Dr. Herr, assistant professor of history, launched her new book, “Contested Nation: The Mapuche, Bandits, and State Formation in 19th Century Chile,” Feb. 13 in a book launch event in Powers Hall.
Driven by family ties and an unquenchable desire to bring light to the darkness, she has written a book that encourages its readers to look, holistically, at the Republic of Chile. The book has been years in the making, and it is a testament to the dedication of its author and to the necessity of uncovering the truth in a convoluted age of information.
She focused on the plight of the native peoples of Chile: the Mapuche Indians. By examining their role in the formation of the republic, having been cast aside and undermined by the very policies that were supposed to help integrate them, she reveals the machinations that were at work during the creation of the free state and how the relationship between the Mapuche and the Chilean officials would ultimately dictate Chile’s fate. This revelation, combined with lively and engaging prose, bears the mark of a seasoned historian.
Not only does she address the Mapuche, but she also focuses the lens on the Pincheira Brothers and how their specific brand of outlaw justice may not have been as cut and dry as most believed.
In doing so, Dr. Herr has created a wonderful piece of prose that will surely live on for years to come as students and colleagues alike are exposed to her unique perspective; one that has been molded and shaped over the course of twenty plus years, much in the same way that a jagged rock is slowly polished by a stream that trickles over it for centuries, revealing a wonderfully polished and brilliant entity all its own, so too is Dr. Herr’s work. In her book, we find something much similar to polished stone; we find a piece refined by forces both seen and unseen, resulting in a well-documented and enthralling book that will stand the test of time as something all its own.