Costa Rica is unique among Latin American cultures. Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, have a higher standard of living than their neighbors, with a higher literacy rate, a well-developed social security system, widespread access to electrical power, and a traditional system of education. Much more than a land of coffee and bananas, Costa Rica boasts more teachers than soldiers--it has even abolished its army. This book is divided into 11 chapters covering history, government and politics, the economy, the family, education, and religion. The authors draw on their experiences in the country, interviews with people from all walks of Costa Rican life, and secondary sources. The result is a solid monograph on Costa Rica that points out the contradictions in its perception by the rest of the world. The conclusions dwell on Costa Ricans' distrust of changes that await the country in future decades. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries that collect in the history and culture of our neighbors to the South.--Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., AL
The authors trace the evolution of Costa Rican culture and institutions from pre-Columbian times through the late 1990s. Particularly concerned with the change wrought by the economic crisis of the 1980s, they base their portrayal on interviews with Costa Ricans; observations of many facets--from coffee plantation work to the deliberations of the Legislature; and readings of journalists, essayists, poets, historians, and others. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.