Understanding Central America: Global Forces and Political Change, 7th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Understanding Central America

Global Forces and Political Change, 7th Edition

By John A. Booth, Christine J. Wade, Thomas W. Walker


336 pages

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pub: 2020-02-14
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In this seventh edition, John A. Booth, Christine J. Wade, and Thomas W. Walker update a classic in the field which invites students to explore the histories, economies, and politics of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Covering the region's political and economic development from the early 1800s onward, the authors bring the Central American story up to date.

New to the 7th Edition:

  • Analysis of trends in human rights performance, political violence,,and evolution of regime types;
  • Updated findings from surveys to examine levels of political participation and support for democratic norms among Central Americans;
  • Historical and current era material on indigenouss peoples and other racial minorities;
  • Discussion of popular attitudes toward political rights for homosexuals, and LGBTQ access to public services;
  • Discussion of women’s rights and access to reproductive health services, and women’s integration into elective offices.
  • Tracing evolving party systems, national elections, and U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama and Trump administrations;
  • Central America’s international concerns including Venezuela’s shrinking role as an alternative source of foreign aid and antagonist to US policy in the region, and migration among and through Central American nations;

Understanding Central America is an ideal text for all students of Latin American Politics and is highly recommended for courses on Central American politics, social systems, and history.


"This top-to-bottom update and revision make this edition of this classic work better than ever. Even if you have a prior edition, you will want this new one. Essential tool to the Central American region for newcomers and old timers alike."Mitchell A. Seligson, Research Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University

"Understanding Central America remains the best and most comprehensive treatment of this important sub-region of Latin America. The 7th edition is thoroughly revised with significant new material on each country, and does an excellent job capturing the impact of recent events on the state of democracy in Central America. Booth, Wade & Walker employ theoretically grounded and empirically rigorous analysis with clear prose that helps readers fully understand the history, politics and society of the sub-region. Understanding Central America is ideal for students and scholars needing a rigorous but yet accessible examination of Central America."Orlando J. Pérez, Dean and Professor of Political Science, University of North Texas at Dallas

Table of Contents

1. Crises and Transformation

2. Global Forces and System Change in Central America

3. The Common History

4. Costa Rica

5. Nicaragua

6. El Salvador

7. Guatemala

8. Honduras

9. Political Participation, Attitudes, and Democracy

10. Power, Democracy, and US Policy in Central America

11. Reflections and Projections

About the Authors

John A. Booth is Regents Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of North Texas.

Christine J. Wade is Professor of political science and international studies at Washington College.

Thomas W. Walker is Professor Emeritus of Political Science and former Director of the Latin American Studies Program at Ohio University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Latin America / Central America
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Caribbean & Latin American