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Modern Panama
From Occupation to Crossroads of the Americas


  • Date Published: May 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108701198

£ 27.99

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About the Authors
  • Few have a complete understanding of the recent history of Panama, markedly since the signing of the Carter–Torrijos Treaties in 1977. Although the Treaty set the stage for the country to finally control all of its territory, little is known about how Panama has fared, both as a manager of a major waterway and as a sovereign nation in a unique region. Authors Michael L. Conniff and Gene E. Bigler seek to fill this major gap in Latin American history with Modern Panama, a thorough account of the recent political and economic developments in Panama. Despite the country's continued struggle with political corruption, Conniff and Bigler argue that changes since the turnover of the Canal have been largely positive, and Panama has emerged into the twenty-first century as a stable, functioning democracy with a growing economy, improved canal management, and a higher standard of living.

    • Provides detailed coverage of Panama's recent history from 1980 to the present day
    • Draws on relevant economic, management, trade, and climate factors to offer a multi-disciplinary examination
    • Uses a variety of English and Spanish sources, including news media and scholarly journals from publications in Panama, Costa Rica, and Chile
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The authors, recognized experts on Panama, have produced a highly readable and thoroughly researched book covering Panama's emergence into full stature as a regional leader. The work is especially worthwhile for its outstanding exposition of the transformation of the Panama Canal from a US utility to a world-class example of business and engineering expertise. The twists and turns of twenty-first century Panamanian politics - successes, challenges, promises, and disasters - are covered in fascinating detail. An excellent and informative read for all those interested in Latin America and (especially) for Canal aficionados.' Linda Watt, Former US Ambassador to Panama

    'A remarkable history of post-Cold War Latin America at a key point of US neocolonial influence. Convincingly shows how Panamanians defied doubts about their capacity to manage the canal, just as they emerged from military rule and consolidated a democratic state. A persuasive and optimistic coming-of-age story in the age of globalization.' Peter Szok, Texas Christian University

    'Conniff and Bigler provide a welcome update to the continuing saga of modern Panamanian history. While providing an excellent summary of Panama's formative period from independence to Noriega's downfall, the bulk of the work focuses on the political and economic challenges and successes of the past two decades. This book is an excellent complement to any complete collection on Panama.' Robert C. Harding, author of Military Foundations of Panamanian Politics and The History of Panama

    '… Modern Panama is an insightful, well-written examination that provides an important contribution to our understanding of an understudied nation that deserves more scrutiny.' Orlando J. Pérez, Hispanic American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108701198
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 4 maps 4 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures and tables
    1. Introduction to modern Panama
    Part I:
    2. The 1980s: a halting transition toward democracy
    3. The Endara Administration: civilians learned to prevail
    4. The Pérez Balladares Administration: return of the PRD
    Part II:
    5. The Moscoso Administration: millennial transitions
    6. The Torrijos Administration: uneven progress spread discontent
    7. Panama's canal: better than ever
    8. The Martinelli Administration: trouble in boom times
    9. The Varela Administration: toward a more humane society
    10. Conclusions
    Interviews by authors
    Unpublished documentary sources

  • Authors

    Michael L. Conniff, San José State University, California
    Michael L. Conniff is Professor Emeritus of History at San José State University. His recent publications include A New History of Modern Latin America (2017, with Lawrence Clayton and Susan Gauss), Panama and the United States (2012), and Populism in Latin America (2nd edition, 2012).

    Gene E. Bigler, University of the Pacific, California
    Gene E. Bigler is a retired US Foreign Service Officer who was instrumental in the transition of control of the Panama Canal Zone from the US to Panama. He has also taught political science and public policy analysis at The Johns Hopkins University, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the Instituto de Estudios de Administracion (IESA) in Caracas, Venezuela, and at other institutions in the US and Latin America.

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