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The Rope Swing

Stephen C. Cote 

December 2016
PB 978-1-943665-47-1
epub 978-1-943665-48-8
PDF 978-1-943665-49-5



Oil and Nation places petroleum at the center of Bolivia’s contentious twentieth-century history. Bolivia’s oil, Cote argues, instigated the largest war in Latin America in the 1900s, provoked the first nationalization of a major foreign company by a Latin American state, and shaped both the course and the consequences of Bolivia’s transformative National Revolution of 1952. Oil and natural gas continue to steer the country under the government of Evo Morales, who renationalized hydrocarbons in 2006 and has used revenues from the sector to reduce poverty and increase infrastructure development in South America’s poorest country.

The book advances chronologically from Bolivia’s earliest petroleum pioneers in the nineteenth century until the present, inserting oil into historical debates about Bolivian ethnic, racial, and environmental issues, and within development strategies by different administrations. While Bolivia is best known for its tin mining, Oil and Nation makes the case that nationalist reformers viewed hydrocarbons and the state oil company as a way to modernize the country away from the tin monoculture and its powerful backers and toward an oil-powered future.



1. Discovery

2. Standard Oil and Eastern Bolivia   

3. Oil and the Chaco War

4. Oil and Nation

5. Oil and the Revolutionary State

6. Fall and Rise of the Oil State





Stephen Cote obtained his PhD in Latin American history from the University of California, Davis, in 2011. He has taught history at Ohio University and Western Washington University, and he is currently employed by the National Park Service. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. 


"There is nothing like this book at all in English, so it will be a wonderful addition to the literature. It is well researched and documented, and the style makes for a comfortable read for undergraduates and an interested non-academic public too."
Myrna Santiago, author of The Ecology of Oil: Environment, Labor, and the Mexican Revolution, 19001938