Suggested Reading List
A Brief History of Central America
Author: Hector Perez-Brignoll
Description: A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.
A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama
Author: Nova (Director)
Description: This Nova program, narrated by David McCullough (The Path Between the Seas, CAM32), covers the epic 30-year construction of the Panama Canal. With historic film footage, rare archival photographs and commentary.
Culture Smart! Panama
Author: Heloise Crowther
Description: This practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture is concise and well-illustrated.
Emperors in the Jungle, The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama
Author: John Lindsay-Poland
Description: A history and expose of U.S. military adventures and incursions in Panama, from the building of the Panama Canal, to a decades-long Army program of chemical weapons testing, and an analysis of the 1989 invasion.
How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal
Author: Ovidio Diaz Espino
Description: An intriguing look into the treachery, behind-the-scenes financial wrangling and Roosevelt-era dollar diplomacy that resulted in both the Panama Canal and the establishment of Panama as an independent nation.
Latin America in Colonial Times
Author: Matthew Restall
Description: This scholarly primer considers the history of the continent from the arrival of the first Conquistadors in the 16th century to the dying embers of empire 300 years later, giving equal weight to the histories of the colonial rulers, the African slaves brought over to work in the New World and the indigenous groups whose lives and lands were forever changed by conquest.
National Geographic Panama
Author: Christopher Baker
Description: Award-winning travel writer and photographer Christopher Baker introduces the history, nature and attractions of Panama, thoroughly illustrated in National Geographic’s style.
Panama Adventure Map
Author: National Geographic
Description: With natural areas, attractions and two inset maps of Panama City. 1:475,000.
Panama Canal by Cruise Ship
Author: Anne Vipond
Description: This outstanding guide to the Panama Canal and popular ports of call in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America features a mile-by-mile guide to the transit, a history of the building of the canal and a detailed pullout map.
Panama Fever, The Epic History of One of the Greatest Engineering Triumphs of All Time: the Building of the Panama Canal
Author: Matthew Parker
Description: Parker's epic historical adventure shows all the politics, power and bravado of building the fiercely contested route across Central America.
Panama Wildlife Guide
Author: Rainforest Publications
Description: This handy 14-panel fold-up card features expert color illustrations of dozens of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Portrait of the Panama Canal, from Construction to the Twenty-First Century
Author: William Friar
Description: Featuring 60 color and 10 archival images, this photo-essay includes contemporary and archival photographs of the Panama Canal as well as a short history.
Redeemers, Ideas and Power in Latin America
Author: Enrique Krauze
Description: Jose Marti, Octavio Paz, Eva Peron, Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez all get a chapter in this illuminating history of political thought in modern Latin America. 12 thinkers in all.
The Birds of Panama
Author: Robert Dean, George R. Angehr
Description: Created for the field, with range maps, illustrations and descriptions on facing pages.
The Building of the Panama Canal in Historic Photographs
Author: Ulrich Keller
Description: These archival photographs tell the story of the people who built the Panama Canal, the engineers who designed it and the changes wrought on the landscape through its construction.
The Captain and the Enemy
Author: Graham Greene
Description: Graham Greene returns to classic themes of mystery, deceit and espionage in this accomplished short novel, his 23rd and last book, set in Panama.
The Monkey's Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America
Author: David Rains Wallace
Description: Opening this absorbing account of the history and biogeography of the Central American isthmus with the tale of Columbus, Wallace often weaves his own travels in the region with a crisp overview of exploration, nature and evolution. Natural history buffs and ecologically minded travelers will appreciate this valuable resource.
The Path Between the Seas
Author: David McCullough
Description: A great story, admirably told in vivid, page-turning detail, this is the one book to read on the creation of the Panama Canal.
The Tailor of Panama
Author: John Le Carre
Description: Set in Panama, this thriller by master storyteller John Le Carre includes spymasters, corrupt officials, arms manufacturers and other unsavory types.
Author: Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
Description: Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.