Meat from Argentina: The History of a National Industry

A.L. Lloyd savours modern Argentina, “a civilization of horses, cattle and leather”.

"Now, I wonder what impression that must leave on the Argentinian, the simple act of fixing his eyes on the horizon and seeing ... and seeing nothing.”

Sarmiento was writing, in exile, a biography of the murderous gaucho leader Facundo Quiroga, the Tiger of the Plains. At the time, fourteen small cities, each the capital of a province, stood scattered here and there on the vast disc of the Argentine landscape. Otherwise, emptiness, anarchy, sudden death. To such a decent Liberal as Sarmiento, no more dreadful vision could be imagined than that of the immensity of the pampa sky with a single rider under it, bearded and scarred, huddled in his poncho, with his huge knife thrust diagonally in the back of his belt, and the tattered red rag of a Rosas banner in his shirt bosom. In the limitless void of the plains there was horror and savagery, a ghastly indifference to life or death, love or hatred, victory or defeat. It seemed that Argentina’s tragedy was its vastness.

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