The Insurrection mounted by the Sendero Luminoso or `Shining Path' guerrilla movement, sparked one of the most vicious civil wars in recent Latin American history, in which an estimated 69,000 people lost their lives. A high proportion of the victims comprised rural people from Peru's Andean mountains. Shining Path: Guerrilla War in Peru's Northern Highlands examines the origins and trajectory of the conflict in the Cajabamba-Huamachuco region, located in the country's northern sierra, a hitherto ignored theatre of conflict in Peru's recent civil war. Central to the book is the changing relations between guerrilla fighters and the rural population. How, and to what extent, did the Shining Path succeed in building popular support? What tensions arose between the rebels and the civilians? The book also surveys the literature on Shining Path dealing with the Ayacucho and other departments, comparing and contrasting developments elsewhere in the north. Taylor traces the area's recent agrarian history, assessing the impact of land reform and the emergence of radical peasant organizations in the decade preceding the initiation of armed activity. Using interview data and reports drafted by the security forces, Taylor reveals the the state responses to this violent and bloody insurrection. Expertly written and extremely accessible, Shining Path: Guerrilla War in Peru's Northern Highlands provides a comprehensive analysis of a tragically ignored chapter in Peru's civil war.
Lewis Taylor is a Lecturer in Latin American Sociology at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool. He has been researching this particular area of Peru for thirty years.