How Difficult It Is to Be God: Shining Path's Politics of War in Peru, 1980-1999

How Difficult It Is to Be God: Shining Path's Politics of War in Peru, 1980-1999

by Carlos Ivan Degregori
     
 

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The revolutionary war launched by Shining Path, a Maoist insurgency, was the most violent upheaval in modern Peru’s history, claiming some 70,000 lives in the 1980s-1990s and drawing widespread international attention. Yet for many observers, Shining Path’s initial successes were a mystery. What explained its cult-like appeal, and what actually happened

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Overview

The revolutionary war launched by Shining Path, a Maoist insurgency, was the most violent upheaval in modern Peru’s history, claiming some 70,000 lives in the 1980s-1990s and drawing widespread international attention. Yet for many observers, Shining Path’s initial successes were a mystery. What explained its cult-like appeal, and what actually happened inside the Andean communities at war?
    In How Difficult It Is to Be God, Carlos Iván Degregori—the world’s leading expert on Shining Path and the intellectual architect for Peru’s highly regarded Truth and Reconciliation Commission—elucidates the movement’s dynamics. An anthropologist who witnessed Shining Path’s recruitment of militants in the 1970s, Degregori grounds his findings in deep research and fieldwork. He explains not only the ideology and culture of revolution among the insurgents, but also their capacity to extend their influence to university youths, Indian communities, and competing social and political movements.
    Making Degregori’s most important work available to English-language readers for the first time, this translation includes a new introduction by historian Steve J. Stern, who analyzes the author’s achievement, why it matters, and the debates it sparked. For anyone interested in Peru and Latin America’s age of “dirty war,” or in the comparative study of revolutions, Maoism, and human rights, this book will provide arresting new insights.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A towering achievement, the result of more than three decades of research and reflection on the interrelated phenomena of violence, war, culture, politics, and human rights in Peru.”—Carlos Aguirre, University of Oregon

“Without a doubt, Degregori is the key interpreter of the Shining Path movement. This book is his masterpiece.”—Charles Walker, University of California, Davis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299289249
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
11/19/2012
Series:
Critical Human Rights Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
274
Sales rank:
1,238,953
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Carlos Iván Degregori (1945-2011) was a distinguished Peruvian anthropologist at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos and the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos as well as a major public intellectual. Steve J. Stern is the Alberto Flores Galindo and Hilldale Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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