The Failure of Latin America is clearly the work of a seasoned scholar with much to contribute to ongoing discussions. The field at large will be appreciative of a thoughtful study in its own right that, as Beverley hints here and there, serves also as intellectual testament. This book is in no way a ‘late’ opus, but a vigorous contribution. Fiery debate is likely to ensue.
The Failure of Latin America is a collection of John Beverley’s previously published essays and pairs them with new material that reflects on questions of post-colonialism and equality within the context of receding continental socialism. Beverley sees an impasse within both the academic postcolonial project and the Bolivarian idea of Latin America. The Pink Tide may have failed to permanently reshape Latin America, but in its failure there remains the possibility of an alternative modernity not bound to global capitalism. Beverley proposes that equality, modified by the postcolonial legacy, is a particularly Latin American possibility that can break the impasse and redefine Latin-Americanism.
In terms of its experienced political clarity, its detailed sensibility, its calm polemical edge, and its refreshing sense of humor and analogy, this is a superb collection of essays that shows its author in his absolute prime as a thinker, a writer, and a fighter.