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Rigoberta Menchu. Leben In Guatemala

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,972 ratings  ·  300 reviews
This book recounts the remarkable life of Rigoberta Menchú, a young Guatemalan peasant woman. Her story reflects the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America today. Rigoberta suffered gross injustice and hardship in her early life: her brother, father and mother were murdered by the Guatemalan military. She learned Spanish and turned to catechist work ...more
Published by Lamuv Verlag GmbH (first published 1983)
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Reading through some of the reviews written by others, I've found that David Stoll's indictment of Menchu for not adhering to the "pure facts" is still alive and well in the academy. There seems to be a tendency to ignore some very important factors that lead to the creation of this book, particularly the genre, testimony, and the nature of memory itself.

Testimony, or testimonio, is a literary genre that in many cases (although certainly not all) involves a testimoniante (one who testifies) and
This book is a memoir of Rigoberta Menchu's childhood and later years in Guatemala as an Indian woman. According to her story, she grew up uneducated in a small community with very strong rules and traditions. Her people, the Indians, were in conflict with the Ladinos (specifically the wealthy) for many years. As a result, her father, mother, and several siblings died.

After reading this book, I found out that she had fabricated many important details in the story. On the very FIRST page, she te
Francesca Helm
Had been looking for a book related to Guatemala as am travelling there and this seemed like an obvious one but got totally put off after reading various reviews. After talking to people here in Guatemala, who say despite any inaccuracies (lies critics say) and despite her subsequent political career which is also somewhat controversial here - her book really brought world attention to the Mayan cause and is an incredibly important book to read, I bought it. Though clearly not 'great literature' ...more
Read this book a long time ago, when I was in Berkeley in the 1980s, it was kinda de rigeur. Just picked it up again from the bathroom reading pile in the house in Vancouver where I'm renting a room for the year (my new roomie is really active in native radical politics). I hadn't given much thought to the book since I heard the news that Menchu fictionalized certain parts of it, wanted to see if I still found it powerful. I did. Not so much for the politics, which even when I read it the first ...more
Suzanne moodhe
I know all about the controversy - did she write the book? Didn't she? The point is that whether or not all of these things happened in particular to this one woman, Rigoberta Menchu, but whether or not they happened to not only her but women that she knew. I believe that this is a collection of events that happened all around her - and having lived in Guatemala for a short period and seen the reconstruction efforts of the Mayan people after the war that was waged on them during the 80's with Jo ...more
This book recounts the life of a remarkable young peasant woman who endeavoured through exteme hardships, to make a political commitment to bring change to the lives of the Guatemalan people. Her father, an activist, her hard working mother and a young brother were all tortured & murdered by the military. The descriptions of injustices suffered leave the reader forever scarred.
Rigoberta learned Spanish so she would be able to tell her story. (one apparently common to most of the 23 Indian co
In 1983 Elisabeth Burgos met the 23-year-old Rigoberta Menchu and spent a week interviewing her and made that into this book, which is partly autobiography and partly 'testimonial' speaking for the experience of the whole Indian community of Guatemala [[60% of the popul. is pure Mayan, tho divided into 3 language groups and many smaller subgroups:]. [Book transl. into English by Ann Wright.:]

Horrifying how the mountain peasants are exploited by plantation owners on the coasts, living in subhuman
Oct 27, 2007 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grown ups
Shelves: 10th
one of those books that are sad and leaves nightmares. The book written by Rigoberta Menchu tells the world of the cruelty that went in Guatemala as the "Silent Holocaust", a genocide upon the Indians in Guatemala. The conflict all start off when the new president took land from the rich to give to the poor as a civil rights movement, but a US Fruit company disliked the idea and took the US gov. that communist activity was going on in Guatemala, therefore triggered the genocide...

The peasants (i
This book with an incredibly uncreative title is a falsified memoir by Rigoberta Menchu. The book describes a poor family who was forced to work and work until they got fired and then the Guatemalan army came in and destroyed their lives. First, Rigo's brother got killed and tortured in a completely unsituational way, and then her father got killed. After that, her mother was caught and raped. Then, she had to run away to America. This book at first made me feel pity for the narrator but eventua ...more
Ling Juan
This book is about Rigoberta, her family and her community. They were going through a harsh, grief and tragic time. They are Indians that lives high up in a mountain with no fertile lands. Oneday the landowners decided to get back their lands because the Indians started to have crops. Rigoberta and her community thought of traps that will prevent the people from coming into their lands. During this period, a lot of people stuffer from torture and death, including Rigoberta's mom, dad and brothe ...more
Jane Mettee
This is the auto biography of an Indian woman who won the Nobel Peace prize in 1992. It tells about her life of severe poverty and harassment, killing and torture, of the Indian people by factions of the Guatemalan government that was engaged in civil war. She devoted her life to resistance and support for her people. She dictated the book to get it into print and get the message out to the world. Tragic but interesting and important message.
This book is about an Indian women living in Guatemala. This book was ridiculously sad and later I learned that some of the events that took place didn't happen and that she over exaggerated which made me feel so betrayed because she's a liar and I don't like that. This book is an autobiography about her life and the hardships she had to overcome.
I once heard Ms Menchu speak at a conference. She was always smiling. How could she smile when she has lived a horrendous life?! So, I wanted to read her story.

This was written in 1982 (give or take a year) during the Guatemala's Civil War. This is her story about living and working in the antiplano (highlands) of Guatemala. It was a tough life. She had no formal schooling and she worked at such a young age. She had no childhood. She worked in the finca's (large estates growing cotton and coffee
I took an anthropology seminar called Narrative Lives in which the first half of the semester was spent reading 3 life-histories followed by another book that evaluated, or bluntly stated, debunked much of the narrator and interviewer's credibility. I, Rigoberta Menchu was the third life-history we read, and I was completely touched by her eloquent story-telling, and her dreadfully touching and powerful struggle. I remember sitting outside, near done with the book, and dreading reading David Sto ...more
It took me longer to get through this than I had anticipated- probably because of the controversy this book stirred regarding the authenticity of some of the contents. I kept putting it down for a few days, trying to decide if I wanted to continue (which I did.) It was a very interesting account of Rigoberta's life in rural Guatemala. She detailed the rich cultural life of her people, including descriptions of many rituals, ceremonies, and practices of the her indigenous group. It was quite inte ...more
I fully recognize that Menchu's voice--conversational, unpretentious, emphatic--is what draws most readers to I, Rigoberta Menchu. At the same time, I found it the most grating aspect of the book, full as it was of contradictions, superlatives, and simply repetitive insistences on the positive aspects of her culture and the crimes committed by her country during the Guatemalan Civil War. Which isn't to say, of course, that I don't think she has every right to tell this story; the crimes she righ ...more
Susan Halvor
Read this in the 1990s, when I visited Guatemala, and looking forward to re-reading as I anticipate visiting again!
Allex Langley
Nov 23, 2014 Allex Langley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Allex by: John Langley

I, Rigoberta Menchú was written with the purpose to get a message out. This message, that Guatemalan Indians are fighting a great war against discrimination and hatred, was very effectively shown through the events of Rigoberta’s life. She is forced to work and work all day for pay that is mostly taken away from her. The Indians usually only get 5 hours of sleep and yet there is a stereotype that they are lazy. The ladinos of Guatemala often work in the same or similar conditions but do not see

I really cannot figure out how to rate this book; it is not really a book you read for enjoyment or because you think the author will write beautifully. It is a book of human struggle and perseverance, and how do you rate that?

It took me about a year to read this book, in small pieces, because it is very heavy subject matter, but I wanted to gain this insight into Guatemala's history.

There is controversy over the veracity of all of her stories, but I don't think that is the critical aspect of
Maybe it would have been better in Spanish? A highly controversial autobiography/"testimony" (what, I'd like to know, precisely differentiates the two, making this book as a "testimony" somehow better or more reputable than if it is thought of as an autobiography?)
Regardless, I knew the story of Rigoberta Menchu's life/struggle/cause prior to reading the book and although I think the story is worthy, I found the delivery in this book to be less engaging.
Are the politics too old now?
I felt the
James Briggs
This book is a phenomenal book on equality, and natural human rights.
Living in Guatemala for two years, including more than a year with the Poqomchi and Q'eqchi' Indians I was really able to relate to this book and understand how real the fight for equality was and still is to some level.
However, at times it was a little hard to get into the story. But overall it was still a worth while read.

Terri Lynn
While I found the story interesting, this is supposed to be Rigoberta Menchu's autobiography and my standard for autobiography is that it should be TRUE and HONEST yet this is nothing but a pack of lies and that taints the story. I had to read this for a graduate school seminar and fortunately the university allowed us to write papers about the controversy rather than accept the book as factual.

A few years after the book came out, David Stoll (he has his doctorate from Stanford University) was
Jul 24, 2015 Tari rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE!
Recommended to Tari by: A sociology class
If I could give a book a -, I would. It was most frustrating to read this book for a class knowing that the horror written about was found to be a lie. Yuk! Plus, she won such an honor for a book that was untrue about her life. Pathetic!
Apr 05, 2015 Miriam rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy their liberal white guilt
Recommended to Miriam by: required for a class
Shelves: realism, the-americas
I read this in Spanish for Spanish class. I may have been unduly hostile towards it because I knew ahead of time that it was not actually Menchu's autobiography.
Really powerful book. Important insight into the struggles and oppression that still exist in modernity. Slavery has not been extinguished.
This was a very interesting read for me. I started it before I went to Guatemala on a service trip and finished it almost two months after I came home. Before I decided to go on this trip, I knew next to nothing about Guatemala and it's bloody history. I feel a little more enlightened after reading this book, but not much. Since it's told to someone and then translated by another person, I wonder how much is lost in translation. So sometimes its hard to follow what she's talking about because yo ...more
Margaret Klein
I read this book as part of my preparation to go to Guatemala with American Jewish World Service. It is haunting and at the same time deeply spiritual. I loved the descriptions of Mayan rituals and the connection the Mayans feel with the land and with their ancestors. It was very good preparation for the trip because we began to understand some of the complexity that was Guatemala in the 60s that led to such horrific bloodshed in the 80s. It helped us frame good questions to ask because some of ...more
My goodness, the misery that has been heaped upon this woman and all the ethnic Guatemalans. That is my main takeaway from this book: a parade of murders and kidnappings and more prosaic cruelty. Sure, some individual instances might not be strictly factual, but the essence of it is true, and if x didn't happen to Menchú, it probably happened to someone much like her. So in that sense, this oral history is extremely effective and moving, if the goal is to paint a picture of the appalling situati ...more
Rigoberto tells the story of her life as a native Indian in Guatemala in the 60s and 70s and her activities to try to survive against the wealthy and the government as their land was manipulated away from them. It is sad, terrifying, poignant. The native culture described is incredibly supportive of each community member and very wise in its practices, almost what China was trying to achieve with its Cultural Revolution - everyone working for the good of everyone, but Quiche handle it well. Rigo ...more
Review on I,Rigoberta Menchu
By: Rigoberta Menchu

This book was absolutely depressing and quite a life for Rigoberta. This explains the life of one of those individuals who would be living in that community. It tells how a girl who have to get married to a boy; when eventually the girl must live up to her responsibilites and so as the child being born. On the other hand, things are not romantic as it seems. Life for Rigoberta was terrible because her mother and father were raped and tortured. Pre
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I Rigolerta Menchu:  An Indian Woman in Guatemala

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