On October 3, 1968, a military junta led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado took over the government of Peru. In striking contrast to the right-wing, pro–United States/anti-Communist military dictatorships of that era, however, Velasco’s “Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces” set in motion a left-leaning nationalist project aimed at radically transforming Peruvian society by eliminating social injustice, breaking the cycle of foreign domination, redistributing land and wealth, and placing the destiny of Peruvians into their own hands. Although short-lived, the Velasco regime did indeed have a transformative effect on Peru, the meaning and legacy of which are still subjects of intense debate.
The Peculiar Revolution revisits this fascinating and idiosyncratic period of Latin American history. The book is organized into three sections that examine the era’s cultural politics, including not just developments directed by the Velasco regime but also those that it engendered but did not necessarily control; its specific policies and key institutions; and the local and regional dimensions of the social reforms it promoted. In a series of innovative chapters written by both prominent and rising historians, this volume illuminates the cultural dimensions of the revolutionary project and its legacies, the impact of structural reforms at the local level (including previously understudied areas of the country such as Piura, Chimbote, and the Amazonia), and the effects of state policies on ordinary citizens and labor and peasant organizations.
This new edited volume by Aguirre and Pinot, twenty-five years after the last debate about the Velsaco years, is...very welcome...this study brings into view new and hitherto unexplored aspects and also shifts the focus from the national to the regional and the local, certainly a quality of the book.
This is a book that we have long needed on a regime and period in Peru's recent past that has largely faded from popular memory, been erased from official recognition, and gone mostly ignored in recent scholarship...impeccable scholarship and clear, accessible writing.
[A] rich multidisciplinary symposium.
This is a broad, original and engaging volume which holds important lessons not only for students of Peruvian history or Latin American's military regimes, but also for those interested in radical politics more widely.
This book provides a useful guide to both the classic and more recent literature on [the Peruvian reformist military regime of 1968-75].
A worthy addition to one's library on Peru and military regimes.
The Peculiar Revolution is an excellent work that provides a nuanced and detailed study of Velasco’s revolution and its legacies...The text offers a valuable and insightful perspective on Velasco’s wild experiment that should inform our teaching and consideration of the Cold War well beyond Peru.
Expertly edited by two of the leading historians of Peru, this is a book of signal importance that will become the indispensable source on the 1968 Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces.
A very significant contribution. All the chapters add a great deal to scholarly knowledge of the Velasco government and Peru in the 1960s and 1970s, and many break entirely new ground.
Carlos Aguirre is a professor of history at the University of Oregon. He is the author of The Criminals of Lima and Their Worlds and other books on the history of crime, punishment, slavery, and intellectuals.
Paulo Drinot is a senior lecturer in Latin American history at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. He is the author of The Allure of Labor: Workers, Race, and the Making of the Peruvian State.
- Introduction (Carlos Aguirre and Paulo Drinot)
- Part I. Symbols, Icons, and Contested Memories: Cultural Approaches to the Peruvian Revolution
- 1. The Second Liberation? Military Nationalism and the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of Peruvian Independence, 1821–1971 (Carlos Aguirre)
- 2. The General and His Rebel: Juan Velasco Alvarado and the Reinvention of Túpac Amaru II (Charles F. Walker)
- 3. Who Drove the Revolution’s Hearse? The Funeral of Juan Velasco Alvarado (Adrián Lerner)
- 4. Remembering Velasco: Contested Memories of the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces (Paulo Drinot)
- Part II. Teachers, Peasants, Generals: Military Nationalism and Its Agents
- 5. Politicizing Education: The 1972 Reform in Peru (Patricia Oliart)
- 6. Through Fire and Blood: The Peruvian Peasant Confederation and the Velasco Regime (Jaymie Patricia Heilman)
- 7. Velasco, Nationalist Rhetoric, and Military Culture in Cold War Peru (Lourdes Hurtado)
- 8. Velasco and the Military: The Politics of Decline, 1973–1975 (George Philip)
- Part III. Decentering the Revolution: Regional Approaches to Velasco’s Peru
- 9. Promoting the Revolution: SINAMOS in Three Different Regions of Peru (Anna Cant)
- 10. Watering the Desert, Feeding the Revolution: Velasco’s Influence on Water Law and Agriculture on Peru’s North-Central Coast (Chavimochic) (Mark Carey)
- 11. Chimbotazo: The Peruvian Revolution and Labor in Chimbote, 1968–1973 (Nathan Clarke)
- 12. Generals, Hotels, and Hippies: Velasco-Era Tourism Development and Conflict in Cuzco (Mark Rice)
- 13. From Repression to Revolution: Velasquismo in Amazonia, 1968–1975 (Stefano Varese)
- Notes on the Contributors
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