by Marie Arana
Against the background of a thousand years of vivid history, acclaimed writer Marie
Arana tells the timely and timeless stories of three contemporary Latin Americans whose
lives represent three driving forces that have shaped the character of the region:
exploitation (silver), violence (sword), and religion (stone). . . .
Marie Arana seamlessly weaves these stories with the history of the past millennium to
explain three enduring themes that have defined Latin America since pre-Columbian times:
the foreign greed for its mineral riches, an ingrained propensity to violence, and the
abiding power of religion. What emerges is a vibrant portrait of a people whose lives
are increasingly intertwined with our own.
Marie Arana is senior advisor to the U.S.
Librarian of Congress, literary director of the National Book Festival, the John W.
Kluge Center's former Chair of the Cultures of the Countries of the South, and a Writer
at Large for the Washington Post. For many years, she was editor-in-chief of the
Washington Post's literary section, Book World.
"American Exceptionalism: Myth and Reality,"
The Wisdom Fund, November 2011