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The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers) Paperback – December 14, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: The Latin America Readers
  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; Second Edition, Revised edition (December 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822336499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822336495
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A livelier, more literate introduction to a foreign world could not be hoped for. A Peruvian trove, indeed; so much that one hardly knows where to begin dipping into its treasures.”—Alma Guillermoprieto, author of Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution


“This is an extremely deep, broad, and insightful collection on Peru.”—Jorge Castañeda, author of Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War and former Foreign Minister of Mexico

About the Author

Orin Starn is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of Ishi’s Brain: In Search of America’s Last “Wild” Indian and Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes, also published by Duke University Press.

Carlos Iván Degregori is Professor of Anthropology at the National University of San Marcos in Lima. He served on Peru’s government-appointed Truth and Reconciliation Commission and has written dozens of books and articles about Peru.

Robin Kirk is Co-director of the Human Rights Initiative at Duke University. She is the author of More Terrible Than Death: Massacres, Drugs, and America’s War in Colombia and The Monkey's Paw: New Chronicles from Peru.


More About the Author

Orin Starn is an anthropologist, writer, and occasional journalist. Early in his career he worked for many years in Peru, and is lead editor of the popular "The Peru Reader" as well authoring his own book "Nightwatch" about Andean village organizing. Starn, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, also wrote the award-winning "Ishi's Brain" about the life and legend of the last survivor of California's Yahi tribe. More recently, Starn has written and taught about sports and society. His newest book, "The Passion of Tiger Woods," examines the superstar golfer's place in American society and culture. Starn is also the co-editor of "Indigenous Experience Today" about the history and politics of indigenous rights organizing. His op-ed pieces have run in the Los Angeles Times, Chronicle of Higher Education and other newspapers, and he has appeared on NPR, ESPN and numerous other radio and tv programs. Starn is currently professor and chair of the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, where he has won the university's highest undergraduate teaching award. He lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I took this book to Peru on a trip to see the great archeological sites.
C. ross
Excellent selections that give the reader a comprehensive overview of the fascinating country of Peru.
Chaska
On the contrary, it answered ALL of my questions and left me asking and wanting to read more.
J. Rodina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Perhaps this book's overwhelming for a newcomer. But, if you have a basic knowledge of Peru already, this over 500-page collection of stories, chapters from academic books, poems, folktales, political reportage, popular journalism and interviews, and historical and anthropological coverage satisfies the need in English for a comprehensive starter for further research and reading on many topics.

Organised into chronological order, sections progress from pre-Inca, Inca, Conquest, Post-Conquest, Colonial and Republican periods into the 19c. These intersperse scholarly investigations with narratives. Then, politics, the Shining Path, the drug wars, the urban squatters turning land into new communities, activists among the feminist, evangelical, and gay communities, liberation theology and local leadership, and life among both villages and in Lima add chapters that comprise about half of the total text.

Most rewarding for me were the chronicles by the Incas after the Conquest, John Hemming's chapter on Atahualpa and Pizarro, folktales bookending the text from early and Amazon peoples, Steve J. Stern's analysis of post-Conquest creolisation and its discontents, Manuel Cordova's tale of life a century ago after he was abducted by Amazon indians, and the fascinating account by Catherine J. Allen from her The Hold Life Has all about coca-leaf ritual bonding. Anyone who associates coca only with cola or crack might learn a lot from this anthropological description of how chemicals sustain fellowship, and also force gatherings to acknowledge etiquette and social class distinctions--even under the influence!

The literary offerings, poems, novel excerpts, and stories, are less intriguing, but worthwhile.
Read more ›
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By C. ross on June 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I took this book to Peru on a trip to see the great archeological sites. I was blown awqy by the information I got from this book. Not only was I informed on so many topics but introduced to several brilliant Peruvian authors. The book was so strong I wept deeply over the history of the native peoples, I was amazed at the strength to survive under the most difficult political and cultural situations. The book was so well written that all the history and politics, not my usual reading, soaked in painlesssly, actually joyfully. I wish there were such a great book to take on every trip I go on, it enhanced my trip a million times over.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By F. Sparks on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
What a wonderfully literate collection of writings which give the traveler (actual or armchair) both the information and flavor he needs to introduce him to this complex country. I started too close to my departure for Peru to read every word, but found myself unable to decide what to skip. What seemed a boring topic turned out to be fascinating! So, start early -- the book is pretty bulky to carry on your trip.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth E. Painter Jr. on October 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for the history of Peru. The chronological order is perfect. All the essays are wonderful to read. I think I learned more about Peru with this book than any other.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Rodina on November 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Five stars for this book. After I returned from a six week trip to Peru, I was perplexed, astonished, and intrigued by so much that I saw and experienced there. I bought this book hoping it would answer some of my questions. On the contrary, it answered ALL of my questions and left me asking and wanting to read more. What a fascinating country and culture! I was a Latin American Studies major in college, and I learned an incredible amount from this book. I wouldn't recommend taking this book on your trip with you (it's quite large and heavy), but it would be a great intro to the country you're about to visit, or when you're back home missing your vacation, a great resource to dip into to remember and learn more about Peru. As another reviewer mentioned, I too wish there was such a book like this for every country I travel to! I will be reading this book again, and I highly recommend it to those who will be traveling to Peru, or to those armchair travelers who have an interest in Latin America.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.P. Franks on September 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
Really good collection of a variety of excerpts from some interesting books. A lot of good poetry too; like Osman Morote's "A Frightening Thirst for Violence":

"The dictator
shifts his gaze
and a rose
acclaimed as fragrant
falls, in a slice,
from just one
beheading

The dictator
swivels his hands
and
one worker
falls, the wife of a
worker
falls, the children of a
worker
fall

Oh!
what a frightening thirst
for vengeance
devours me"

Morote became the second-in-command in the Shining Path, which the book treats even-handedly, except it does tend to leave out sufficient details of the kind of daily suffering due to exploitation and inequality that led people like Morote to sacrifice his life. The book does include testimony from a government soldier, casually discussing his rapes, murders and tortures, and mentions that during the war, far more people were killed by the government than by the rebels. Some surprise.

The best instance of a description of the kind of reality people lived in - terribly far away from the wealth and comfort of rich countries - that would explain a bit about why people would give up their lives in the Shining Path or the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement to create a better society: another poem, an excerpt from "The Battle of Ayacucho" by Antonio Cisneros, which strips of glory the decisive battle that won Peru independence from Spain:

"...
From a Mother
again

My sons and the rest of the dead still
belong to the owner of the horses
and the owner of the lands, and the battles.
A few apple trees grow among their bones
and the tough gorse. That's how they fertilize
this dark tilled land,
That's how they serve the owner
of war, hunger, and the horses."
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