|Gotkowitz, Laura. A revolution for our rights: indigenous struggles for land and justice in Bolivia, 1880-1952. Duke University, 2008 (c2007). 398p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780822340492, $84.95; ISBN 9780822340676 pbk, $23.95. Reviewed in 2009feb CHOICE.
In this important and masterful new study, Gotkowitz (Iowa) examines the roots of the 1952 Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR) revolution in Bolivia. Contrary to conventional accounts that focus primarily on the actions of miners, Gotkowitz convincingly demonstrates how rural indigenous peasant movements fundamentally helped shape those events. To illustrate this, she places her study in the context of late-19th-century liberal reforms that were held in tension between including indigenous peoples as citizens of the country and excluding them as barriers to progress. In the 1920s-30s, indigenous leaders known as caciques apoderados played off these tensions as they appealed to both Spanish colonial titles and republican constructs to demand their rights. A more immediate predecessor for the revolution was the 1945 National Indigenous Congress and a 1947 cycle of strikes and political unrest. Gotkowitz persuasively argues that these hidden revolutionary movements for the defense of indigenous rights before the celebrated 1952 MNR revolution forwarded a more radical political agenda. The book concludes with historiographic reflections on how scholars have excluded indigenous peoples from this narrative in favor of emphasizing the actions of more moderate, urban, middle-class MNR leaders. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. -- M. Becker, Truman State University