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The House on the Sacred Lake [Hardcover]

Margaret J Anstee
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

29 Oct 2009
In 1959 Margaret Anstee was working for the UN in Uruguay when she was offered the job of Deputy Resident Representative in Bolivia, then an extremely poor and underdeveloped country. She jumped at the chance, and took up the post in January 1960, which was when her passionate love affair with Bolivia and its people began. For nearly 50 years she was a trusted advisor to the Bolivian government and personal friend of successive presidents during a period when foreign aid was needed desperately but came at a high price to Bolivia's internal policies. Her political activism and commitment to the social and political well-being of her adopted home are truly inspirational.

The House on the Sacred Lake describes how Margaret Anstee made a home in Bolivia. In turbulent times she placed her trust in her Bolivian friends and neighbours, and after many tribulations built herself an idyll on the shore of her beloved Sacred Lake. Her personal journey, a charming mix of warmth, humour, political passion, and idealism, as well as sadness and calamity, is interwoven with Bolivia's political journey, which was not without its own calamities. Her story tests the theory that in a free market wealth will filter down to the poorest in society, and finds it wanting in Bolivia as so often elsewhere.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Book Guild Publishing; 1st Edition edition (29 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184624353X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846243530
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,193,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Bolivia is a relatively unknown but important and intriguing nation, and this book by Dame Margaret gives an insight that is long overdue into the lives of its people.

--Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States of America

The formidable Margaret Anstee writes as bravely and robustly as her reputation, charting without restraint the never-ending twists and unexpected developments of Bolivian politics, even as they arrive alarmingly at her own front gate. --Nik Gowing, international news presenter

No one else could have written such a vivid portrait of Bolivia, from presidential palace to village market.

--John Hemming, explorer and author, former President and Secretary of the Royal Geographic Society

About the Author

Dame Margaret Anstee served the United Nations for over four decades (1952-93) and, in 1987, was the first woman to achieve the rank of Under Secretary-General. She worked on operational programmes of economic and social development in all regions of the world, mostly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). From 1987-92 she served as Director-General of the UN at Vienna, Head of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs and Co-ordinator of all UN narcotic drug control programmes. From 1992-3 she was the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Angola, the first woman to head a UN peacekeeping mission including its military component. Dame Margaret served successively as Resident Representative of UNDP in eight countries, in Asia, Latin America and Africa. From 1974-87 she occupied senior positions at UN headquarters in New York and was also given special responsibility for a number of disaster relief programmes, including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Mexican earthquake of 1985 and the Kuwait oil wells of 1991. From 1967-8 Dame Margaret served as Senior Economic Adviser to Harold Wilson's Government.

Dame Margaret was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, of which she is an Honorary Fellow. She continues to work ad honorem for the UN and for the President and Government of Bolivia. Amongst other activities she is a member of Jimmy Carter's International Council of Conflict Resolution.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Woman in Bolivia! 5 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Amazing is the right word to describe Margaret Anstee. This is an inspiring story of a woman who stuck to her guns through all adversities to achieve the goal she wanted,a house on Lake Titicaca, and let nothing stop her till she achieved it.She allowed her deep love of the place and the people to shine through clearly in her writing so that at the same time as you are thinking "why is she still persevering?" you know the answer.Her generous personality also comes through clearly,as does her respect for the people of Bolivia,especially her neighbours.A good book to read as an introduction to learning about Bolivia and why she loved it.Reading this book I learned something about South American and Bolivian politics,how NOT to build a house,the history and culture of the indiginous people around Lake Titicaca,some of the workings of the United Nations,and how Margaret Anstee had the perfect personality for peacekeeping in both a small and wider world but I learned while I enjoyed because of the quality of her writing.Highly recommend.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional book about Bolivia and more 7 Oct 2012
By Louis Emmerij - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought the book because I had read other works of the author and expected to get an insight about the people and daily life in Bolivia and around the splendid Titicaca lake.
The volume went far beyond my expectations because of Dame Anstee's exceptional knowledge of the country, its people, and the love she has for both of them. We get an insight in all that through the painstaking story of the trouble she had in building her house on the lake.
The book contains many "paginas de anthologia"
The book goes far beyond the case of Bolivia as fascinating as this is. It gives a rare insight in the soul of people, its positive and negative cbaracteristics, always written with respect and understanding. This gives the volume its universal value.
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