|How difficult it is to be God: Shining Path's politics of war in Peru, 1980-1999, ed. and introd. by Steve J. Stern; tr. by Nancy Appelbaum et al. Wisconsin, 2012. 250p bibl index afp; ISBN9780299289249 pbk, $29.95; ISBN 9780299289232 e-book, contact publisher for price. Reviewed in 2013may CHOICE.
|Degregori was a Peruvian anthropologist who wrote extensively on the Shining Path guerrilla insurgency before his death in 2011. How Difficult It Is to Be God, a title that Degregori used for several of his publications during his career, is based on a collection of essays published in Spanish in 2010 by the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. Degregori notes the Shining Path's roots among teachers and students in the highland province of Ayacucho and their lack of organic connections with social movements or rural communities, but he does not provide a convincing explanation for how the Shining Path managed to become one of the world's largest and most deadly guerrilla movements. This book is not the best entry point for neophytes to gain an understanding of the Shining Path. Journalist Gustavo Gorriti provides a more accessible survey in The Shining Path: A History of the Millenarian War in Peru (CH, Feb'00, 37-3560). For those seeking a deep understanding of the Shining Path, Degregori's analysis is most usefully read in conjunction with Jaymie Heilman's Before the Shining Path (CH, May'11, 48-5272) and Miguel La Serna's The Corner of the Living (CH, Sep'12, 50-0453). Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- M. Becker, Truman State University
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