A Culture of Its Own: Taking Latin America Seriously presents Mark Falcoff's essays on the region. Many of them are contentious; none of them are dull. He ranges from bilingualism to the cult of Garcia Lorca, from U.S.-Cuban relations to Chile's curious love affair with Germany. On more than one occasion, Falcoff takes aim at American journalism and scholarship, both of which, he argues, have all too often produced a fantasy version of Latin America which reflects our own national narcissism rather than genuine curiosity about the other. Latin America, Falcoff argues, is not merely a geographical extension of the United States, or a kind of downmarket version of the American Southwest. It is a culture all its own, with its own historical memory, sensibility, and worldview. Its achievements -and its miseries-are also its own, not the end-product of policies made by the Pentagon, Wall Street, or the CIA.
Falcoff writes about the region with originality, iconoclastic wit, and distinctive literary flair. His volume will interest Latin American specialists, diplomats, and journalists as well as those general readers who think they are not interested in Latin America-or who only suspect they might be, but don't know quite where to start.