I, Rigoberta Menchú

By Rigoberta Menchú,

Book cover of I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala

Book description

Now a global bestseller, the remarkable life of Rigoberta Menchu, a Guatemalan peasant woman, reflects on the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America. Menchu suffered gross injustice and hardship in her early life: her brother, father and mother were murdered by the Guatemalan military. She learned Spanish…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked I, Rigoberta Menchú as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

As a Latin American from a country of such diverse cultures as Mexico, I recommend this book by Rigoberta Menchú because it is the first 20th-century voice from an indigenous woman who has taken up arms in defense of her people. For me this connection also touches my family’s past, because I too, lost a brother to armed conflict, just like Rigoberta. A biography from an author that speaks so personally of this struggle stirs the pages in this book and makes this testimony overwhelmingly moving for any reader. But this deep connection with the reader also creates an international…

When this title first appeared in English shortly after the original Spanish edition it caused a real furor. One US anthropologist, David Stoll, raised doubts about the factual aspects of this biography of a poor Guatemalan peasant woman, and he was even more energetic in casting aspersions on its ‘editor’ Elizabeth Burgos-Debray, a Venezuelan writer of high profile because of her marriage to the radical thinker Regis Debray. Stoll’s motives were widely discussed and often decried, but some of his points proved to be factually accurate, and he certainly raised the profile of Menchú, who became a Nobel Laureate. There…

What inspired a K’iche’ Mayan to demand rights for her people in Guatemala?

In this testimonio, Menchú describes Indian culture and how her family’s struggle to survive led them to demand human rights, including land rights, for peasants. Her father, mother, and one of her brothers were murdered for their activism, while Menchú was forced into exile. Throughout the book, Menchú often stresses her status as a Christian and her belief in just war, but she also critiques Christianity and points out that Catholicism complemented indigenous religious practices, rather than superseded them. The book was an international best-seller and…

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