Eduardo Galeano is determined to forget that history is usually written by the victors.
He favours the voiceless and the vulnerable. "Mirrors" is a narrative history of the world that condenses into its fragments radically altered visions of the landmark events on this earth, and of the landmark individuals who pass history from hand to hand in the official guidebooks.
Yes, it is a book for the young utopian, or the utopian remnant left in all of us, but it is so outrageously bold, skilfully dramatic and ingeniously clever, refracting as it does any number of memorable characters and events through Galeano's lens, that even the exhausted ex-communist or cardboard-conservative reader might be amused, challenged or overturned by it.
It is another kind of history writing altogether, reliant on the fireside storyteller's skills, but grounded in an unimpeachably wide and broad reading and understanding of events. "What Memory of Fire", Galeano's legendary interpretation of all of South American history, did for that one continent Mirrors does for the entire history of our sorry, sparkling planet.