The Insurrection mounted by the Sendero Luminoso or ‘Shining Path’ guerrilla movement, sparked one of the most vicious civil wars in recent Latin American history, in which an estimated 69,000 people lost their lives. A high proportion of the victims comprised rural people from Peru’s Andean mountains. Shining Path: Guerrilla War in Peru’s Northern Highlands examines the origins and trajectory of the conflict in the Cajabamba-Huamachuco region, located in the country’s northern sierra, a hitherto ignored theatre of conflict in Peru’s recent civil war. Central to the book is the changing relations between guerrilla fighters and the rural population. How, and to what extent, did the Shining Path succeed in building popular support? What tensions arose between the rebels and the civilians? The book also surveys the literature on Shining Path dealing with the Ayacucho and other departments, comparing and contrasting developments elsewhere in the north. Taylor traces the area’s recent agrarian history, assessing the impact of land reform and the emergence of radical peasant organizations in the decade preceding the initiation of armed activity. Using interview data and reports drafted by the security forces, Taylor reveals the the state responses to this violent and bloody insurrection. Expertly written and extremely accessible, Shining Path: Guerrilla War in Peru’s Northern Highlands provides a comprehensive analysis of a tragically ignored chapter in Peru’s civil war.
I found Shining Path excellent, I love the historical sweep of things….By giving us the story of northern Peru, Taylor has added a whole other dimension and level of understanding to what we know about the violence….Beautifully written, authoritative, and persuasive all along the way.
Taylor's book is an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of the Shining Path. Taylor seamlessly integrates his insights about the characteristics of the Shining Path's trajectory that are specific to the northern highlands with the nature of the movement as a whole. Based on both decades of research in the northern highlands and a thoughtful review of many studies of the insurgency, this jargon-free, lucid and compelling work provides both an excellent introduction to the Shining Path for students and the general public, and important new insights for specialists.
... Taylor's book is a must read for those interested in the Shining Path and its historiography. It is also an important work for those interested in Peruvian political, peasant struggles, and the micro and macro processes of revolution.
American Historical Review
This book is suffused with a deep understanding of the roots of guerrilla insurgency. It is clear, articulate, fluent, confident The narrative is lively, the analysis subtle and sophisticated. It is a pleasure to read and should have the widest possible readership.
Development and Change