Kevin O’Neill, author of recently released Secure the Soul: Christian Piety and Gang Prevention in Guatemala, spoke to Alejandra Bronfman on the New Books in Latin American Studies podcast last week.

New Books in Latin American Studies is part of the New Books Network, a collection of podcasts hosted by the Amherst College Library dedicated to public discourse and the discussion of new books by their authors.

Listen to the full interview here or on the New Books Network’s website, which also features Alejandra’s full review of the book.

9780520278493-1In their in-depth conversation, Kevin O’Neill touches upon a number of topics, from his path to the field of anthropology and his his research in Guatemala to his thoughts on the larger relationship between Christian institutions and gang violence and the role of “Mateo” as presented in his book.

“This is a finely hewn multi-sited ethnography as well as a moving account of the life of a single former gang member,” says Alejandra Bronfman on Secure the Soul. “At its core is a tension between the critique of programs that range from the absurd to the tragic, and a recognition that without those programs, former gang members in Guatemala would be relegated to the barest of bare lives.”