The Wars of Rich Resources
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/11/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23455
Review of Bolivia's mid-20th century conflicts over resource extraction.
Kevin Young's Blood of the Earth lays out a critical moment in the history of Bolivia's long entanglement with natural resource extraction: the mid-20th century. He draws a complex and fascinating picture of the struggles over mining and oil from the Chaco War in the 1930s through the 1952 Revolution and the unraveling of the revolutionary state in the 1960s. The author is an assistant professor of history at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Young argues that Bolivians' desire for control over their resources, what he terms "resource nationalism," has been a central logic visible across these periods, a "structure of feeling" that motivated both revolution and social protest. As an anthropologist of contemporary Bolivia, I found this history to be extremely helpful for understanding the debates and dilemmas of Bolivias current revolutionary period.