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Another Argentine History

On top of Argentina’s bestseller list is The Myths of Argentine History, Volume Two. In second place is The Myths of Argentine History, Volume One. Both, of course, are by the same author: Felipe Pigna, a 45-year-old historian.

It is a rare event when two volumes of the same book top the Argentine bestseller list. Nevertheless, the same thing occurred with the first and second volumes of The Argentines, another look at our history by Jorge Lanata, one of Argentina’s best known journalists.

Argentina has been on the front pages of the world’s newspapers, with stories describing an economic and social crisis born of debt default and devaluation, unemployment and widespread poverty. The subplot is inevitably how a Latin American country that once seemed more like Europe developed all the maladies of its Southern neighbors: a state unable to guarantee public health and education; a growing gap between rich and poor; the disappearance of the middle class; and the decline of industrial capacity in favor of producing raw materials.

All of this is undeniable, and yet the most important change in Argentina – one that occurred a few years earlier – went unnoticed.