Galeano is a Uruguayan journalist/writer who has written a magesterial three-volume expansion on this book since it was published in 1970. It is really a jarring read, especially if you're not familiar with how badly Latin America has been exploited by first Spain and Portugal, then the British Empire, and then the United States. Galeano is particularly critical of the imperial forces beyond the shores of Latin American that have bled it dry for 500 years, but he's also sharply critical of the "national bourgeoisie" of the independent nations of Latin America who allowed the ongoing exploitation at the expense of their poor, rural, and indigenous peoples. He also lays bare the workings of power and money that underlie the endemic poverty and violence of the continent. The book is simultaneously polemic, history, social science, and poetry (on that last point, I do wish I could read Spanish, because my feeling from reading this is that it must be stunning in Spanish). This really whet my appetite to learn more about Latin American history.