Armies without Nations: Public Violence and State Formation in Central America, 1821-1960

Paperback | February 16, 2006

byRobert H. Holden

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Public violence, a persistent feature of Latin American life since the collapse of Iberian rule in the 1820s, has been especially prominent in Central America. Robert H. Holden shows how public violence shaped the states that have governed Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, andNicaragua. Linking public violence and patrimonial political cultures, he shows how the early states improvised their authority by bargaining with armed bands or montoneras. Improvisation continued into the twentieth century as the bands were gradually superseded by semi-autonomous national armies,and as new agents of public violence emerged in the form of armed insurgencies and death squads. World War II, Holden argues, set into motion the globalization of public violence. Its most dramatic manifestation in Central America was the surge in U.S. military and police collaboration with thegovernments of the region, beginning with the Lend-Lease program of the 1940s and continuing through the Cold War. Although the scope of public violence had already been established by the people of the Central American countries, globalization intensified the violence and inhibited attempts toshrink its scope. Drawing on archival research in all five countries as well as in the United States, Holden elaborates the connections among the national, regional, and international dimensions of public violence. Armies Without Nations crosses the borders of Central American, Latin American, andNorth American history, providing a model for the study of global history and politics.

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Public violence, a persistent feature of Latin American life since the collapse of Iberian rule in the 1820s, has been especially prominent in Central America. Robert H. Holden shows how public violence shaped the states that have governed Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, andNicaragua. Linking public violence and patrimon...

Robert H. Holden is an Associate Professor of History at Old Dominion University. He is the author of Mexico and the Survey of the Public Lands: The Management of Modernization, 1876-1911 and the co-editor of Latin America and the United States: A Documentary History (OUP, 2000).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.45 × 6.1 × 0.98 inPublished:February 16, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195310209

ISBN - 13:9780195310207

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"Contrary to much of the scholarly literature of the 1980s, which sought causes for Central American violence in U.S. policy, and contrary also to the official U.S. government view at the time, which blamed Soviet or Cuban meddling, Holden argues that the prevalence of public violence in theregion is a product of its own history and not of intervention by external actors....Scholars interested in militarism and violence in public life in Latin America, and especially in Central America, will want to read and discuss this book."--American Historical Review