In this compelling and comprehensive look at the rise of Evo Morales and Bolivia’s Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), Linda Farthing and Benjamin Kohl offer a thoughtful evaluation of the transformations ushered in by the western hemisphere’s first contemporary indigenous president. Accessible to all readers, Evo’s Bolivia not only charts Evo’s rise to power but also offers a history of and context for the MAS revolution’s place in the rising “pink tide” of the political left. Farthing and Kohl examine the many social movements whose agendas have set the political climate in Bolivia and describe the difficult conditions the administration inherited. They evaluate the results of Evo’s policies by examining a variety of measures, including poverty; health care and education reform; natural resources and development; and women’s, indigenous, and minority rights. Weighing the positive with the negative, the authors offer a balanced assessment of the results and shortcomings of the first six years of the Morales administration.
At the heart of this book are the voices of Bolivians themselves. Farthing and Kohl interviewed women and men in government, in social movements, and on the streets throughout the country, and their diverse backgrounds and experiences offer a multidimensional view of the administration and its progress so far. Ultimately the “process of change” Evo promised is exactly that: an ongoing and complicated process, yet an important example of development in a globalized world.
Linda C. Farthing is a writer and educator with twenty-five years of experience in Latin America as a solidarity activist, study-abroad director, field producer for films, and journalist/independent scholar.
Benjamin H. Kohl was Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University. They are coauthors of From the Mines to the Streets: A Bolivian Activist’s Life with Félix Muruchi and Impasse in Bolivia: Neoliberal Hegemony and Popular Resistance, as well as numerous articles. They live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"Evo’s Bolivia is an eloquently written and timely work….Farthing and Kohl have made a significant contribution to the understanding of the current Bolivian political process by highlighting the positive side of the so called process of change."
—Political Studies Review
"Félix Muruchi Poma’s life-story is engaging and accessible. The fact that it covers so many periods and elements of twentieth-century Latin American history make it a wonderful classroom resource. One could easily pair it with Domitila Barrios de Chungara’s testimonial edited by Moema Viezzer and translated by Victoria Ortiz, Let Me Speak! Testimony of Domitila, a Woman of the Bolivian Mines. Barrios de Chungara and Muruchi were both members of the PCML in Siglo XX, and she makes two appearances in Muruchi’s autobiography. I will soon be using this book in my own courses."
—A Contra corriente
"Evo’s Bolivia: Continuity and Change is a remarkable contribution to the contemporary literature on Bolivia. Perhaps, its greatest contribution is how Linda Farthing and Benjamin Kohl make a complicated history, political economy and geography accessible to a broad range of people (without compromising the politics, nuance, and complexity of the contemporary era)."
—Bolivian Studies Journal /Revista de Estudios Bolivianos
"In From the Mines to the Streets, Benjamin Kohl and Linda Farthing bring to the English language a powerful life story that serves as a narrative counterpart to Kohl and Farthing’s Impasse in Bolivia, one of the most important English-language books written on Bolivia under neoliberalism. The text is suitable for a general readership but also appropriate for university courses on Latin American labor movements, indigenous rights and identity, authoritarianism and democratic transitions, and even political economy. The authors’ careful translation flows smoothly, absent the awkwardness frequent in more literal translations. The book makes numerous interesting contributions to social and political theory, which arise directly from Muruchi’s observations about his life and country, as well as the comparisons he draws between his native land and the countries to which he travels."
—Jason Tockman, NACLA Report on the Americas
“Evo’s Bolivia is no doubt one of the most detailed and comprehensive assessments of Morales’s administration written to date. Its value lies in the authors’ capacity to contextualize the Bolivian experience regionally and globally, without losing sight of the country’s historical and social specificities. This work is an essential reference for those interested in studying the challenges and transformations of the Bolivian experiment that inspired global attention for attempting potential alternatives to capitalist development and colonialism."
—Jorge Derpic, NACLA Report on the Americas
“Evo’s Bolivia should be read as the definitive history of what has arguably been the most significant decade in the history of that country, and in that of the Andean region."
—Dan Goldstein, Rutgers University, reviewed in The Americas
“Evo's Bolivia is, in many regards, the chronicle of the post-neoliberal transition pe¬riod that I had hoped for. Farthing and Kohl present an incisive analysis of the contentious political moment of Morales's election and the years immediately after."
—Tom Perreault, Syracuse University, reviewed in the American Association of Geographers Review of Books
"What is unique about Evo’ s Bolivia is its breadth and accessibility. The text is inter-spersed with anecdotes and direct extracts from interviews; these combined voices provide a vivid and engaging window onto the process of change as it unfolds. The book makes Bolivia legible to the uninformed reader and would be excellent material for undergraduate teaching."
—Thomas Grisaffi, Institute of the Americas, University College London, reviewed in Journal of Latin American Studies
“In their insightful evaluation of the continuity and change within Evo’s Bolivia from 2009 to 2014, two well-established country experts, Linda Farthing and the late Benjamin Kohl, have done precisely that. Thus it would be a mistake to dismiss this comprehensive, extensively researched and readable book as anything but excellent scholarship by two solidarity activists who are unafraid to be critical as well as thoughtful and balanced in their assessments of the positives and negatives of Bolivia’s first indigenous and social movements-dominated administration."
—Dr. Waltraud Morales, University of Central Florida, reviewed in Latin American Perspectives
"In Evo’s Bolivia, Farthing and Kohl engage in a probing analysis of many pressing issues that are critical to the survival of our planet. The result is a successful, thoughtful, and compelling book that is written in a fluid and accessible style. I really enjoyed reading it! The book achieves an admirable balance of providing an excellent entry point for those with little background in Bolivia as well as key insights for scholars and activists with a long history in the country. It will work great in classes, and is excellent for solidarity activists too."
—Marc Becker, Truman State University, reviewed in Upside Down World