What I’m reading — Colombia edition

Thursday I head to Bogota–a short visit before a conference on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in Cartagena. I’m technically not an attendee, just the spouse of one, but who can pass up a trip to the Colombian coast? (Thanks to readers, by the way, for all the amazing travel tips.)

Suggestions on what to read? My pile so far:

1. Violence in Colombia: A Historical Perspective: A collection of surprisingly readable essays, each an episode in Colombian violence from the 1820s to La violencia to the drug trade today.

2. Violence in Colombia 1990-2000: Similar, but post-1990. There are several chapters from these two volumes I may assign in my Civil War class.

3. The EIU report on Colombia for the current state of affairs

4. A recent paper on guerrillas and paramilitaries, plus one with Jim Robinson’s perspective on Colombian development

5. An Economic History of Colombia — Dry, but informative. Too bad it stops in the 1930s.

Thoughts? Something contemporary would be nice. In English. (Sadly, my Spanish is a disaster–barely good enough to read the newspaper.)

Novels welcome too. The obvious author has been read in full, but I’m afraid I don’t know others offered in translation.

10 thoughts on “What I’m reading — Colombia edition

  1. Hello, I live in Bogota and work as a research assistant at the department of economics of University of los Andes. I will recomend you read:

    Mataron a Gaitan (Herbert Braun)

    Our Guerrillas, Our Sidewalks: A Journey into the Violence of Colombia (Herbert Braun)

    The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself (David Bushnell)

    I will also recommend you read something from Fernando Vallejo (there is an english version of La virgen de los Sicarios “Our Lady of the Assassins”)

    Hope you have a good time in Colombia

  2. Mary Roldan ‘Blood and Fire: La Violencia in Antioquía’

    Malcolm Deas JLAS piece from the 1980s on the fiscal challenges of the Colombian state – also a nice introduction to regional and economic history in Colombia.

  3. Russell Crandall’s “Driven by Drugs: U.S. Policy toward Colombia” (2002) may be worth a read, particularly given the conference subject matter.

    A professor at Davidson College, Crandall was recently tapped by the DoD to serve as Principal Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs beginning in late April.

  4. The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis…

    Tyler Cowen: “Imagine a Colombian version of 1001 Nights and Don Quixote, in novella form. This is 700 pp. of sheer delight, and it also indicates we are just starting to figure out which Latin American works of fiction will prove of lasting importance. This is one of them, and another superb translation from Edith Grossman.”

  5. Some light reading suggestions. Two translated authors:
    (1) Hector Abad Faciolince. I know some of his work has been translated, but I couldn't find and English version of his best-seller autobiografy (The Oblivion We Shall Be), or my personal favorite Las formas de la pereza.
    (2) Laura Restrepo. Her books are easy to find in B&N or amazon.

  6. I really enjoyed Law in a Lawless Land: Diary of a Limpieza in Colombia by Michael Taussig. A really good read.