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on 3 December 2014
Highly recommend for teachers adopting new NC unit on the Maya.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 December 2017
The autobiography of a young Guatemalan peasant woman who went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Menchu was an uneducated Indian girl, brought up between the family home, subsistence farming in the Altiplano, and the fincas (plantations), where the family would spend some months earning a little money in almost slave-like conditions.
Menchu's story took place from the 1960s to 80s; she tells of the very traditional Mayan lifestyle - its happiness and security but also the way Indians were dismissed by the Ladino (Spanish) population as almost a sub-species. Malnutrition, defrauding of the workers, and horrific accounts of peasants killed on the fincas by the indiscriminate use of pesticides, make for grim reading.
As government-backed landowners muscled in, trying to seize the Indians' lands, Menchu and her family got caught up in the peasant struggle for rights in a corrupt regime. Murders and violence became commonplace as the authorities tried to silence them...

Menchu has a powerful story to tell. Illiterate till adulthood, she narrates her account in interviews with an anthropologist. The result is an interesting autobiography, but one that would have been much more readable if given a literary touch.
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on 9 April 1998
I started reading this book for a Spanish class, I felt ashamed of the human race for treating our fellow human beings worse than animals. The struggle of Rigoberta Menchu along with her people shows us their honest desire of trying to live in peace with nature and their Gods, we so-called Civilized people could learn so much from Rigoberta and her people.Sometimes I think we should all go back to nature and start all over again. Maybe then we could learn to live in peace with one another relying once again on our fellow man and restoring our once beautiful earth. The injustices inflicted upon the original Guatemalan Mayan people our inhuman, even though they haven't gone to school as we have, their wisdom far succombs ours. I only hope that someone hears her cry and really helps her people.
/Quetzi
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on 22 January 1999
Menchu may have indeed fabricated the fact that any of this happened to her; however the things she describes in this book *did* happen to a lot of people. It shouldn't be read as an autobiography or a lie. It is most certainly quite accurate for many, many Guatemalans. I think it is marvelous that someone came forth to write this.
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on 5 May 1999
The title of the book (in spanish) tells you the reason why this book is not a "lie" as some people say. First, I recommend to read this book and other latin american literature books in spanish. After all if Rigoberta Menchu learned spanish in 3 years, you can do it to! The title in Spanish reads...ME LLAMO RIGOBERTA MENCHU Y HACI ME NACIO LA CONCIENCIA..(My name is Rigoberta Menchu and this is how I grew a conscience) If she (Rigoberta) would not have told her testimony than who would have??I don't think it would have been David Stoll! Because afte she spoke, Mr. Stoll critiqued her and called her a lier. Now, while reading this book I found greater meaning to its title. We often do not think about our conscience. But what if you lived what she lived and were told what she was told. Would your concsience be clean if you kept this to your self?? For us who never experienced her life as a guatemalan "campesina" we do not want to believe this ever happended. Then again we do not even believe in the traditions of the Quiches. If we can not even respect our "Nahual" (animals) How can we respect the right of a human being to tell her story and free her concsience. I enjoyed this book, not only because of its content, but because of its cause and the effect it had in what we now know as "Indigineous liberation movement". She is a great woman and if you want to learn about other people and their sufferings. Than please read this book with an open mind!! Better yet follow her footsteps and learn a beautiful language, SPANISH!!
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on 11 November 1998
Ever page of this book is a lesson in history, politics and economics. We don't know what our lives are really worth until we read the accounts of this woman's experiences as a human being treated as a pile of dirt. Do yourself a favor, read this book, learn from it and apply the lesson you learn from it in your own lives. I know I plan on doing it.
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on 25 June 1999
I first heard of Rigoberta Menchu's story from my political science professor who admitted to me that he physically got sick while reading it. Needless to say the book made me sick as well, but mentally and emotionally not physically. The atrocities inflicted on Rigoberta's people are to the degree of which to say that it is inhuman or evil does not even come close. Having myself read the accounts of Nazi deathcamps and the Holocaust I found this even more disturbing. The struggle of Menchu's people to overcome the oppression from the Guatemalan government seems an arduous, almost impossible one. If one has the stomach for it this book is as real as it gets, giving a first hand account of a simple people being slaughtered by a government that treats it's own people worse than dogs. Hardly a "Marxist" rambling like some have labled it- a must read.
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on 16 September 1998
A humble, yet uninihibted account of a people's struggle from a strong survivor who risks all to tell her story.
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on 14 February 2007
Whether this book is full of lies is not a question of whether you are conservative or liberal, it is established fact. David Stoll's work, corroborated by investigation by the New York Times, has already exposed the truth. Nobody has even bothered to give a serious refutation. Read it if you want, enjoy it if you want, but it's a work of fiction. If you want to know about Guatemala, read some history books instead. The story would be fine if it weren't for the fact that Rigoberta Menchú misrepresents it as the true story of her life and uses it to claim to be a very different person from who she really is. This is particularly important to keep in mind now, as Menchú has just declared her candidacy for the presidency of Guatemala. Just because there really were death squads in Guatemala doesn't mean that a bunch of trumped up stories designed to pull on Western stereotypes about the third world are helping to bring us closer to the truth.
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on 26 February 1999
Despite all of the negative feedback lately about Ribogoberta's book, I think it was fabulous. On the first page of her book, she says that her story is the story of her people - and she does a fabulous job of showing the life which the indigenous people of Guatemala live. It was an extremely easy read, but her vivid descriptions of their land, beliefs, feelings, and experiences are incredible. I definitely reccomend this book to anyone who is interested in Guatemala, corrupt governments, and/or indigenous people. It was excellent!!
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