The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself - by David Bushnell
Diving into the country’s independence, economics, society, and politics, Bushnell examines modern Colombia and how it has defied stereotypes becoming a prosperous nation. If you want to embark on your trip informed of the country’s history and culture, start here. While published in the early 90s, this is considered by many to be the most digestible and comprehensive history of Colombia.
Bolivar, American Liberator - by Marie Arana
An in-depth and novel-like read, this biography of Simon Bolivar, El Libertador, leaves no stone unturned. An epic story, Bolivar’s life is a sweeping tale of travels in the Amazon and Andes, personal heartbreaks and triumphs, the freeing of six countries from the Spanish.
Music, Race, and Nation: Musica Tropical in Colombia - by Peter Wade
Not your typical guidebook, discover Colombia through the rhythm of its music. Cumbia, porro, and vallenato—the music is irresistibly danceable. Wade’s book examines how the country’s people, and often the most marginalized groups within the population, express issues of race, economics, politics, sexuality, cultural history, and progress.