This page tries to offer a short selection of books about Venezuela that will allow readers of this blog to know more about the country recent history. Unfortunately most books are in Spanish as only the government can afford to have its books translated and sometimes offered at discount, or for free, at a given embassy or leftist gathering when necessary.
I have listed my choice in no particular order, just as I grabbed in my bookshelves the ones that marked me.
Diccionario de Historia de Venezuela
The monumental 4 volume set that puts all of Venezuelan main historical names, places, sites, battles, conquistadores, etc... in an alphabetical order. Many noted Venezuelan writers and scholars contributed to this magna opus of Venezuelan historical letters. A must for any serious writer.
1997, second edition
De la "Pequeña Venecia" a la "Gran Venezuela" (Manuel Caballero)
The shortest and possibly the best history book on Venezuela. Not so much for the details, which are very limited in a booklet of less than 100 pages, but for the interpretation of Venezuelan history. Published before anyone thought seriously that Chavez would become president.
Monte Avila Editores
1999, second edition
Venezuela: 1830 a nuestros dìas (Rafael Arráiz Lucca)
The most recent major history book on contemporary Venezuela. The author deliberately starts in 1830 to avoid the emotional baggage of the colonial period and independence wars. The author is also a writer an a major poetry critic, thus the 220 pages read easily. Perhaps the only history books that manage to make some sense of the Federal wars, plagued in names of caudillos, events and places.
2007, first edition
El Poder y el Delirio (Enrique Krauze)
It is almost a dictum that some do the best history or assay books are written by foreigners. In a country as polarized as Venezuela today we needed noted Mexican writer Krauze to come and tell us how it all happened. He did his homework, talked to as many people as he could and even if the tried to be as objective as he could he could not fail to see Chavez for what he is, a threat to liberty because of his huge egotistic nature driving his delirium. A very readable book, of immense scope trying to dip into Latin American phenomenons and myths to try to understand Chavez and his political hour. Fascinating cross between personal memoir, assay and history. A must read no matter which side you stand on.
2008, first edition
La herencia de la tribu (Ana Teresa Torres)
A curious erudite book written by a woman who is also a noted writer and a psychoanalyst. Thus she was ideally equipped to write this assay about the myths that define us as a country and which explain so much of what drives politicians today, too concerned with a glorious past that is part imaginary, too often misinterpreted and that gave us our own "Bolivar father complex" of a certain Oedipal nature if one dares write such a notion. It tries to explain why our politics always try to avoid the present and what can really be done, instead preferring to waste precious decades to rebuild, redesign, reinvent everything in the vain hope or recovering a lost glorious past.
2009, first edition
(Last Update March 19 2010)