country’s stable democracy and progressive politics in the 21st century, citizens quite surprisingly rejected the opportunity to overturn the state-sanctioned impunity law. My interest in broader accountability efforts in the world and that seemingly shocking vote in Uruguay drove me to want to study the roots of that failed effort, ultimately compelling a broader investigation into how human rights culture in Uruguay evolved, particularly during and after its period of military rule. 

Debbie's book list on human rights in Latin America

Debbie Sharnak Why did Debbie love this book?

This book also centers on a post-dictatorship period, looking not only at accountability for the thousands that were killed or disappeared during Argentina’s military junta, but also at the struggle for social and economic rights amid an economic crisis in the 1980s.

Adair centers her book on the Raúl Alfonsín presidency to look at the various challenges he faced, and the demands that citizens placed on his government to ensure basic needs. The book is also imminently readable and filled with moving anecdotes about citizens’ struggles during this period. 

By Jennifer Adair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of the Lost Decade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1983, following a military dictatorship that left thousands dead and disappeared and the economy in ruins, Raul Alfonsin was elected president of Argentina on the strength of his pledge to prosecute the armed forces for their crimes and restore a measure of material well-being to Argentine lives. Food, housing, and full employment became the litmus tests of the new democracy. In Search of the Lost Decade reconsiders Argentina's transition to democracy by examining the everyday meanings of rights and the lived experience of democratic return, far beyond the ballot box and corridors of power. Beginning with promises to eliminate…


Book cover of Counting the Dead: The Culture and Politics of Human Rights Activism in Colombia

Debbie Sharnak Author Of Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay

From my list on human rights in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2009 when Uruguay held a second referendum to overturn the country’s amnesty law that protected the police and military from prosecution for human rights abuses during the country’s dictatorship. Despite the country’s stable democracy and progressive politics in the 21st century, citizens quite surprisingly rejected the opportunity to overturn the state-sanctioned impunity law. My interest in broader accountability efforts in the world and that seemingly shocking vote in Uruguay drove me to want to study the roots of that failed effort, ultimately compelling a broader investigation into how human rights culture in Uruguay evolved, particularly during and after its period of military rule. 

Debbie's book list on human rights in Latin America

Debbie Sharnak Why did Debbie love this book?

The oldest book on my list, it is still my go-to for understanding and writing about how human rights are understood by activists and organizations working in complex conditions of ongoing conflict and violence.

The stories Tate tells are compelling and a reminder amid the country’s continued grappling with this period of violence of what has been at stake and the uphill battles activists have faced for decades.

By Winifred Tate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Counting the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At a time when a global consensus on human rights standards seems to be emerging, this rich study steps back to explore how the idea of human rights is actually employed by activists and human rights professionals. Winifred Tate, an anthropologist and activist with extensive experience in Colombia, finds that radically different ideas about human rights have shaped three groups of human rights professionals working there - nongovernmental activists, state representatives, and military officers. Drawing from the life stories of high-profile activists, pioneering interviews with military officials, and research at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, "Counting the…


Book cover of Latin America and the Global Cold War

Lorenz M. Lüthi Author Of Cold Wars: Asia, the Middle East, Europe

From my list on Cold War history published recently.

Why am I passionate about this?

During the later Cold War, I grew up in neutral and peaceful Switzerland. My German mother’s family lived apart in divided Germany. I knew as a child that I would become a historian because I wanted to find out what had happened to my mother’s home and why there was a Cold War in the first place. My father’s service as a Swiss Red Cross delegate in Korea after 1953 raised my interest in East Asia. After learning Russian and Chinese, I wrote my first book on The Sino-Soviet Split. When I was finishing the book, I resolved to reinvent myself as a global historian, which is why I wrote my second book as a reinterpretation of the global Cold War as a series of parallel regional Cold Wars in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Lorenz's book list on Cold War history published recently

Lorenz M. Lüthi Why did Lorenz love this book?

An edited collection, Latin America and the Global Cold War actually does what the field of Cold War studies has talked about for decades—decentering the Cold War. Breaking with the long-standing idea that Latin America was merely the backyard of U.S. imperialism, the 14 contributions show how deeply Latin American countries were connected to other parts of the Global South. Bringing together junior and senior scholars from three continents, the volume is a refreshing and a much-needed eye-opener for all historians of international relations.

By Thomas C. Field (editor), Stella Krepp (editor), Vanni Pettinà (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Latin America and the Global Cold War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Latin America and the Global Cold War analyzes more than a dozen of Latin America's forgotten encounters with Africa, Asia, and the Communist world, and by placing the region in meaningful dialogue with the wider Global South, this volume produces the first truly global history of contemporary Latin America. It uncovers a multitude of overlapping and sometimes conflicting iterations of Third Worldist movements in Latin America, and offers insights for better understanding the region's past, as well as its possible futures, challenging us to consider how the Global Cold War continues to inform Latin America's ongoing political struggles.

Contributors: Miguel…


Book cover of Latin America's Cold War

Russell C. Crandall Author Of "Our Hemisphere"? The United States in Latin America, from 1776 to the Twenty-First Century

From my list on U.S. involvement in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in U.S.-Latin American relations ever since my junior year in college when I studied abroad in Chile, a country that had only two years prior been run by dictator Augusto Pinochet. Often referred to as America’s “backyard,” Latin America has often been on the receiving end of U.S. machinations and expansions. In terms of the history of American foreign policy, it's never a dull moment in U.S. involvement in its own hemisphere. I have now had the privilege to work inside the executive branch of the U.S. government on Latin America policy, stints which have forced me to reconsider some of what I had assumed about U.S. abilities and outcomes. 

Russell's book list on U.S. involvement in Latin America

Russell C. Crandall Why did Russell love this book?

Lucidly written and soberly considered, Latin America’s Cold War is one top-five pick for a host of reasons, not least of which is that it forces us to consider that the usually potent Uncle Sam did mean that Latin American actors did not have influence, for good or ill. Rightist Latin American militaries, for a searing case, had their reasons for combatting leftist guerrillas, not just serving Washington’s bidding. 

By Hal Brands,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Latin America's Cold War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Latin America, the Cold War was anything but cold. Nor was it the so-called "long peace" afforded the world's superpowers by their nuclear standoff. In this book, the first to take an international perspective on the postwar decades in the region, Hal Brands sets out to explain what exactly happened in Latin America during the Cold War, and why it was so traumatic.

Tracing the tumultuous course of regional affairs from the late 1940s through the early 1990s, Latin America's Cold War delves into the myriad crises and turning points of the period-the Cuban revolution and its aftermath; the…


Book cover of Latin America and the Caribbean in the Global Context: Why care about the Americas?

Winston Dookeran Author Of The Caribbean on the Edge: The Political Stress of Stability, Equality, and Diplomacy

From my list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a student, I was intrigued by Newton’s laws of motion. As I grew older, I sought to understand how these laws apply in a real-world setting of economics and politics. I spent my full professional life in this search and held several positions – Minister of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank, Minister of Foreign Affairs. I was decorated over the years with several awards. I had a good education at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University. After it all, I still did not quite comprehend how Newton’s Laws work to advance the quality of life in communities and countries. The Caribbean on The Edge is a reflection of that journey.

Winston's book list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy

Winston Dookeran Why did Winston love this book?

This book provides a synthesis of the ‘region’s place in world politics and the global economy.’ Its applicability to the Latin American region in the context of international relations theory is a salient feature of this book which lends credence to these insights in this sense, there is a commonality of thinking in both books, and adds intellectual creditability to the meshing of both logics. It is a key insight. 

By Betty Horwitz, Bruce M. Bagley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Latin America and the Caribbean in the Global Context as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Current perspectives on Latin America's role in the world tend to focus on one question: Why is Latin America always falling behind? Analysts and scholars offer answers grounded in history, economic underdevelopment, or democratic consolidation. Bagley and Horwitz, however, shift the central question to ask why and to what extent does Latin America matter in world politics, both now and in the future.

This text takes a holistic approach to analyze Latin America's role in the international system. It invokes a combination of global, regional, and sub-regional levels to assess Latin America's insertion into a globalized world, in historical, contemporary,…


Book cover of Bitter Fruit

June Carolyn Erlick Author Of A Gringa in Bogotá: Living Colombia's Invisible War

From my list on classics for understanding Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I accidentally fell in love with Latin America, a love that has lasted my lifetime. When I was young, I lived in a Dominican neighborhood in New York, learning Spanish from my neighbors. After I graduated from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism I got a job covering the Cuban community in New Jersey because I spoke Spanish. Eventually I ended up living in Colombia and then Managua as a foreign correspondent. Now I edit a magazine at Harvard about Latin America. It's not just the news that interests me; I love the cadence of the language, the smell and taste of its varied cuisine, the warmth of the people, the culture, and, yes, soccer.

June's book list on classics for understanding Latin America

June Carolyn Erlick Why did June love this book?

This book reads like a thriller. The first time I read it, I just couldn't put it down. And every time I reread it, as history unfolds in Latin America, I see how this classic book about the U.S. overthrow of the legitimately elected government in Guatemala in 1954 is actually describing the fundamental basis of intervention in the Cold War that laid the ground for so many of the region's dictatorship.

Bitter Fruit is a brilliant piece of investigation and a story well-told.

By Stephen Schlesinger, Stephen Kinzer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bitter Fruit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bitter Fruit is a comprehensive and insightful account of the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. First published in 1982, this book has become a classic, a textbook case of the relationship between the United States and the Third World. The authors make extensive use of U.S. government documents and interviews with former CIA and other officials. It is a warning of what happens when the United States abuses its power.


Book cover of Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990

Russell C. Crandall Author Of "Our Hemisphere"? The United States in Latin America, from 1776 to the Twenty-First Century

From my list on U.S. involvement in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in U.S.-Latin American relations ever since my junior year in college when I studied abroad in Chile, a country that had only two years prior been run by dictator Augusto Pinochet. Often referred to as America’s “backyard,” Latin America has often been on the receiving end of U.S. machinations and expansions. In terms of the history of American foreign policy, it's never a dull moment in U.S. involvement in its own hemisphere. I have now had the privilege to work inside the executive branch of the U.S. government on Latin America policy, stints which have forced me to reconsider some of what I had assumed about U.S. abilities and outcomes. 

Russell's book list on U.S. involvement in Latin America

Russell C. Crandall Why did Russell love this book?

Penned by a conservative scholar who held a high-level Latin America foreign policy position in the Reagan administration, I don’t always agree with Kagan’s logic or evidence. But he is a fantastic writer and gives readers a riveting, albeit controversial, first-person account of the Reagan team’s adversarial relationship and interventions in Marxist revolutionary Nicaragua. 

By Robert Kagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twilight Struggle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A detailed history and analysis of the Nicaraguan Revolution and the American response to it


Book cover of Reagan and Pinochet: The Struggle Over U.S. Policy Toward Chile

Russell C. Crandall Author Of "Our Hemisphere"? The United States in Latin America, from 1776 to the Twenty-First Century

From my list on U.S. involvement in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in U.S.-Latin American relations ever since my junior year in college when I studied abroad in Chile, a country that had only two years prior been run by dictator Augusto Pinochet. Often referred to as America’s “backyard,” Latin America has often been on the receiving end of U.S. machinations and expansions. In terms of the history of American foreign policy, it's never a dull moment in U.S. involvement in its own hemisphere. I have now had the privilege to work inside the executive branch of the U.S. government on Latin America policy, stints which have forced me to reconsider some of what I had assumed about U.S. abilities and outcomes. 

Russell's book list on U.S. involvement in Latin America

Russell C. Crandall Why did Russell love this book?

So much ink has been spent on the Nixon administration’s early 1970s plotting and policies during the regime of democratic socialist president Salvador Allende. This exquisite book is a sharp reminder that, while far less studied, the Reagan administration was deeply involved in a Chile run by the very political actor who ousted Allende: General Augusto Pinochet. Yet, contrary to what we often assumed, the Reagan team eventually embraced a policy aimed to get Washington’s erstwhile ally out of power. 

By Morris Morley, Chris McGillion,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reagan and Pinochet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the first comprehensive study of the Reagan administration's policy toward the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Based on new primary and archival materials, as well as on original interviews with former US and Chilean officials, it traces the evolution of Reagan policy from an initial 'close embrace' of the junta to a re-evaluation of whether Pinochet was a risk to long-term US interests in Chile and, finally, to an acceptance in Washington of the need to push for a return to democracy. It provides fresh insights into the bureaucratic conflicts that were a key…


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