The Americas 61.2 (2004) 259-260
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This is the Spanish edition of Masterson's Militarism and Politics in Latin America (1991), a work examining civil-military relations in Peru from Sanchez Cerro (1930-1933) up to the election of Fujimori in 1990, and which established Masterson's reputation as the foremost analyst of the Peruvian military. For this Lima edition he has added an excellent 40-page concluding chapter on civil-military relations during Fujimori's ten-year rule ending in 2000. With the usual caveat of close historical proximity, Masterson—a professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy—outlines the issues and trends of the regime, with particular emphasis on the military. The chapter was written before the compromising videos of Fujimori's National Security Advisor Vladimiro Montesinos were made public as well as other such damning materials, so that it constitutes a preliminary, if highly useful, overview of the period.
The core of the new chapter concentrates on the armed forces, with a prescription on how to reform what, at least during the 1950s and 1960s, had become one of Latin America's most professional military establishments. Several aspects are well worth considering. For example, Masterson provides a superb analysis of the defeat of Sendero Luminoso (SL) by the security forces, including the crucial tactical and strategic errors committed by the rebel group. In this regard, he is particularly harsh on the utter disdain and lack of understanding that SL leaders, including Abimael Guzman, had for Andean indigenous culture and values. He also makes several useful historical analogies between the SL and various Communist insurgencies in Malaysia (1948-60), Greece (1945-49), the Philippines (1968), and Vietnam (1958-70). Having just completed an important new book on The Japanese in [End Page 259] Latin America (2004), Masterson, with his classic account of the armed forces in Peru now updated to include the Fujimori years, is well positioned to undertake his next book, a history of Peru's and Latin America's first Nisei president.
Peter F. Klaren