No Bells to Toll: Destruction and Creation in the Andes

Barbara Bode, Author Scribner Book Company $0 (559p) ISBN 978-0-684-19065-5
On May 31, 1970, an earthquake and avalanche devastated a remote valley in the Peruvian Andes, burying entire villages under mud and ice and killing more than 75,000 people. Sixteen months later, anthropologist Bode, who teaches at the University of Rhode Island, came to the valley for a year to assess how the survivors interpreted the catastrophe and how they were adjusting to current conditions. At the time, both the national government and the Catholic Church were moving toward radical reform; there was also an influx of foreigners to the valley, including evangelical Protestant missionaries. These events had a profound impact on the surviving natives, both mestizos and Indians, who practiced a Catholicism that overlaid ancient religious cultures; they personified inanimate objects and statues of the saints. The author sees the situation as palimpsest: in the aftermath, new ideologies appeared without displacing old beliefs as the survivors attempt to cope with the proposed overhaul--religious and secular--of their lives. Bode has written an engrossing and sympathetic report of people caught in events beyond their control. Photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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