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The Latin Americanist, June 2012 is as pressing as it ever has been. Beverley discusses the tension played out between the Zapatistas and the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) in the 2006 Mexican presidential elections, and exhibited more recently between social movements and the Bolivian government (as well as other pink tide leaders). He criticizes a shared anti-statist position of neoconservative and ultraleftist forces. In contrast, Beverley argues for the persistent relevance of state structures to realize the noble objectives of contemporary pink tide governments in Latin America. This short book is a compilation of previously published essays that have been rewritten for inclusion in this volume. Beverley writes from a position which I suppose one could term post-subaltern or perhaps postpost colonial studies. Beverley comments as some length about the tension of writing desde (from) verses sobre (about) Latin America, and his primary audience remains other cultural theorists most concerned about these tensions in the field. Beverley acknowledges that a golden age of academic theory has faded, but still contends that a meaningful connection can be made between scholarly discourses and the lived realities of politics on the ground in Latin America. Through his decades of work and numerous publications in the field, Beverley remains as a shining example of a politically engaged scholar as seriously engaged with current politics as lived and practiced in Latin America. Marc Becker Department of History Truman State University BARTOLOME DE LAS CASAS AND THE CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS. By Lawrence A. Clayton. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, 188 pp., $23.95. Bartolomé de Las Casas and the Conquest of the Americas, is a short, effective, student-oriented history of the period and major issues of the Spanish presence in the New World that Las Casas confronted. The basic premise of this book, to use the life of Las Casas as a “gateway into the history of the Conquest” (12), works quite well. The fact that his subject was a contemporary and near eyewitness to most of the major events of the first half-century of Spanish exploration and conquest in the Americas allows Clayton to effectively contextualize the career of Las Casas. Much as the Spanish presence unfolded slowly, from the small, economically marginal islands of the Caribbean to the dramatic conquests of central Mexico and the Andes, so Clayton traces the life of Las Casas from his relatively obscure beginnings as a merchant to his frenetic and spectacular religious career. This is an especially successful approach for discussing the development of the Dominican’s advocacy for the Indian peoples caught by the creation of the vast new Spanish Empire. Clayton effectively narrates the slow awakening of Las Casas to the plight of the Indians, from his brief ownership of a Taino slave, to his experience with the brutality of the 182 Book Reviews encomienda system on Hispaniola. The unregulated, unsupervised expansion became increasingly disturbing to the young Las Casas as more and more land and Indians were brought under Spanish control. The course of Las Casas’s ensuing public career is similarly contextualized within the larger political and ideological developments in Spain, Europe, and the world. At each encounter with the monarchy, Clayton describes the competing agendas and concerns that shaped the official governmental response to the crisis of the Indies that Las Casas was bringing to light. In doing so, this book not only highlights the difficult mission which Las Casas undertook, but also shows how impressive it was that he was able to make as much progress as he did in the name of protecting the native peoples of Spain’s American conquests. The book is equally effective in describing the complexity of Las Casas’s thought and theology. Clayton reminds the reader that Las Casas was not simply concerned with the humane treatment of the Indians, and their evangelization; rather, the Dominican denied entirely the legitimacy of the Conquest. He did so both in terms of just war, as understood by contemporary Christian thought, as well as in the name straightforward justice and natural law. While politically, Las Casas worked to protect Indian communities from the abuses of the Conquistadors in the name...


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