The Southern Tiger: Chile’s Fight for a Peaceful and Democratic Future

Richard Lagos, with Blake Hounshell and Elizabeth Dickinson. Palgrave Macmillan, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-230-33816-6
Lagos, president of Chile from 2000 to 2006, teams up with the managing editors of Foreign Policy magazine to describe his landmark role in Chile’s remarkable struggle to overthrow Pinochet’s military junta and become a thriving democracy. Lagos was a Socialist leader in the underground resistance when he went on national TV in 1988 to urge his country to vote against Pinochet in the upcoming plebiscite. That televised address turned the tide against the dictator and propelled Lagos to national fame. In his positions as education minister, minister of public works, and eventually president in the post-Pinochet governments, Lagos highlights his accomplishments—and though he includes some reflective passages on what he could have improved or where he could have done more, he usually comes across in a flattering light, no matter the occasion. He highlights his sense of humor and sense of equilibrium under the most trying circumstances, such as when he’s arrested, imprisoned, and interrogated under Pinochet’s regime. He also devotes extensive attention to his unsuccessful efforts to team up with Blair and Clinton to avert the war in Iraq with an alternate resolution and more diplomacy. The writing is merely serviceable, but this is still an inspiring portrait of a humane leader and his efforts to lead an emerging democracy into the 21st century. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 01/03/2012
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Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-137-00020-0
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