Potosí is one of the most-studied historical subjects, yet Kris Lane's book stands out in this packed field because his is the first comprehensive overview of the city's history, in English or Spanish. For Lane, the subject of Potosí merits nothing less than a magisterial work given the spectacular nature of Potosí's silver mines relative to silver production, mining history, colonial society, environmental degradation, and global significance. The book is a local history of the city while, as the title suggests, simultaneously arguing for the significance of Potosí, and the city's complexities, in the narrative of world history.

The colonial era is Potosí's storied heyday; thus it is no surprise that chronologically Lane focuses on 1545, the discovery of the mines, through the early independence era. Lane also includes a respectable nod to Potosí's postindependence history. The final 50 pages of the...

You do not currently have access to this content.