|Andean tragedy: fighting the War of the Pacific, 1879-1884. Nebraska, 2007. 442p bibl index afp ISBN 0-8032-4334-0, $60.00; ISBN 9780803243347, $60.00. Reviewed in 2008may CHOICE.
|The War of the Pacific is one of South America's bloodiest international conflicts. For five years in the late 19th century, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile fought over their shared border. Similar to WW I, it began almost by accident and resulted in more death and destruction than resolution of underlying political issues. Chile walked away from the war with rich nitrate mines in the northern Atacama dessert, and Bolivia lost its outlet to the sea (which remains a festering nationalist issue for the country). Unfortunately, most of the book is written as a very traditional military history with detailed examinations of naval and military campaigns, but with very little discussion of the war's social and political consequences. For example, Sater (emer., California State Univ., Long Beach) fails to engage Heraclio Bonilla and Florencia Mallon's debate from the 1980s as to whether Peruvian peasant resistance to the Chilean invasion represented a nationalist movement. One notable exception is a brief but tantalizing examination of rabonas and vivanderas, women who, similar to soldaderas in the Mexican revolution, followed soldiers and provided logistical support to a premodern fighting force. More appropriate for the History Book Club than a university library. Summing Up: Optional. Public libraries. -- M. Becker, Truman State University
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