Best Book You Ever Read On Nicaragua ?

I was NOT thinking about travel guidebooks and such, but history / sociology / politics / etc.

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A Great Book

mjr, those are my brother's initials as well, wierd, wild, stuff!!! The book is called, "Revolution in the Family", it gives a great history of Nicaragua, from Sandino up to Violeta Chamorro de Barrios, along with the several different Samoza regimes (Tacho, Luis & Tachito). It was written by a female journalist who experienced the Sandanista Revolution fisthand, her name is Shelly something I think. GOOD LUCK

Just added

I just added the book. See

Best books on Nicaragua

One of the best, for beginners especially, is Kinzer's "Blood of Brothers".

Shuffling in the Archivos!------ Best Books on Nicaragua.

I am commenting on this "Forum Topic" that dates from December, 2004, and was written before I found "Nica Living".

(1) In 1991, I read a book entitled "Adventures on the Misquito (sic) Coast" that was written by George Squires (pen name)whose real name was Ephriam Spencer, who was from New York City, and who travelled the "Miskito Coast" in the 1850's and the book was published in the 1880's. I found the book in the University of Southern Mississippi library (Hattiesburg, Ms.) and I was able to check the book out for an extended period because my daughter was working on her "Masters of Education" at USM at that time. The book was an absolute "hoot". Spencer travelled to Jamica, then to Providencia near San Andreas and was then trying to reach Bluefields by boat. The freight boat sank near the "Pearl Cays" and he swam to one of the Cays and after a few days was rescued by a "turtle fisherman" who took him to Bluefields. Several on the boat drowned including the capitan. After a couple of resting weeks, Spencer organized a travel party and started for the Houndarian Coast. After meeting and partying with the "Miskito King" (I think King Frederick) in Bluefields; Spencer made his way to the village of Pearl Lagoon. The "Miskito General of Pearl Lagoon" had heard that Spencer was coming and the General (a giant) was prepared for the occasion wearing a bright red British Military tunic that covered his torso; but, nothing was covered from the waist down. To make the long story short---Spencer did travel the length of the "Miskito Coast" from Bluefields through Honduras and completed the tour travelling the length of British Honduras. Spencer had bouts of malaria and had many fascinating adventures along the way. As the writing was done in the 1850's; the book, of course, was very politically incorrect by today's standards (to say the least) but very entertaining. The book also contains good drawings of the era and terrific reporting of the people, animals, and vegatation of the entire "Miskito Coast". Of course, south of Bluefields was inhabited by "Rama Indians" and along with Costa Rica were never considered part of the "Miskito Coast".

Nica Sharks ?

Does anyone remember books written not all that long ago, which had titles pertaining to the sharks found in Nicaragua? I do not think the books were about the sharks in the lake, as science books, but about travel writing or adventuring in Nicaragua. I thought I recalled seeing blurbs a few years ago about three different books, but now can not find any of the titles. I am not saying these are some of the best books on Nicaragua. I just thought I would post here instead of creating a new forum for my narrow question.


Randy Wayne White, "The Sharks of Lake Nicaragua: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fishing" & Edward Marriott, "The Savage Shore: Life and Death with Nicaragua's Last Shark Hunters". There are/were other volumes with a shark-related titles, but at least one really was a scientific volume, and another had a sort of cute title, taken from a poem about the sharks (I think). I cannot comment on the quality of the two titles posted above. I have the books in Honduras, but have not yet read them (hard to do when in Minnesota, where I am now). I believe Marriott's book deals more with adventure than the actual sharks; the same might be true for White's. In both cases, the long title makes you think it more shark-related than it really is, or might be.

Separate reviews?

I have been thinking about a book review section for quite a while but I kept wanting a "fancy solution". I think this could be really useful info. How about people just write a blog entry reviewing a book (in other words, a separate blog entry for each book they review). I will then create a links page pointing to them.

A few good books

Nicaragua In Focus: A Guide to People, Politics and Culture by Hazel Plunkett is a good intro to Nicaragua. Then I guess it depends on your definition of best. A few good books (in English -- I'm sure there are many more in Spanish) which were most significant to me include: The Best of What We Are by John Brentlinger, The Death of Ben Linder by Joan Kruckewit, Blood of Brothers by Steven Kinzer (tho I don't agree with all of Kinzer's conclusions concerning the revolution, he is an excellent writer). If you want to get more academic The Intelectual Foundations of the Nicaraguan Revolution by Donald Hodges is a must read and The Fall and Rise of the Market In Sandinista Nicaragua by Phil Ryan is also good. For a personal witness The Red Thread by Jennifer Atlee-Loudon and for great art The Gospel in Art by the Peasants of Solentiname edited by Philip and Sally Scharper. Most of the books I've seen and/or read concern the Revolution (because revolutions are sexy) or the Contra War (many are just apologies for US agression) but now that Nicaragua simply and quietly languishes in Neo-liberal hell the pens have gone silent -- or so it seems to me -- except for some solidarity writing on the web. Has anyone seen good work on the recent period in Nicaragua?

Recent period?

"...Has anyone seen good work on the recent period in Nicaragua?"

No. It was basically the lack of this which prompted me to post the original qestion. I had assumed I had just missed the obvious, but as you say, maybe the pens have gone silent.

Reading not necessary

Best books I have, have few if any words (really do not need to be read, as you normally understand "read"). The photographic projects are excellent, even if you do not believe that a "picture is worth a 1000 words". Some are: Sandino In The Streets ; Esparanza - Fotos de Nicaragua ; Nicaragua - The Photos of William Gentile ; and The Other Nicaragua.

Nicaragua for Beginners

I have read maybe 50 books on Nicaragua but as a general introduction, this book is great. It is part of a ... for Beginners series. A little over 150 pages, lots of illustrations, lots of fun and lots of useful information. It covers from "the beginning" to 1981. Great background.

From Page 12, talking about Columbus:

So after 15 days of collecting gold, parrots and women, Columbus and his prospectors brought the news back to Spain. Nothing has been the same since.

Lots of useful information?

I assume you realize that this book is a joke. I do not mean that in the sense that the book is funny. Sometimes it is, in a sad sort of way. But that the book is not taken seriously by anyone interested in real Nicaraguan history. In many bookstores and at many academic libaries --in the U.S., and in Latin America-- the book is classified as a "comic", or "humor", or "entertainment", or "miscellanea", not as history, or even psychology, or sociology, or what have you. Fine, as long as one realizes that going in...

Salman Rushdie, "The Jaquar S

Salman Rushdie, "The Jaquar Smile, A Nicaraguan Journey" & Tim Brown, "The Real Contra War" & (not really, only, about Nicaragua, but...), Fred Rosengarten, "Freebooters Must Die! : The Life and Death of William Walker".

Willaim Walker

I saw on the internet that William Walker's home in Granada is for sale. Looks pretty swanky, if ya don't mind La Gente(tm) givin' ya dirty looks....