About the Book
In Bandits and Liberals, Rebels and Saints Alan Knight offers a distinct perspective on several overarching themes in Latin American history, spanning approximately two centuries, from 1800 to 2000. Knight’s approach is ambitious and comparative—sometimes ranging beyond Latin America and combining relevant social theory with robust empirical detail. He tries to offer answers to big questions while challenging alternative answers and approaches, including several recently fashionable ones.
While the individual essays and the book as a whole are roughly chronological, the approach is essentially thematic, with chapters devoted to major contentious themes in Latin American history across two centuries: the sociopolitical roots and impact of banditry; the character and evolution of liberalism; religious conflict; the divergent historical trajectories of Peru and Mexico; the nature of informal empire and internal colonialism; and the region’s revolutionary history—viewed through the twin prisms of British perceptions and comparative global history.
Alan Knight is emeritus professor of the history of Latin America at the University of Oxford. He is a renowned scholar of Mexican history, and his books have won awards such as the American Historical Association’s Beveridge Prize and the Bolton Prize for his two-volume study The Mexican Revolution, Volume 1: Porfirians, Liberals, and Peasants and The Mexican Revolution, Volume 2: Counter-revolution and Reconstruction, both available from the University of Nebraska Press.
“These essays have the power to surprise and entertain. Yet beyond the incisive insights, it is the theoretical digressions, the jaded take on academic fashions, the telling examples, and the sharp, witty asides that really push the compilation beyond the standard collection of essays. Such elements do not simply bolster the big ideas; they also add to the impression that when reading this book, you are sitting down at a table with a world expert not only in Latin American history but also in global history.”—Benjamin T. Smith, author of The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. Back to Banditry
2. Toward an Explanation of Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Latin America
3. Religion and Conflict in Latin America, 1820–1930
4. The Little Divergence: Peru and Mexico Compared, 1780–1940
5. Informal Empire and Internal Colonialism in Latin America, 1820–1930
6. Hovering Dwarf: Britain and Latin American Revolutions in the Twentieth Century
7. Workers and Peasants, Liberals and Jacobins: The Mexican Revolution in Comparative Global Perspective