For several decades, sociologist Dennis Gilbert has carefully studied poverty and wealth across the Americas. His latest book is an account of the rise and fall of Latin American oligarchs during a span of almost a century. In the first part of the book, Gilbert compares oligarchs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru. In the second part, he analyzes three of the wealthiest and most politically important families of Peru and their relationship to workers, politicians, middle-class people, other oligarchs, and the military. For the chapters on Peru, Gilbert relies on archival documents (mainly correspondence) that were made available to researchers after 1968. The author also conducted interviews with members of the Peruvian oligarchy. While some of the text draws from research that Gilbert published in Spanish in 1982, the author now places the Peruvian oligarchs in a larger and comparative...

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