The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics / Edition 2 by Orin Starn

The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics / Edition 2 by Orin Starn

Sixteenth-century Spanish soldiers described it as a land filled with gold and silver, a land of untold wealth. To the Europeans who heard these stories it was a...

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The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics / Edition 2

Sixteenth-century Spanish soldiers described it as a land filled with gold and silver, a land of untold wealth. To the Europeans who heard these stories it was a place of tantalizing mystery that mirrored dreams and desires unsatisfied by the Old World. Nineteenth-century travelers wrote of soaring Andean peaks plunging into luxuriant Amazonian canyons of orchids, pythons, and jaguars. Early twentieth-century adventurer Hiram Bingham told of the raging rivers and the wild jungles he traversed on his way to "discover" the "Lost City of the Incas," Machu Picchu. The richest treasures, the bloodiest conquest, the most poignant ballads, the most violent revolutionaries—all have been attributed to Peru.

Unparalleled in its scope, comprehensive, and written for the traveler and specialist alike, The Peru Reader offers a deeper understanding of the country that lies behind these images. Beginning with extensive historical material on topics ranging from Peru’s extraordinary pre-Columbian civilizations, through the Spanish conquest, to colonial and postcolonial rule, it weaves together a vast array of essays, folklore, historical documents, poetry, songs, short stories, autobiographical accounts, and photographs about this largest of the Andean nations. Works by contemporary Peruvian intellectuals and politicians, many translated for the first time, are presented here. The voices of the country’s often silenced underclass—peasants, street vendors, maids, Amazonian Indians, African-Peruvians—will also be found in this richly textured anthology. Blending together with the best of Western journalism and scholarship, these voices also address matters of contemporary Peruvian culture and politics such as the Maoist insurgency of the Shining Path, the cocaine economy, and the ongoing struggle for dignity and justice in a multicultural nation where Andean, African, Amazonian, and European traditions meet.

Unique among books on Latin America, intellectually ambitious, but with appeal to a wide readership, The Peru Reader provides an in-depth look at the history and cultural complexity of this Latin American nation.

About the Authors:
Orin Starn is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University.

Carlos Ivan Degregori is Director of the Institute of Peruvian Studies and Professor at the National University of San Marcos, Lima.

Robin Kirk is Research Associate at Human Rights Watch -Americas and a contributing journalist to The Boston Globe, Ms., The Nation, The Progressive, and other periodicals.