Robert Karl's new book is a significant achievement. This fine-grained political history demonstrates that Colombia's multiple chronologies of violence can only be understood by attending first to the regional. His final chapter is particularly compelling and will be required reading for anyone seeking to decipher the origins of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

Across chronologically ordered chapters, his maps and clear descriptions of Gran Tolima's varied terrain anchor readers' growing sense of the entwining paths taken and not taken. At the heart of Forgotten Peace is Karl's contention that 1958–62 was a high point for national and regional attempts at peacemaking. He focuses on strategies that were wholly Colombian in their conception and rollout (in contrast to the internationally brokered peace deals with which later generations of Latin Americans became familiar). These included loans for ex-combatants, education funding, and infrastructure...

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