They rode white horses

Peter Canby

  • Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru by Kimberly Theidon
    Pennsylvania, 461 pp, £49.00, November 2012, ISBN 978 0 8122 4450 2

Kimberly Theidon is an example of a new breed of anthropologist, one bearing some resemblance to a political activist. Her book is part of a series of studies in human rights but one of the blurbs on the jacket calls it an ethnography. Its subject is the process of reconciliation that followed a failed, exceptionally violent uprising by Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, a Maoist group founded by a provincial philosophy professor in Peru called Abimael Guzmán, who hoped, as Theidon puts it, to ‘mobilise the peasantry, surround the cities, and strangle the urbanised coast into submission’.

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