Juan David Morgan

Panama up in Flames

Novel, El Ancora Editors, Bogotá, 2003

Reissue of the novel With glowing splendors of Glory by Editorial Grijalbo. Historical novel that tackles the difficult issue of the separation of Panama from Colombia, the conspiracy that preceded and the hasty negotiations over a canal through Panama. Paris, Washington, Panama and Bogotá are joined by a web of conspiracies and ambitions; by an incredible mix of boldness, heroism and treachery and by many characters –some real some fictitious- starring in a history which started to be written almost one hundred years ago and that now is revealed complete and detailed. It is a story full of intrigue and fairytale characters, well told in a genre that the author has mastered and enrich: the historical novel.


“Based on the facts as they occurred, and the thorough biography of the characters involved in the drama, Juan David Morgan has written a historical novel with impeccable literary weight worthy of being among the classics of the genre. Many of the episodes seem a reflection of our contemporary politics, and many of its chapters allow the reader to experience the circumstances of the time and appreciate the role played by its main characters. The figure of President Marroquín, for example, the dapper writer of insipid novels that never realized the abyss that he was leading the republic into, becomes damned for eternity. The sneaky Frenchman Philippe Bunau Varilla, who encouraged and financed the separation acquiring in the process a large personal fortune as a shareholder of the French Canal Company does not fare any better, while Theodore Roosevelt, who since childhood we were taught to view as a vulgar boor, turns out to be a much more complex and visionary man than we imagined. He was a ruthless politician, certainly, but humanity owes him the construction of the first canal between the Atlantic and the Pacific and Panama owes him its status as an independent republic.”

Alfonso López Michelsen  – Former President of the Republic of Colombia. Writer

“Panama up in Flames” is a Galdosian dive where, with proven effectiveness as a novelist Morgan manages to describe and unveil Panama to the eyes of his thousands of Panamanian and Colombian readers and the ones from all America and Spain. It is no wonder then that he had the joyous need in recent times of national celebration, of touring schools and institutions throughout the country warning readers and students that his book is a novel, not the history of a nation that last year celebrated the independence’s centennial despite the occupation of the canal zone by Americans until just over four years ago. “

J.  Armas Marcelo – Writer

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