Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans

David Stoll, Author Westview Press $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8133-3574-2
Stoll (Is Latin American Turning Protestant?) has written a revisionist biography of a Guatemalan woman canonized and, according to Stoll, ultimately misunderstood by the academic and political left. He tries to replace what he believes to be the prevailing romantic image of Guatemalan rebellion with something that comes much closer to the murky, morally shaded truth. In 1982, I, Rigoberta Menchu, the autobiography of a Mayan peasant woman, catapulted its author onto the international stage. In 1992, on the symbolically loaded 500th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the New World, Rigoberta Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize. Stoll challenges major and minor aspects of Menchu's book, using interviews, conducted over a nine-year period, with soldiers, guerrillas and survivors of violence from Menchu's hometown and surrounding region. Painstakingly delineating the complex cultural and political landscape of Guatemala, Stoll refutes Menchu's ""simplified"" account of land-poor Mayans taking up arms against wealthy landowners, painting instead a picture of peasants--both indigenas and ladinos--who wish only to be left alone but are caught between guerrilla and government armies. Arguing that Menchu's book mythologizes the experience of poor Guatemalans, Stoll explores the implications of such a sentimental view for academia, solidarity activists and Guatemalans themselves. His generally supportive attitude toward the peasants' cause and his denunciation of the army's terror makes his book all the more convincing. This is provocative reading that's sure to shake up assumptions--and rile tempers--across the political spectrum. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-8133-3694-7
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.