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February 28, 2001

Modernization in Colombia: The Laureano Gomez Years, 1889-1965, a new book by James Henderson, professor of international studies at Coastal Carolina University, traces the social and economic development of Colombia during the era of controversial political leader Laureano Gomez. The book, published by the University Press of Florida, will be issued in March 2001.

Analyzing the complex process of development in Colombia, Henderson explores the civil violence that defined the Gomez era even as the country experienced unparalleled economic growth.

"Few Colombians can speak calmly of Gomez, and many blame him for the violence that plagued the country from the mid-1940s to the mid- 1960s," says Henderson, a leading scholar of Latin American history and culture. "But he was an adroit politician and the key figure in Colombia's transition to modernity."

Henderson explores the myths surrounding the long and turbulent career of the combative Conservative leader, offering an analysis of his writings, speeches, congressional debates and editorials. Henderson also chronicles the fierce rivalry between G�mez and his Liberal opponent Alfonso L�pez Pumarejo, which ultimately led to the fratricidal civil war known as La Violencia.

Henderson joined the Coastal faculty in 1986. He earned a bachelor�s degree in history from Centenary College of Louisiana, a master�s degree in history from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Texas Christian University. Before coming to Coastal, Henderson was a faculty member at Grambling State University in Louisiana. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and has written numerous books and scholarly articles on Latin American history and culture, including A Reference Guide to Latin American History.