Beatriz Allende

A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America

By Tanya Harmer

384 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 19 halftones, 1 map, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5429-4
    Published: April 2020
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5430-0
    Published: March 2020

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This biography of Beatriz Allende (1942–1977)—revolutionary doctor and daughter of Chile’s socialist president, Salvador Allende—portrays what it means to live, love, and fight for change. Inspired by the Cuban Revolution, Beatriz and her generation drove political campaigns, university reform, public health programs, internationalist guerrilla insurgencies, and government strategies. Centering Beatriz’s life within the global contours of the Cold War era, Tanya Harmer exposes the promises and paradoxes of the revolutionary wave that swept through Latin America in the long 1960s.

Drawing on exclusive access to Beatriz’s private papers, as well as firsthand interviews, Harmer connects the private and political as she reveals the human dimensions of radical upheaval. Exiled to Havana after Chile’s right-wing military coup, Beatriz worked tirelessly to oppose dictatorship back home. Harmer’s interviews make vivid the terrible consequences of the coup for the Chilean Left, the realities of everyday life in Havana, and the unceasing demands of solidarity work that drained Beatriz and her generation of the dreams they once had. Her story demolishes the myth that women were simply extras in the story of Latin America’s Left and brings home the immense cost of a revolutionary moment’s demise.

About the Author

Tanya Harmer, associate professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is the author of Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War.
For more information about Tanya Harmer, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"While previous studies lionized or sentimentalized Beatriz, Harmer roots the subject in the context of the time period and brings to bear her own expertise in Cold War Latin America. A definitive biography of a female revolutionary."--Library Journal

"[An] engaging, beautifully written biography. . . . The text is rich in stories as the author masterfully moves between Beatriz's personal life and the broader political history of Latin America. . . . Highly recommended."--CHOICE Reviews

"In tracing Beatriz’s life and her involvement with key domestic and international events, Harmer moves beyond studying just state-to-state relations or prominent male figures to examine how Cold War Latin America affected everyday people. In this, Harmer shows how women were protagonists and important historical actors in their own right. . . . An important and fascinating read."--H-Nationalism

"A superb book about the 'sad but luminous days' of a female revolutionary."--European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"[A] compelling, elegantly-crafted biography. . . . The book is also far more than an individual life story. Harmer uses Beatriz and her generation to illuminate the cultural and political conflicts at the heart of the Cold War and Latin America’s 'long 1960s'. . . . This book makes it clear that Chile lost a vital if unsung leader when Beatriz took her own life in 1977."--The Americas

"A brilliant book that offers new and needed perspectives on the apex of the Latin American Cold War. . . . Owing to an extraordinary array of previously unconsulted primary sources, this book is a masterful example of how, by exploring one person’s life and surroundings, researchers can scrutinize broader phenomena."--Hispanic American Historical Review