n Latin American Report - The blood of Guatemala : a history of race and nation, Greg Grandin : review essay

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



In recent years, scholars have offered many explanations for Guatemala's four decades of civil war - a war that unleashed some of the most violent and repressive campaigns in Latin American history. Many of these studies look back to the nineteenth century and identify distinct divisions that arose between Indians and Ladinos (non-Indians) during that important period of nation building. Tending either to chronicle the ways in which the liberal Ladino state exploited peasants and workers to build an export-oriented economy or to describe the ways in which Indians resisted this process of modernization, these accounts often cast Ladinos as villains and Indians as victims. But Greg Grandin offers a new interpretation. His study of K'iche' Indian elites cuts across rigid class and ethnic boundaries; it links local and national histories, uncovers both Ladino and Indian forms of nationalism, and helps explain the power structure that ultimately sparked war in Guatemala in the 1950s. is essential reading for Guatemalanists and Latin Americanists alike.

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