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Rosa of the Wild Grass, the Story of a Nicaraguan Family is a true story which spans the last fifty years of the life of this small Central American republic. This fascinating and deeply moving personal and family chronicle brings alive the tumult of events in a way no textbook of contemporary politics could achieve.

Rosa and three generations of her family, especially her mother and her daughters, recall life under the Somoza dictatorship and the carnage of the insurrection which ended it; the hopes kindled by the Sandinista Revolution in 1979, and their eclipse by the destruction and cruelty of the Contra War; the subsequent years of neo-liberalism and the retreat from many of the social advances achieved; and the continuing battle to keep alive community spirit at home.


Through the eyes of Rosa and her family, we experience in intimate detail the dramatic years of Nicaragua’s triumphs and travail: the courageous struggle for freedom, the solidarity and idealism, the achievements and excitement about escape from suffering and submission, the cruel and bitter assault from abroad, defeat and betrayal, and still life goes on with its joys and sorrows, and the hope that never dies. A poignant, gripping, sensitive tale. –Noam Chomsky


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Rosa reveals the catholic church both progressive and conservative; evangelical groups; the beliefs in saints, witchcraft, and traditional remedies; literacy and health campaigns, land reform, and trade unions; military service and bereavement in war; unemployment and drug gangs; migration from countryside to city and back again, and abroad to Costa Rica and the US; wide-scale alcoholism and domestic violence; the strength of women’s networking, and their schemes for survival and co-operative ventures; and through it all the vital support of extended families.

Rosa is an excellent resource for students and teachers in the field of Latin America, gender politics, human rights and international development. More than that, it is a wonderful human story that will appeal to readers everywhere.

Rosa of the Wild Grass is dramatically visualized with stark illustrations painted by the author.

It is published by LAB and Practical Action Publishing and is available from Development Bookshop.

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