rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 2: p. 166
Sources: Encyclopedia of U.S.–Latin American Relations
Joseph A. Hurley

Data Services, Geosciences, Gov’t Info, Maps and GIS Librarian, Georgia State University Library, Atlanta, Georgia

While geographic neighbors, the United States and Latin American countries experienced different political and economic development patterns, which has often contributed to a differing and uneven political relationship between the United States and Latin American nations. Whether imbalanced or self-serving, US-Latin American relations have been and continue to be significant influential factors in important policy developments from the Monroe Doctrine to neoliberalization. The Encyclopedia of U.S.–Latin American Relations, edited by Thomas M. Leonard, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of North Florida, is an authoritative and comprehensive resource focused exclusively on the political, social, economic and military relations between the United States and the nations of Latin America. A three-volume set, this alphabetically organized encyclopedia contains over 800 entries, numerous maps, photographs, an index, cross-references, and suggested further readings, and provides an introduction essay which places US-Latin American relations into a historical context.

A significant resource, the Encyclopedia of U.S.–Latin American Relations offers a remarkable breadth of topics spanning over 200 years. Entries include standard topics such as descriptions of relations with the United States by country and entries on important individuals such as Fidel Castro. Leonard’s volumes also contain less formulaic entries such as “Communism in Latin America.” The strength of this encyclopedia rests not only with its comprehensiveness, but also with the quality of the entries which offer very well-researched, yet concise, topical synopses, each with a very useful further readings list. Containing over 800 entries by 160 expert contributors and a team of four skillful editors, the Encyclopedia of U.S.–Latin American Relations is an exceptionally high quality reference work.

The Encyclopedia of U.S.–Latin American Relations stands out among other Latin American reference resources. While several notable reference works on Latin America are available such as the Encyclopedia of Latin America (Facts on File, 2010), the Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture (Gale, 2008) and the Encyclopedia of Latin American Politics (Oryx Press, 2002), these focus almost solely on Latin American nations with limited analysis of transnational influence. Leonard’s work offers an additional dimension to such resources by focusing on the impact and influence of the exchange and interaction between Latin American nations and the United States. Although the Historical Dictionary of U.S.–Latin American Relations (Greenwood Press, 2005) is similar in concept, it is limited in scope and its entries are inferior in quality.

The Encyclopedia of U.S.-Latin American Relations differs from other works such as the Encyclopedia of Latin America (Facts on File, 2010) in that it is not a general encyclopedia and therefore may not appeal to a broad audience. However, this work is not intended to serve as an all-inclusive Latin American reference resource. Instead, this work delves deep into a focused, but broad-spectrum array of topics associated with United States and Latin American relations and is therefore an important political and historical resource. The Encyclopedia of U.S.-Latin American Relations is highly recommended for large public and all academic libraries, especially academic institutions with Latin American or International Studies programs.



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