Monday, June 26, 2017

the last book I ever read (Evita, First Lady: A Biography of Eva Perón, excerpt one)

from Evita, First Lady: A Biography of Eva Perón by John Barnes:

Life was rough for Juana Ibarguren for the next couple of years. Juan Duarte had been her sole means of support. All that he left her was a legal declaration that her children were his – in order for them to be able to bear his name. So, in order to pay the rent for her tiny one-room house, she and the girls hired themselves out as cooks in the home of the local estancias. It was then that Eva got her first close look at the rich, powerful families who controlled Argentina through the wealth generated by their ownership of the land. In Buenos Aires Province, which includes Los Toldos and is the largest of the pampas provinces, 15 families owned a million acres of land each. Another 50 families owned 50,000 acres. The estancias where Eva often worked existed virtually as independent mini-kingdoms. They had their own schools, chapels and hospitals. The estanciero families would divide their year between Paris and Buenos Aires, visiting the estancia usually at Christmas-time, at the start of the long, hot Argentine summer. Their journey to and from their nearest pampas railway station was, more often than not, their only connection with the tiny pueblos that had grown up around the stations that the British-owned railways had built to serve the estancias. For Eva, helping out in the kitchens, it was a world to be gawked at as a child – the crowds of guests and children, the nannies, governesses and major domos, and the patron, wearing the inevitable, expensive imitation of the clothes that the impoverished gauchos wore on the plains.

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