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Dragons, treasure, old mysterious books with a strange family history recorded, hidden basements, and a splash of adventure! Obert Sky's Pillage was a home run for cause Beck is fifteen years old, I wasn't sure whether this book was considered Young Adult or Juvenile. But considering the mildness of the story (no language, no sex, and very mild action involving the dragons), I would definitely consider this a Juvenile or Middle Grade novel. I also discovered it in the Juvenile section of the Library, so that confirmed my theory. It was a nice length for that age group, too.I absolutely loved Beck, and his very teenagerish yet sensible outlook on adults and situations. He was hilarious. I laughed at his antics and at the method he could never just do as he was told. I really enjoyed his reactions as he slowly discovered his ability to create plants grow.I loved that this book was perfectly clean. I would have zero qualms about handing it to a nine or ten year old child. Clean books with a fun story don't come along all that often, so when they do, I create sure to snap them is was my first Obert Skye book, but you can bet I will be reading some more!The Cover: I love the cover! It is completely engaging. The design is attractive with the dragon's wings creating a very nice see-through result versus the moon. The use of color is fantastic. The artist used complimentary colors to draw your eye to the dragon's fiery mouth, then used the sliver of moon to draw your eye around the dragon to the wings, the title of the book, and back up to the top. Love it!
A very clever book. Its a amazing read. It left me curious about the next installments. Its hard to give it five stars as I would have loved a small more dot connecting, but understand that some of what I missed is probably intentional and will be fulfilled by completing the series.
This book was very interesting. Beck lived a tough life and now lives with his "uncle" that is a small kookoo but he finds a mate and a girl-friend. This was a amazing story filled with excitement and in the end a small love although the ending was very predictable i would still recommend a amazing story for anyone.
Despite being written in the 1970s the point of the narrative is to tell the history without the cover ups told by USA history book writers. It does not occur to us history is written by the victors. What really happened is far uglier and provides a better view into how we can do better moving forward. We shouldn't fear the truth or sanitize it. It's a difficult read in the sense that it hurts to see how our government contributed to the destruction of democracy in other countries. Worthy of the time to read. It's not a dry history book but a soulful rendition of voices lost to us.
Worst book ever written! Galeano retracted his statements in 2014 and admitted that there are small to no facts in this book. I’ve read it, discussed it, debated it, and the truth still stands...this book is not worth the paper/ink used to create it.Look for yourself: “Author Changes His Mind on ’70s Manifesto”
I am honestly a bit disappointed in this book from William Dalrymple because he is a favorite author of mine, and I felt like the history of the East India Company was the excellent topic for him to tackle. Dalrymple writes vivid, moving and colourful histories of the Indian subcontinent and I thought his idea here that the East India Company represents the prototype of an unregulated corporation run amok was one loaded with implications for the present. The epilogue fleshes this idea out quite nicely, and I thought the book would be a hybrid of sorts, with history, political analysis and cultural insights that Dalrymple does quite well. But for the most part the book is a quite detailed military history of the region and times. It just was not as amazing as I expected from this author. I do recommend Dalrymple to anyone with an interest in the region and time, but I don't feel this was his best.
In typical Dalrymple style this has awesome sources and amazing storytelling. He lays out the transition from a trading company to a colonizer to an empire in amazing detail. The stories of brutality are incredible. The complicated back and forth between the Crown, the Company, the Indian kingdoms, and somewhat independent actors was fascinating.
A must read in to start to understand how we as the ugly Americans have pillaged Latin America and installed dictators over the years in to maintain so as to continue to drain all the natural resources and create these countries dependent economies. All this done to enhance the wealth of our corporations and our banks. Shameful that we treat the few people that show themselves at our borders like criminals and their kids like animals! We owe them a lot and they deserve better treatment from us.
When Chavez met Obama at the united Nations, he presented him with a copy of this book. It is the best acc I know of the depredations of Latin America by its different colonizers, especially Spain. It also includes some surprising insights into the conditions of the US at the time of the Civil War. I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand how Latin America was slowly impoverished by its riches being shipped to the colonizing powers.
Masterpiece!!As I grow older I continue to unlearn the propaganda, lies, half-truths and omissions the American school system poured into my head. The corporate media and the largely ignorant masses who surrounded me, of course, helped to propagate and reinforce this misinformation so that by the time I reached adulthood I was as stupid, misinformed and biased as everyone else. How simple the sheep are led!!Along the way, by sheer dumb luck, I start to meet certain rare individuals who knew what was event and went through certain life experiences that caused me to question everything I thought I knew and believed in. It was a traumatic time in my life. At first I resisted the truth. How could everything my teachers, parents, friends, the media and different authoritarian figures told me be wrong??? Once the truth stuck its foot in my door I was finally forced to question everything and forced also to find for the truth on my own. Its something everyone must do if they really wish to know source of the truth can be found in certain select books and their authors who are courageous enough to face the powers of falsehood and deception. Galeano's "Open Veins" is one such book. It, together with Howard Zinn's People's History, should replace all the current history books in our schools and should be needed reading for the President of the US and all the others who keep the fate of our nation and the globe in their hands. That is why Hugo Chavez gave it to Obama, hoping it would be read so that the leader of the US might gain some modicum of understanding about the history of Latin America. I doubt he ever read is book is packed border to border with facts, figures and accounts all duly documented with a bibliography nearly as long as the book itself. How one man could place together, assemble such a wealth of information, in one book of 300 pages is mind-boggling. I knew our government's foreign policy record in Latin America was poor but didn't know how bad. Now, I know--and it has left me saddened and exasperated because there is no method we can undo the injustices of six hundred years--not even a method we can change the current and future policies that perpetuate those injustices for those who keep power are too thanks and gratitude to Galeano, a giant of a man, through whose book I now know the history of Latin America--through whose book I now know the truth."And There I Was" by DH Koester
Eduardo Galeano died in April, 2015. He was a Uruguayan journalist, best-selling author, and one of the most prominent Latin American writers. This book about the latest five centuries of Latin American history focuses on the genocide, abuse and exploitation that started with the Spanish conquistadors and colonization. It continued with foreign economic domination of the banana republics and the brutal dictators -- a lot of imposed and supported by the CIA -- during the twentieth century. Begin Veins of Latin America was initially banned in several Latin American nations, including eano’s thesis is that Latin America, “has specialized in losing ever since those remote times when Renaissance Europeans ventured across the ocean and buried their teeth in the throats of the Indian civilizations. Centuries passed, and Latin America perfected its role…our region still works as a menial…Latin America is the region of begin veins. Everything, from the discovery until our times, has always been transmuted into European – and later United States – capital, and as such has accumulated in distant centers of power…The history of Latin America’s underdevelopment is an integral part of globe capitalism’s development.”The pre-Columbian population of the Americas totaled no less than 70 million when the foreign conquerors arrived. A century and half later, they had been reduced to 3.5 million, just five percent of the original number. It was a virtual death sentence for millions of indigenous peoples who were forced to work in the mines, clawing out gold, silver, and other metals for shipment to Europe. When there weren’t enough Indian slaves, millions of Africans were imported to work the mines and plantations. The African death rate in Latin America was far higher than in the United States.Pope Francis, the first Latin American Pope, apologized for his Church’s role in the colonial invasion of the Western Hemisphere and the violent subjugation of its indigenous inhabitants. “Many grave sins were committed versus the Native people of America in the name of God,” Pope Francis said. “I humbly ask for forgiveness, not only for the offense of the church itself, but also for crimes committed versus the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.”The Pope’s critique of capitalism echoes Galeano’s. It is said that Pope Francis has embraced liberation theology, which led Christian resistance to the right-wing regimes in Latin America during the 1970s and 80s. The Pope calls upon us to rethink capitalism, indicting the global economic system with its “deified market” that vastly enriches a few while leaving billions behind in misery. Galeano asserts that the economic system is Latin America has almost always enriched a few while leaving the masses in abject poverty. In short, Francis and Galeano are singing from the same fascinating happening Galeano describes is how in 1864, Paraguay was invaded in “a battle of extermination which was the most infamous chapter in South American history.” The government of Paraguay had been the most progressive in Latin America, fomenting internal development using protectionism and without foreign investment. Britain encouraged Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to invade their neighbor. The battle lasted five years, killed more than 80 percent of the Paraguayan population, and led to the annexation of huge parts of the country by Brazil and ough formal colonization had ended in Latin America, foreign domination did not. U.S. President William H. Taft said in 1912 that the correct path in foreign policy “may well be created to contain active intervention to secure for our merchandise and our capitalists opportunity for profitable investment.”Looking at just little Panama, American units intervened there twenty times, most recently in the invasion of 1989. The US occupied Haiti for twenty years. Marine General Smedley D. Butler, who had led a lot of military expeditions south of the border, said in 1935 that, “I spent my time being a high-class muscle man for Huge Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”When Latin Americans resisted brutal oligarchies, the US typically backed the generals, such as the notorious Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, who ruled from 1932-1944. The US overthrew the democratically elected reform government in Guatamala in 1954, and this led to 15 years of nomic development in Latin America, Galeano writes, has been held back by producing only certain crops, such as bananas, sugar cane, and coffee, by the lack of agrarian reform and by dependence on Britain or the US. His heroes are the land reformers, who inevitably faced foreign opposition and reversal of reform, such as the liberator Simon Bolivar, Jose Arrigas in Argentina, and Emiliano Zapata in Mexico. Both the US and Britain long used tariffs to protect their infant industries from foreign competition, while pressuring Latin America to lower it tariffs for British or American goods. In other words, do as I say, not as I veral chapters in the book are devoted to the Twentieth Century, focusing on the American desire for oil, iron ore, copper and other metals. Latin Americans got small of the benefit from the of their natural resources -- workers got very low pay, and the governments typically got modest tax revenues or concession payments – while the profits went to the multinational corporation that controlled the process. Dictators “hawked the country to foreign capitalists as a pimp a woman.” In this way, countries rich in natural resources remained poor. “What Latin America sells gets constantly cheaper and what is buys gets constantly dearer.” Thus economic inequality grows.If there were any benefits to Latin Americans from economic domination, other than for a few oligarchs, Galeano does not mention them. He does not acknowledge the improvements in Latin American living standards and life expectancy that have occurred despite the obstacles, though it is real Latin America remains relatively poorer than North me readers will take exception to Galeano’s sympathy for Castro, and may be uncomfortable with the forward by Isabel Allende, who describes how the democratically elected president of Chile – Salvador Allende -- was overthrown by the CIA in 1973, installing General Pinochet and his long and brutal ese reservations aside, Galeano is a gifted story-teller who can turn a phrase, and if he is a risky radical, then so is the Pope. ###
Not certain why Galeano recently repudiated his work in Begin Veins. Most of the statements he makes in the book are well known to history and not particularly controversial. Whether or not they recommend a socialist solution to Latin America's numerous ills is a whole other debate. I never thought Galeano was necessarily advocating such a solution as he recounts the different ways Latin American countries have been exploited by huge capitalist concerns over the years.I did have fun his writing style, more so than some of his other works. It's helpful, I think, to know some of the primary historical facts about the different Latin American nations before reading this book or you won't understand much of it. Like reading Mein Kamph without any knowledge of postwar German politics at the time. In my case, it really supplemented and reinforced a lot of of the things I've been reading and learning. Like The Prize, Daniel Yergin's opus about the history of oil, I only want he had continued on into the show day.
William Dalrymple tells how a single business operation replaced the Mughal empire to rule the Indian subcontinent. The East India Company was a first major multi-national corporation, and an early example of a joint stock enterprise. Most happenings occur between 1756-1803, around the time of the American and French revolutions. The story begins in 1599 with the charter of the Company, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the lifetime of e Company was preceded by Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake and included veteran Carribean privateers, state sponsored pirates who attacked the Spanish armada for gold and silver. The first Company voyage brought back spice from Indonesia by robbing a Portuguese ship. Outdone by the Dutch in the spice trade, the Company began trade in India with the benefits of a British monopoly, license to raise an troops and seize territory, all endorsed by the the time of the Company's expansion of power the Mughal Empire had been weakened by a series of invasions and internal conflicts. Increasing intolerance had pushed Maratha rebels under Shivaji to strike north from the Deccan plateau in the late 17th century. Sikhs struck south from the Punjab. Prince fought versus prince. In 1739 the Persian warlord Nader Shah sacked Delhi, and created off with the spoils of an empire. The period is known as the of fortifications at a British port in Bengal provoked the local Nawab and Mughal troops to destroy the trading post in 1756. Captured British were thrown into the so-called 'Black Hole of Calcutta' where a significant number died from trampling and suffocation. Robert Clive, a violent and ruthless soldier of fortune hired by the Company, would conquer and plunder the Mughals and oust the French from Bengal, returning home the richest man in 1764 the Company place down a Mughal rebellion, and replaced the empire as tax collectors of the wealthiest lands on the subcontinent. The Company amassed a personal troops twice the size of Britain's. Draught, famine and Company hoarding caused a heavy bailout in 1773 by the Crown. Tea shipped west triggered the American revolution, and opium shipped east resulted in battle with China. At it's height the Company accounted for half of the world's ch is covered during forty years. Warren Hastings, Clive’s successor as governor of Bengal, attempted to reform the worst excesses of Company rule, and was place on by his rival countrymen. His successor would be Cornwallis, the general who surrendered the American colonies to Washington. Tipu Sultan, ‘Tiger of Mysore’, was sought as an ally by Napoleon, until foiled by Nelson at the Nile. Tipu was defeated by Wellington of future Waterloo fame.Dalrymple doesn’t mince words about happenings that occured, nor do eyewitnesses of the period. On British incursions before the war of Plassey: ‘What honor is left us when we take orders from a handful of traders?’. On the handover of the Mughal empire after the war of Buxar: ‘The entire transaction took less time than the of a [email protected]#$%’. All was realized under withering fire of artillery, executed by Indians armed and trained by the Company.Dalrymple's unifying narrative source is the Mughal court historian Ghulam Hussain Khan's epic 'Review of Modern Times'. He also scoured the India Office collection in London and National Archives in Delhi. As noted in the introduction 'English and Mughal records of the period are extensive'. Primarily a military account, his contribution is gathering and presenting it all in an entertaining and edifying manner. His talent for storytelling is clearly r a look at what corporate capitalism can be, this is a fascinating case. The Company thrived more than 200 years ago. Some things have changed, others have not. Territorial takeover is frowned upon, but economic conquest is far from over. Corporations, lobbyists and politicians can effectively do the same work. The will to profit, avoid regulation and taxes, is intrinsic. Dalrymple does not state this explicitly in the text, but the parallels are evident.
Very much enjoyed this. Well-researched and well-written. I very much recommend e only negative is that it seemed to flow poorly; such that I was never quite sure what the scope of the work was, or where it was going next. After several pages of detail about a short period of time, you would search a few generalizing statements that seemed to cover the next 50 years or whatever if history - perfectly normal. But then it would dive into a more detailed description of the next year, or a prior happening with various range that criticisms always seem to take more words than praise, but it seems to usually be true. Notwithstanding the relative word count, this was an perfect read and I enjoyed this, my first exposure to the history of the EITC and it’s conquering of India.
This is a fascinating and probably will be the definitive book on how the East India Company and the British made what is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh from a potpouri of independent and warring states. I only gave it 4 stars because for most readers the detail which create this such a valuable reference work will deter a lot of readers.
I'm still reading through the book. I can't place it down. The historical record, which for the most part, remains uncovered within academia, is the most enlightening part of this book. The heinous disregard for human life and the planned enslavement of other races by one race of people is another disgusting aspect of inhumanity that this book unveils. The corruption goes to the highest levels of some of our respected institutions. If people only knew the truth. It brings clarity to our current international state of affairs.
In his characteristically vivid style, William Dalrymple describes the wholesale loot of the wealth of the Mughal Empire of India by a handful of directors sitting in a nondescript London building. The amount of wealth - to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in today's amounts - that the East India Company pilfered through deceit, shrewd military help of warring local factions and downright pilfering was staggering, and so was the complete political takeover of India by the Company; today''s giant corporations are downright tame compared to the center of the Company's early activities was Robert Clive, a greedy Company officer who enriched himself beyond measure by bribing the local general to desert the Nawab (lord) of Bengal during his hour of need. The Company was beyond the reach of any kind of regulation, and in fact it engineered the first corporate lobbying in modern history by bribing members of the British parliament and making sure they would not curb its power as well as the first corporate bailout by being "too huge to fail". Strategies like insider trading (Clive bought shares of the Company right after defeating the Nawab of Bengal) and using military force to threaten businessmen and leaders were not just ignored but considered an essential part of enriching the Empire and making sure it stayed ahead of the Dutch, Portugese and French who had gotten a foothold in India and the East before the British did.Dalrymple also paints a vivid portrait of mid-18th century India and especially Bengal, giving us snapshots of daily lives of rich and not good alike as well as gradually encroaching Company establishments; the man sure knows how to write amazing narrative history. It was largely through trading with Europeans that the sleepy villages of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta grew into amazing cities. There was unprecedented wealth in the form of jewels, spices and animal skins, but also amazing poverty and inequality. Dalrymple similarly has sharp hero portraits of key British leaders like Clive and Warren Hastings and Indian political leaders like Shah Alam, Mahadji Scindia and Siraj Ud Daula. The one complaint I have is that Dalrymple minimizes the cruel history of the Mughal Empire itself - an empire that had taken over India by invasion, looting and killing - while emphasizing the atrocities of others. Also somewhat problematic in the same vein is his extensive quoting of single Mughal sources like Ghulam Hussain Khan that may paint a biased picture. On the other hand, I generally appreciated Dalrymple's copious, constant references to first-hand e East India Company came to India at the turn of the 16th century, when this Empire was at its peak and relatively tolerant and flourishing, and bided its time before waiting for a fortunate (for them, unfortunate for India) confluence of factors, including the weakening of Delhi and its affluence by raids by the Persian Emperor Nader Shah from the North and the Maratha Empire from the South and internal squabbling and division among local nawabs and factions. The Mughal Empire was now crumbling and the time was right to strike, and making the pretense of wanting to squelch French expansion, the British struck Bengal at the War of Plassey in 1757 and Buxar in 1764. They further weakened the two other ruling powers in India over the next thirty years - the Marathas and the Mysore Empire, which were defeated and their leaders deposed or killed in a series of engagements from the late 1790s to the early 1800s. This was in spite of key British defeats in the 1780s by the Marathas and the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan which were serious enough to threaten to undo Company rule for good: The tragedy was that while the Marathas especially were often equal or even better than the British in terms of manpower, strategy, and even technology (they acquired a lot of cutting-edge artillery technology and military tactic for the French), their lack of unity and funding and internal shifting alliances doomed didn't support that India itself was divided among religious, linguistic, caste and regional lines, and a lot of Indian local leaders foolishly enlisted the help of the Company in fighting local wars, not realizing that when it was was over they would be in the Company's pockets. Self-serving businessmen like the Jagat Seths also took the side of the British versus their own people, and one of the most revealing aspects of Dalrymple's acc is how the British started eventually winning not because of superior tactic or manpower but simply because they were better funded by a handful of leading Indian businessmen who realized that they were better at paying their debts. One of the Peshwas (Brahmin leader of the Maratha Empire) tried to reach out to his traditional rivals to form a unified coalition when he realized the existential threat the Company poses, but by then it was too late. When the dust had settled, the East India Company essentially ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent, had established a steady system of pillage shipping India's wealth over to England through taxation and downright theft and had created all regional leaders puppets. At no other time has a single corporation wielded so much power and territory. There are no heroes here since all sides engaged in their own brands of atrocities and greedy pillage, but there does emerge one amazing villain (it's also interesting to contemplate India's history and its modernization in a counterfactual history where the British had not ruled the subcontinent). Ultimately, the Company's excesses - especially after a reign of sheer, unadulterated greed during a horrific famine in 1770 - became too much even for the British crown, and bitter denunciations started emerging from the intellectual strata of British society and the crown. Control of India finally passed to the crown after the Sepoy Mutiny of e valuable warning to take away from this story is simply that to give individual corporations unfettered power without regulation can lead to amazing injustice and unprecedented thievery. Another necessary lesson for today is one which has been imparted since time immemorial, one that Edward Gibbon taught in his popular history of the Roman Empire for instance, and that is that a nation falls from within, not from outside; if Indians had been united it would have been very hard, if not impossible, for the East India Company to take over. Yet another huge lesson here which is perhaps even more relevant is that even if you are individually a relatively kind and decent man, as Clive's successor Warren Hastings who genuinely loved India was, you can still be on the wrong side of history because you work for the wrong institution. Corporations are an necessary part of modern capitalism, but without some form of regulation it is in their very nature to enrich themselves and their shareholders at the expense of others. Finally, Dalrymple leaves us with a warning for the future: while the giant corporations of today may not command armies or take over entire countries, latest developments concerning surveillance and privacy breaches and corporate mercenaries for battle indicate that the imperialistic spirit of the East India Company is not quite dead yet. All cogent lessons, vividly communicated in this superbly written history.
It is very well researched and edified. I think that the subject is too huge for the pages. There are a lot of time lines and personalities running at the same time. He did test to organize that but I think it was a bit bizzy. I also think more about Cornwallis would have been very useful.
I am a Frenchman living in Central America.I was recently asked in France by a History/Geography teacher what precisely was meant by "banana republic". As I embarked in an impromptu explanation of the result of wealth extraction (be it by the sword and slavery or marginally better through IMF structural adjustments) on the structure of an economy and, through it, of the whole society, I soon realized that I would never be able to do it as well as Eduardo Galleano did forty years ago.I therefore sent a French ver of his magnus opus to the teacher, and since I was at that I decided to reread it as is book is now quite old and a lot of latest developments are missing, but it is still the most comprehensive acc of the systemic plunder of a whole continent I have found so ardo Galleano does not shy from his leftist viewpoint, but past the introduction this hardly has an impact on the clarity and the precision of his Historic analysis which breadth and depth are breathtaking.I can only regret that he didn't write recently an modernize to acc for the very interesting latest 40 it stands now, las venas abiertas de América latina remains a foundational document for whoever wants to understand the roots of today's societal organization and aches in latin so noteworthy: the translation to English is excellent.
Eduardo Galeano may not be so well known among readers in general, but they would be well advised to create his acquaintance. This book was published around 1970, but the lessons it imparts about how the more "advanced" nations, for over 5 centuries, have at least in part achieved their status and standard of living - much to the detriment of the native populations of the "Global South" - are just as necessary (and perhaps even more so) to know and study today, nearly 50 years later. Most of the sad story that the author tells has only gotten sadder still in the intervening years, albeit with some hopeful changes along the way. The author was well read, well informed and widely traveled (he passed just in 2015), and brings much authority to his work - having also lived through a lot of difficulties in his native home himself. The book covers a vast expanse of time and geography, and it can be hard to hold a focus because of this. It also unrelentingly hammers away at the explicit violence done to the peoples of these lands, which makes it difficult to read. But it must be read, in to at least start to correct the myopia which afflicts modern Westerners in regard to their cherished "way of life". The history of the latest 500 years in Latin America (Galeano defines that region as being from the Rio Grande south to the Tierra del Fuego), is portrayed by the author as a period of almost universal exploitation and denial of freedoms, with only brief bright spots of attempts at self-determination. The book tells in excruciating detail of the voracious plunder of the Global South (including the African slave trade) by European countries, and then the U.S. and other advancing economies, as they ruthlessly expropriated valuable natural resources for their own advantage, but not for that of the local populations they decimated - except those who collaborated with and enabled the invaders. No one can speak of human rights, or of development of a real human family, or even about tactics to attempt to mitigate climate change, without acknowledging and opposing the disgraceful treatment of a vast portion of that human family, all for the vain worship of material gods and golden calves. You don't need to look beyond the widely exposed machinations of the "1%" currently in the media to see the depravity of these attitudes, but this intense work will illuminate you as to just how deep the roots of economic exploitation actually are.