n ote s
1. Note on interview translations and the use of names: I was not able to incorporate
all of the material from the interviews into this book. Once transcribed, I went over
the text, adding notes and clarifications or deleting irrelevant digressions. These were
then sent to the interviewees for comment. Translating and incorporating oral text
into a written narrative has its own difficulties. My aim was to convey the story, the
emotional tone of the narration, and its dramatic potential. Translation is therefore
free and selective, without altering the intent of the interviewee’s communication
with me. I have resorted in some instances to re-narrating what I was told, in others
to selecting a particularly cogent part and using block quotes to highlight important
points or to re-create remembered dialogues with others that my interviewees pro-
duced on tape. In writing, I paid a lot of attention to trying to present different voices
without necessarily having to resort to verbatim texts. In each chapter I opted to vary
the form in which I presented people’s memories.
Names in Peru follow the rule of having Christian or given names first, followed
by the father’s surname and then the mother’s paternal surname, with the emphasis
on the father’s surname. In daily speech and in narration many speakers dispense
with the full-names rule, focusing on the paternal surname as a common form (as
with Velasco), using given names to indicate more intimacy (Juan), and relying on
the complete double surname to sometimes express contempt (as in Juan Fran-
cisco Velasco Alvarado). The full name can also be used to pull rank by mentioning
genealogical links to important ancestors, or in official and legal contexts (nombre
completo). There are also nicknames as compressions of given names (Pancho for
Francisco) or as funny and expressive monikers (as in el Chino Velasco). Having so
many people named in this book made it difficult to avoid tedium in keeping the
form consistent. Therefore, the main characters at the beginning of each chapter
are introduced with full names, if known; later in the text, first names alternate with
paternal surnames. The mother’s surname appears alongside the paternal surname
in cases where the latter is common, since the person interviewed presumably would
have wished to keep her or his persona distinct. There are also a few double-barreled
paternal surnames, notably that of president Francisco Morales Bermúdez Cerruti.
Transcriptions in Spanish of the interviews are available at cepes in Lima and at
Yale University Library.
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