A readable, not-too-scholarly story of a significant moment in South American history.



A solid new history of the Peruvian Indian revolutionary lays out the roots of his rebellion and its bitter legacy.

Historian Walker (Univ. of Cal., Davis; Shaky Colonialism: The 1746 Earthquake-Tsunami in Lima, Peru, and Its Long Aftermath, 2008, etc.) admits that a “torrent of studies” exists on the Tupac Amaru rebellion, although most in Spanish and outdated. His straightforward account looks beyond the death of the rebel leader, on May 18, 1781, barely seven months after the start of the uprising, to the subsequent and bloodier foment led by his cousin Diego Cristobal and others during the next year. Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera (1738–1781) descended from the royal line near Cuzco; his forebear and namesake, Tupac Amaru, was executed by the conquering Spanish in 1572. His royal ancestry proved a galvanizing force to his leadership among the Quechua people, who believed that another Incan chief was destined to reappear. Inheriting the role of kuraka, or indigenous tax collector, from his father, he was a landowner and trader, educated and a speaker of Quechua and Spanish alike; he was well-liked and accepted by all classes. Yet, he was deeply sympathetic to the Indians, crushed under the Spanish taxes. Married to Micaela Bastidas, who was a full partner to Tupac’s enterprises and eventually a proficient logistical leader of the rebellion, Tupac became radicalized after being defeated in the courts. Walker stresses the important role of the church leaders. While Tupac did not present a revolutionary platform, he underscored the injustice of the Spanish administrators and never deviated from his views that he acted on behalf of King Charles III. Ultimately, there was a total crackdown on the indigenous population and near obliteration of its language and culture.

A readable, not-too-scholarly story of a significant moment in South American history.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-674-05825-5

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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