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The Rise of Evo Morales and the MAS
Evo Morales is one of the world's most controversial political leaders. His story is extraordinary: poor shepherd-boy, persecuted coca grower, self-professed admirer of Che Guevara, hero of the anti-globalization movement, and first indigenous president of modern Latin America.
The story of the social movement turned political party he is a part of -- the Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) -- is also exceptional: originally founded as a splinter of an ultra-right party, it was given as a gift for the coca growers after they had been banned several times for spurious reasons to register their own party, and went on to become an irresistible force for indigenous rights in Bolivia.
In this insightful and revealing book, Sven Harten explains the success of the MAS and its wider consequences, showing how Morales has become the symbol for a new political consciousness that has entailed de-stigmatizing indigenous identities. In many ways, the analysis of Morales's political trajectory serves as a mirror for democracy in Bolivia. It reveals the challenge of squaring the rupture with a discredited past with the continuity of democracy and the aim of representing an entire society.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Sven Harten provides a readable, informed, insightful and theoretically grounded account which adds substantially to our understanding of contemporary Bolivian politics.'
John Crabtree, Latin American Centre, University of Oxford
'Anyone concerned with contemporary Latin America should have this book in their library.'
Richard Gott, former foreign correspondent for The Guardian and author of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution
'To the outside observer, Bolivia can seem like an impenetrable place. This invaluable book surely rectifies the problem. Through his impeccably researched and extensive dissection of Bolivia's political culture, Harten usefully frames the rise of Evo Morales upon the national stage.'
Nikolas Kozloff, author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left
'Sven Harten delivers a fascinating multidimensional portrait of Evo Morales and the MAS, putting Bolivia's first indigenous, socialist president into the relevant historical, political, biographical and radical social movement perspectives. Indispensable reading for English-speaking followers of Latin America's revolutionary Pink Tide.'
John Foran, University of California
'An extraordinarily knowledgeable account of the rise of one of Latin America's most fascinating political leaders. Harten's book follows Morales's political journey from the grassroots to the presidency and in parallel analyses the political and social changes of the past decade in Bolivia. A must-read for anybody interested in contemporary Latin American history.'
Francisco Panizza, The London School of Economics and Political Science