Bolivia is an isolated, land-locked, sparsely populated country--a land that has Amazon jungle, snow covered mountain peaks and every ecological niche in between. Within the country's borders are the world's most dangerous roads, highest navigable lake, richest silver mine and largest salt lake.
Understanding Bolivia is a traveller's history that reveals the backbone of local cultures from the Tihuanacans and Inca to present day Aymara and Quechua. The book describes what made Bolivia the second poorest country in the Americas and how it disposed of almost 200 presidents in the same number of years. It shows an indigenous, rural economy struggling inventively and sometimes successfully with the global economy--McDonald's (three outlets!) gave up on Bolivia, much better and cheaper food being available from salteï¿½a stands. Bolivians successfully fought American corporate control of their water and gas supplies.
The book is also a history of travellers. Some, like Colonel Percy Fawcett and his quest for the lost mines of the Muribeco, come to Bolivia with impossible dreams. A magnet for adventureseekers, the country's isolation has also attracted those on the run--the "Butcher of Leon" Klaus Barbie, revolutionist Che Guevara and bank robbers Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid all sought haven in Bolivia.
Understanding Bolivia takes over where the rest of the guidebooks end, offering visitors and armchair travellers a fascinating story of rich cultures and colourful characters in a land of extremes.