The emphasis on political history in Peru continues apace with the appearance of Ulrich Muecke’s work on the rise of the Partido Civil during the mid-nineteenth-century guano boom. Having endured the turmoil of the military’s failed effort to reform the country in the 1970s and then the vicious insurgency of the Shining Path in the 1980s, a new generation of Peruvianists has turned away from the heavily socioeconomic and Marxist approaches of their predecessors to more traditional political themes in the last decade or so. For example, until the appearance of Carmen McEvoy’s important work on Manuel Pardo (1994), the Civilist Party had been dismissed by earlier historians as little more than a crass “electoral” manipulation by guano-corrupted elites to gain power.

At the same time, since redemocratization in the 1980s and the appearance of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (Verso, 1983), not to mention Samuel P. Huntington’s influential work on...

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