The Bullet and the Ballot Box
The Story of Nepal’s Maoist Revolution
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Hardback with free ebook
326 pages / October 2014 / 9781781685648

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October 2014 / 9781781685655

Twenty-first-century revolution in one of the remotest places in the world

The Bullet and the Ballot Box offers a rich and sweeping account of a decade of revolutionary upheaval. When Nepal’s Maoists launched their armed rebellion in the nineties, they had limited public support and many argued that their ideology was obsolete. Twelve years later they were in power, and their ambitious plan of social transformation dominated the national agenda. How did this become possible? Adhikari’s narrative draws on a broad range of sources – including novels, letters and diaries – to illuminate the history and human drama of the Maoist revolution.

An indispensible account of Nepal’s recent history, the book offers a fascinating case study of how communist ideology has been reinterpreted and translated into political action in the twenty-first century.


“This thoroughly research book reveals how this happened … Machinations rivaling those on the television show House of Cards roiled the palace and the parliament [and] finally drove the royal family from power.”

“[Adhikari's] summaries of these texts—most available only in Nepali—form a remarkable literary and social history that is especially valuable to anyone curious about the wealth of new Nepali writing but unable to read the language.”

“The writing is wonderfully concrete and fresh. Drawing on interviews with Moaist leaders and cadres, as well as on numerous untranslated Nepali sources (including novels and memoirs), The Bullet and the Ballot Box opens new vistas on the conflict. It is likely to stand for a considerable time to come as the most comprehensive and insightful account of Nepal’s Maoist revolution.”

“Aditya Adhikari weaves together an impressive amount of research, analysis and personal observation; and he does so very elegantly. This is a compelling work of scholarship, and a significant contribution to understanding contemporary Nepal.”

“The story behind the extraordinary rise of Nepal's Maoists was poorly reported when it happened and remains little understood. Finally we have a definitive, objective and highly readable account of how a poorly armed faction of a small communist party launched an armed rebellion that eventually led - through a remarkable peace process - to its leader becoming the world's first elected Maoist Prime Minister. This book is not only essential for understanding Nepal but also provides broader insights into revolutionary movements and peace processes.”

“[A] well-researched history of Nepal’s Maoist revolution.”

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