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I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala Paperback – January 12, 2010
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“A moving account of gruesome repression, gut-wrenching poverty and vicious racism ... A call to conscience.”—Nation
“A fascinating and moving description of the culture of an entire people.”—Times (London)
“A cornerstone of the multicultural canon.”—Chronicle of Higher Education
“An extraordinary document.”—Francis Sejersted, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
Text: English, Spanish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I read this for one of my college classes at Princeton and I just discussed this book at my book club.
Another thing to consider is the genre that this book falls in. It is not a memoir or an autobiography. It falls under the category of latin american literature known as tesimonio. This differs from the direct translation of testimony. I recommend readers do some research on the politics of testimonio and whether or not all that is said is needed to be true.
It is a great book to start a conversation on the politics of ethnicity and whether books like these are needed to be entirely truthful or factual!
Though written in memoir form, it is actually compiled from a series of intensive interviews conducted by Elizabeth Burgos-Debray over a one week period in 1982. As a tour of Quiche Maya culture it's of serious anthropological interest (Menchu describes some of the ceremonies and rituals of her people, as well as the hardships of daily life). As a description of political conflict and poverty, it's a sobering reflection-- the amount of pain Menchu and her people endure is beyond belief. Torture, forced disappearances, military raids, unjust eviction and racism become common occurrences.
While some have dismissed the work due to certain inconsistencies present in Menchu's testimony revealed by anthropologist David Stoll, it's clear that these are relatively minor (for example, Menchu's brother was indeed tortured and murdered by the military, but it turns out she didn't witness it directly as she recounts in the book).
I give it 5 stars for being a readable, truthful account of an important and difficult life. It would be a more accurate read if Burgos-Debray had left it in question-answer interview format, but it would also be less readable. Check it out, you'll learn a lot!
This is a powerful, moving recounting of the events that happened to Rigoberta Menchu and the other natives in Guatemala during the late 20th century.