In December 2005, following a series of convulsive upheavals that saw the overthrow of two presidents in three years, Bolivian peasant leader Evo Morales became the first Indian president in South
American history. Consequently, according to S. Sándor John, Bolivia symbolizes new shifts in Latin America, pushed by radical social movements of the poor, the dispossessed, and indigenous people
once crossed off the maps of "official" history. But, as John explains, Bolivian radicalism has a distinctive genealogy that does not fit into ready-made patterns of the Latin American left.
This is an impressive book that incorporates a significant amount of research, including both oral histories and archival documents. The result is a model of historical scholarship.
—Marc Becker, author of Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador's Modern Indigenous Movements
This book takes you through 60 years of Bolivian history. . . You can't understand those 60 years of history properly unless you read this book. A remarkable work.
—James Dunkerley, author of Rebellion in the Veins: Political Struggle in Bolivia 1952-1982
According to its author, this book grew out of a desire to answer nagging questions about this unusual place. Why was Bolivia home to the most persistent and heroically combative
labor movement in the Western Hemisphere? Why did this movement take root so deeply and so stubbornly? What does the distinctive radical tradition of Trotskyism in Bolivia tell us about the past fifty
years there, and what about the explosive developments of more recent years? To answer these questions, John clearly and carefully pieces together a fragmented past to show a part of Latin American
radical history that has been overlooked for far too long. Based on years of research in archives and extensive interviews with labor, peasant, and student activists—as well as Chaco War veterans
and prominent political figures—the book brings together political, social, and cultural history, linking the origins of Bolivian radicalism to events unfolding today in the country that calls
itself "the heart of South America."