This fascinating book is the result of the collaboration between Canadian historian Jaymie Patricia Heilman and Peruvian peasant activist Manuel Llamojha Mitma (1921–2016). Heilman ably weaves together various genres, including Llamojha’s recollections, documents that he wrote, and comments from other contemporary actors, into a testimonial biography. Heilman acknowledges her privileged position in the process of interviewing Llamojha, while convincingly arguing that he had power in defining the topics of their conversations. The book is a welcome addition to the literature on the lives of non-elite political activists in Peru. It is also an inspiring testament to Llamojha’s lifetime dedication to militancy. Heilman demonstrates the centrality of writing for state building, peasant political agency, and individual self-representation in the twentieth-century Andes.

Organized in chronological fashion, the book evidences that state practices, as well as absences, have framed the lives and experiences of rural...

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