Advance Praise

“In Dancing with Dynamite, journalist Ben Dangl breaks the sound barrier, reporting on progressive changes that have swept South America in the past decade, exploding many myths about Latin America that are all-too-often amplified by the corporate media in the United States.  Read this much-needed book.”

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

“At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the panorama of Latin American social movements is very different from what we knew ten or twenty years ago. Now they navigate in much more tranquil waters than those agitated by the neoliberal wave. However, these seas are cloudier, less transparent, making understanding reality a much more complex task. … Dancing with Dynamite dares to navigate these cloudy waters, something which increasingly fewer thinkers and activists dare to do, but which turns out to be urgent.”

Raúl Zibechi, Uruguayan journalist and author of Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces among many other books.

“Dancing with Dynamite gives a strong sense of the vibrant social activism underway in many different countries of Latin America, as well as the complex relationship between social movements and the radical leaders that they have helped put into power. A recommended read for anyone interested in the possibilities of social change in Latin America today.”

Sujatha Fernandes, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and the author of  Who Can Stop the Drums?: Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela.

“For more than a decade, social activists in North America and Europe have gained confidence that a new world is possible in light of the dynamic social movements in Latin America, particularly those of the Indigenous Peoples, but have not figured out how to apply the strategies of those movements to situations in the North. Dancing with Dynamite provides profound insights and a guide to how that might be done.  Ben Dangl has earned a reputation as a tireless and reliable connection between two worlds, and this book is essential reading at the right moment.”

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico and Blood on the Border

“Perhaps the most important book this year, Dancing with Dynamite is roadmap for social change from the bottom up. Backed by years of travel, extensive research, and powerful story-telling, Ben Dangl’s book carries us across the Americas, deep into the movements making waves in South America’s most radical countries. We are reminded that we in the United States have much to learn from our southern sisters and brothers.”

Michael Fox, Co-Director, Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas and Co-Author, Venezuela Speaks!: Voices from the Grassroots.

“Dangl brings complicated politics to life by infusing them with the magic, mystery and unbridled joy that invigorate social movements and permeate Latin American life in general. You hear the pounding drums and smell the sizzling llama meat at Carnival in Bolivia; you feel the steam rising off baking bricks at the worker-run ceramics plant in Argentina; you taste the yerba mate and quiver with the sense of possibility in a cluttered Frente Amplio meeting room in Uruguay. It all adds up to the wondrously explosive ‘dynamite’ of human passion and determination that has toppled repressive right-wing regimes and now swirls in the complicated dance Dangl so deftly describes to build and protect true democracy within the new rubric of leftist governments.”

Kari Lydersen, Journalist and author of Revolt on Goose Island: The Chicago Factory Takeover and What it Says About the Economic Crisis.

“Ben Dangl’s Dancing with Dynamite incisively focuses on the relationship between social movements and governments in South America, providing a vital contribution toward understanding the region’s current politics. While South American presidents receive much of the credit for the progressive changes taking place in the region, many of these changes occur largely through the heroic and courageous efforts of grassroots activists. In this engaging book, Dangl provides a valuable history and analysis of the largely ignored struggles of South American social movements in their fight for a better world.”

Greg Grandin, Professor of History at New York University, author of Empire’s Workshop and Fordlandia.

“The story of the dramatic turn to the left in Latin America over in the past decade is now well known, but an equally significant story of divisions between social movements and electoral politics remains largely untold. Combining a broad knowledge of Latin America with direct experiences on the ground, journalist Ben Dangl examines the tensions that grassroots activists have felt with the progressive governments they helped put into place. With compelling prose, Dancing with Dynamite takes us across South America, and then draws parallels between those movements and similar struggles in the United States. Along the way, Dangl provides an expert introduction to social movements in Latin America, as well as a probing political analysis of electoral paths to social justice. The result is an outstanding book that ponders the most effective ways to make the changes necessary to assure the survival of the planet.”

Marc Becker, journalist and Professor of Latin American History at Truman State University