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Forgotten Peace: Reform, Violence, and the Making of Contemporary Colombia

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Forgotten Peace examines Colombian society’s attempt to move beyond the Western Hemisphere’s worst mid-century conflict and shows how that effort molded notions of belonging and understandings of the past. Robert A. Karl reconstructs encounters between government officials, rural peoples, provincial elites, and urban intellectuals during a crucial conjuncture that saw refo Forgotten Peace examines Colombian society’s attempt to move beyond the Western Hemisphere’s worst mid-century conflict and shows how that effort molded notions of belonging and understandings of the past. Robert A. Karl reconstructs encounters between government officials, rural peoples, provincial elites, and urban intellectuals during a crucial conjuncture that saw reformist optimism transform into alienation. In addition to offering a sweeping reinterpretation of Colombian history—including the most detailed account of the origins of the FARC insurgency in any language—Karl provides a Colombian vantage on global processes of democratic transition, development, and memory formation in the 1950s and 1960s. Broad in scope, Forgotten Peace challenges contemporary theories of violence in Latin America.


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Forgotten Peace examines Colombian society’s attempt to move beyond the Western Hemisphere’s worst mid-century conflict and shows how that effort molded notions of belonging and understandings of the past. Robert A. Karl reconstructs encounters between government officials, rural peoples, provincial elites, and urban intellectuals during a crucial conjuncture that saw refo Forgotten Peace examines Colombian society’s attempt to move beyond the Western Hemisphere’s worst mid-century conflict and shows how that effort molded notions of belonging and understandings of the past. Robert A. Karl reconstructs encounters between government officials, rural peoples, provincial elites, and urban intellectuals during a crucial conjuncture that saw reformist optimism transform into alienation. In addition to offering a sweeping reinterpretation of Colombian history—including the most detailed account of the origins of the FARC insurgency in any language—Karl provides a Colombian vantage on global processes of democratic transition, development, and memory formation in the 1950s and 1960s. Broad in scope, Forgotten Peace challenges contemporary theories of violence in Latin America.

53 review for Forgotten Peace: Reform, Violence, and the Making of Contemporary Colombia

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard McColl

    I read Karl's book in preparation for a radio interview with the author, and as someone who lives, works and studies in Colombia I found it to be insightful, in-depth and very digestible. For anyone wishing to really understand contemporary Colombia, this isn't a bad place to start at all. There are fascinating investigations revealed here which go a long way to explaining how the political drama of the Colombian conflict has played out in the way it has.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    This was a really good book. Karl re-interprets the foundational period of "la Violencia" in Colombia and its role in the creation of the FARC and the civil war of the last 50 years through careful documentary analysis. He focuses on a number of key political and academic figures to frame the story, and manages to make the academic writing much like a story. I was really interested in his argument about the crucial existence of the criollo paz before the National Front and how the prior experien This was a really good book. Karl re-interprets the foundational period of "la Violencia" in Colombia and its role in the creation of the FARC and the civil war of the last 50 years through careful documentary analysis. He focuses on a number of key political and academic figures to frame the story, and manages to make the academic writing much like a story. I was really interested in his argument about the crucial existence of the criollo paz before the National Front and how the prior experience with peace-building implicitly reflects on the peace process today. Highly recommend for anyone interested in Colombia; not sure it's accessible enough for the uninitiated.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This is an academic book through-and-through. Not knowing anything about the subject, I was looking forward to learning about the recent history of Colombia. I was disappointed—not because the author isn’t knowledgeable (or capable) of informing general readers, but because he clearly wrote with a different audience in mind: an academic one. It is a well-worn (if snarky) canard that academic writing principally strives to hide ignorance, rather than impart wisdom. In this case, that canard feels This is an academic book through-and-through. Not knowing anything about the subject, I was looking forward to learning about the recent history of Colombia. I was disappointed—not because the author isn’t knowledgeable (or capable) of informing general readers, but because he clearly wrote with a different audience in mind: an academic one. It is a well-worn (if snarky) canard that academic writing principally strives to hide ignorance, rather than impart wisdom. In this case, that canard feels true. Time and time again I re-read passages only to conclude that the author had used a great deal of language to say virtually nothing. I did walk away with a hazy sense of what happened in Colombian society in the second half of the twentieth century, but nothing more than that. It’s was a tough slog.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Germancho

    La edición en español tiene la introducción a manera de posfacio, entiendo que para mejorar la legibilidad del libro. Sin embargo, pienso que habría sido mejor dejar un trozo de la introducción original a manera de breve introducción para esta edición, dejando los detalles académicos para el posfacio. Como está escrito, tuve que ir develando las principales ideas del libro a medida que lo iba leyendo, para comprobar al final del libro (como en examen) si había acertado o no. 5 estrellas, pero le La edición en español tiene la introducción a manera de posfacio, entiendo que para mejorar la legibilidad del libro. Sin embargo, pienso que habría sido mejor dejar un trozo de la introducción original a manera de breve introducción para esta edición, dejando los detalles académicos para el posfacio. Como está escrito, tuve que ir develando las principales ideas del libro a medida que lo iba leyendo, para comprobar al final del libro (como en examen) si había acertado o no. 5 estrellas, pero le quito una por tomar la decisión apresurada de mover la introducción al final (en la edición en español)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Valencia W

    To learn about the FARC. This book is all you need. Comprehensive and well written for both students and professionals alike. This book goes into the details of the history of the FARC

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Malheiros Marques Fernandes

  7. 5 out of 5

    Juan Misle

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fernando

  9. 5 out of 5

    Omar Orestes

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lucia

  11. 4 out of 5

    Oli Griffin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mateo Vasco

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark Healey

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joe Hiller

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicolás Riveros

  17. 5 out of 5

    Masi Hukari

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josue

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maddie Stevens

  23. 4 out of 5

    McPhaul M.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Ermer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicolás Riveros M

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pablo Uribe

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eren Buğlalılar

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dеnnis

  31. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  32. 5 out of 5

    Byron

  33. 4 out of 5

    thomas

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Drye

  35. 5 out of 5

    Marly

  36. 5 out of 5

    Mwanafunzi

  37. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  38. 4 out of 5

    Alvaro

  39. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  40. 5 out of 5

    Madison

  41. 5 out of 5

    Karen Ortiz

  42. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  43. 4 out of 5

    Irene Koo

  44. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  45. 4 out of 5

    Nivardo

  46. 5 out of 5

    CAROLINA

  47. 4 out of 5

    Catalina

  48. 5 out of 5

    William Elliott

  49. 5 out of 5

    Chel

  50. 4 out of 5

    Henry Heilbroner

  51. 4 out of 5

    Sergenius

  52. 4 out of 5

    Keiron Cobban

  53. 4 out of 5

    Annie

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