In Tides of Revolution, Cristina Soriano makes an innovative argument about the emergence of the public sphere in Latin America through a fascinating and groundbreaking study of media, culture, and political movements in late colonial Venezuela. This carefully researched book's thesis is that the absence of a printing press did not preclude the development of a dynamic environment of public debate and political contestation among an overwhelmingly illiterate population. The Age of Revolutions intensified cross-cultural exchange in this peripheral region and left it awash with radical antimonarchical, republican, egalitarian, and abolitionist ideas. Colonial authorities could not stop these from arriving on Venezuela's Caribbean shores nor contain them within a complex socioracial hierarchy. For as Soriano shows, no printing press, bookstore, or exclusive coffee shop was needed for Venezuela's white elite, people of color, and enslaved and free blacks to develop an...

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