Cover of Chimneys in the Desert by Fernando Rocchi
Chimneys in the Desert
Industrialization in Argentina During the Export Boom Years, 1870-1930
Fernando Rocchi


416 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804750127
Ebook ISBN: 9780804767453


Excerpts and More

This book offers new topics and new perspectives on the economic history of Argentina before the 1930 Depression. It focuses on the evolution of early industrialization in a country primarily associated with cattle-ranching and agriculture, and single-mindedly characterized as a case of a successful export economy. Taking an original approach, the book cross-examines traditional economic issues such as production and finances, and new cultural patterns, such as consumption, the role of women, paternalism, and ideology.

The first years of Argentina’s industrialization, from the 1870s to the 1920s, coincided with a time of great innovation, a brisk turn from tradition, and quick modernization. This book shows that industry not only helped Argentina’s economy along, but spearheaded its modernization. It challenges the long-lasting “canonical version” that industry was a victim of a capital market and a state extremely hostile to manufacturing. Access to financing for industrial endeavors was much easier than previously thought, while the state supported industry through tariffs.

About the author

Fernando Rocchi is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina.

"Fernando Rocchi has written a very important, carefully researched, and persuasive account of the missing link in Argentina...This book is a milestone on Argentine history and Latin American historical political economy."

American Historical Review

"Rocchi's exemplary study plays the invaluable role of stimulating a new, more vigorous and more empirically-grounded debate on an old but immensely important subject."

The Americas

"A must for anyone interested in Argentine history and economic development"


"[Rocchi's] work is wide ranging, well written and extremely perceptive. . . . [He] has given us an excellent work that has reshaped our vision of early industrialization in Argentina. . . . Like all good books, this should inspire further research."

"[Rocchi's] work is wide ranging, well written, and highly perceptive...Anyone interested in the problematic history of the Argentine economy will find it a stimulating and convincing work."

The Journal of Economic History

"Chimneys in the Desert is a provocative study destined to become required reading for students of the history of industrial growth and of 'flawed' modernization."

Economic History Review

"I recommend this book to anyone seeking a more detailed examination of Latin America's early industrial experience and to those Argentina aficionados still seeking an explanation of the enigma that is Argentine development."

Journal of Latin American Geography