In This Review

Himalayan People's War: Nepal's Maoist Rebellion
Himalayan People's War: Nepal's Maoist Rebellion
Edited by Michael Hutt
Indiana University Press, 2004, 336 pp

As the rest of the world moves toward democracy, Nepal has had a hard time keeping up. Its politics are pervaded by duplicity and dominated by a rickety monarchy, which has survived in spite of a royal massacre in which the crown prince, in what appears to have been a drunken rage, shot most of the extended royal family before putting a bullet in his own head. The countryside supports a Maoist guerrilla movement that has taken to uninhibited violence as a way of life. The chapters in this informative book originated as papers at a conference organized by the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The authors examine Nepal's developments from a variety of angles as they seek to explain the most successful Marxist rebellion in South Asian history. The book greatly benefits from the contributions of several anthropologists. Judith Pettigrew, in her chapter, "Living Between the Maoists and the Army in Rural Nepal," provides an extraordinarily vivid account of what people will do to survive in an environment dominated by terrorism. The Maoists have stepped up their attacks on the government, encircling the capital of Katmandu since the book went to press, but it is still the best available background study of Nepal's problems.