The collision of peoples and cultures –Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans – defines Latin America. This is the central theme of Marshall Eakin’s The History of Latin America: Collision of Cultures (St Martin’s Press, 2007), a concise history of Central and South America that will be the focus of our study group. In the book, Eakin, a professor of Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University, tells the story of the birth and emergence of Latin American civilizations from their pre-Columbian roots through the twenty-first century in less than 500 pages. After dealing briefly with the geography and indigenous civilizations of the region, the author discusses Spanish and Portuguese conquest, importation of African slave labor, building of new empires and societies, the struggle for independence, and the problems of democracy, development and identity. Join us in learning about Latin America in order to gain an understanding of why the region and its peoples are so compelling, complex and important.