The Shining Path: A History of the Millenarian War in Peru / Edition 1

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First published in Peru in 1990, The Shining Path was immediately hailed as one of the finest works on the insurgency that plagued that nation for over fifteen years. A richly detailed and absorbing account, it covers the dramatic years between the guerrillas' opening attack in 1980 and President Fernando Belaunde's reluctant decision to send in the military to contain the growing rebellion in late 1982. Covering the strategy, actions, successes, and setbacks of both the government and the rebels, the book shows how the tightly organized insurgency forced itself upon an unwilling society just after the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic regime.
One of Peru's most distinguished journalists, Gustavo Gorriti first covered the Shining Path movement for the leading Peruvian newsweekly, Caretas. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and an impressive array of government and Shining Path documents, he weaves his careful research into a vivid portrait of the now-jailed Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman, Belaunde and his generals, and the unfolding drama of the fiercest war fought on Peruvian soil since the Chilean invasion a century before.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Gorriti skillfully relates the story of Sendero members, victims, and targets, weaving together a coherent description of the movement.

Latin American Research Review

One of the most informative accounts of the first phase of the insurrection launched by the Partido Comunista del Perú .

Latin American Studies

Provides a brilliant indictment of the ineffective and corrupt police and intelligence services.

Times Literary Supplement

Gorriti's classic account of the Sendero Luminoso retains all its immediacy and explanatory power in this fine translation.

Foreign Affairs

Gorriti reminds us of the forceful impact of serious investigative reporting and the risk journalists face to reveal the truth.

José Miguel Vivanco, executive director, Americas division, Human Rights Watch

Philip Bennett
One of the pioneering works of Latin American investigative journalism....Endures not just as the essential history of the origins of Shining Path...but as an act of moral courage. -- Washington Post
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Product Details

Meet the Author

In addition to his work for Caretas, Gustavo Gorriti has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times. Currently, he is deputy editor of Panama's La Prensa. Robin Kirk is author of The Monkey's Paw: New Chronicles from Peru and coeditor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics.

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Table of Contents


Introduction by Robin Kirk
Preface to the English Edition
The Arrest
1. Return to Democracy
2. Chuschi
3. Mohammed, Mao, Macbeth
4. Expectations and the Transfer of Power
5. The Vanished Files
6. The Dogs of War
7. Guerrillas
8. The Quota
9. To Capture Weapons and Means
10. New Democracy
11. Tambo
12. The Emergency
13. Illusions
14. A City Dominated: A Blow Is Struck in Ayacucho
15. Let Us Develop the Guerrilla War
16. The Offer of Asylum to Guzmán
17. The Colloquium of the Blind: The Intelligence War
18. The Fall of Vilcashuamán
19. Party Military Thought
20. The Siege of Ayacucho


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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2001

    Just amazing

    Forget all the preconceptions and hearsay you think you know about communist insurgencies. This book is an incredible humanistic and realistic relation of a turbulent opening to a total war. The book is highly readable and relentlessly interesting. Very highly recommended

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