The Tango War by Mary Jo McConahay fills an important gap in WWII history. Beginning in the thirties, both sides were well aware of the need to control not just the hearts and minds but also the resources of Latin America. The fight was often dirty: residents were captured to exchange for U.S. prisoners of war and rival spy networks shadowed each other across the continent. At all times it was a Tango War, in which each side closely shadowed the other’s steps.
McConahay’s extensive reporting background serves her well. She has sought out people from all over the globe — many whose stories have never before been told and whose time for telling them is running out ... McConahay’s vivid descriptions of Latin America... are beautifully complemented with several dozen photos, many from private family collections. The Tango War has the heft of comprehensive history and the drama of a spy novel. McConahay offers plenty of intrigue ... At first it seems like a very slow start, but as this skilled storyteller unfolds the impeccably researched history, the reader begins to understand how these resources and industries were key to Axis and Allies interest in the distant continent ... In this exceptional history, [McConahay] plumbs these intricate moves and rhythms of the Tango War.
Journalist Mary Jo McConahay uncovers this fascinating story in her comprehensive, colorful, and often-troubling new book ... McConahay, a veteran Latin America correspondent, focuses on compelling characters whose ordinary lives are transformed ... As we look forward, McConahay's book gives us insight into the region's intricacies and the disastrous dance moves that belong in the past.
With The Tango War: The Struggle for the Hearts, Minds and Riches of Latin America During World War II, Mary Jo McConahay has produced a riveting account of the region during the war years ... [McConahay's] stories are gripping, especially when she dives deep into little-known waters ... When the author turns her focus onto the postwar years, however, her arguments can feel strained ... In all, Ms. McConahay has produced an enjoyable, well-researched and well-documented book.