Robert L. Smale’s book documents the history of Bolivia’s labor movement at the height of one of Bolivia’s many mineral boom cycles. The author analyzes the relationship among the Bolivian state, the tin industry, and the workers in the tin mines around the departments of Oruro and Potosí in the Bolivian highlands. The population of these areas has historically been mostly indigenous and has a long tradition of mining. However, Smale does not concentrate on the rural history of Andean peasants. He views tin mine workers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as the heirs of a uniquely Andean urban culture that harks back to colonial silver mining. This culture was uniquely mestizo and urban rather than indigenous and agricultural. During the period under study, tin miners produced most of Bolivia’s wealth as the windswept plateaus of Oruro and Potosí attracted...

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