What: When President Obama met Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez at the Summit of the Americas in April 2009, he came away with a copy of Eduardo Galeano's best-known work. First published in 1971, and considered so incendiary it was banned by the military governments of Chile, Argentina and Galeano's native Uruguay, "Open Veins" remains pertinent over 45 years on.
Detailing "five centuries of the pillage of a continent", this economic history of post-Columbus Latin America tells how its inhabitants have in turn been the victims of genocide, exploitative trade deals and, more recently, a string of murderous US-backed dictators. A continent blessed with bountiful natural resources has been systematically stripped of its gold, silver, tin, copper, oil, nitrates, manganese and rubber, while its people remain among the poorest on earth, with high levels of infant mortality, illiteracy and child prostitution.
How: "Impassioned and lucid, Galeano is a knowledgeable guide through a shameful history of foreign exploitation." - The Guardian