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Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala [Hardcover]

Victoria Sanford

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Book Description

April 19 2003
Between the late 1970s and the late-1980s, Guatemala was torn by mass terror and extreme violence in a genocidal campaign against the Maya, which becameknown as "La Violencia." More than 600 massacres occurred, one and a half million people were displaced, and more than 200,000 civilians were murdered, most of them Maya. Buried Secrets brings these chilling statistics to life as it chronicles the journey of Maya survivors seeking truth, justice, and community healing, and demonstrates that the Guatemalan army carried out a systematic and intentional genocide against the Maya. The book is based on exhaustive research, including more than 400 testimonies from massacre survivors, interviews with members of the forensic team, human rights leaders, high-ranking military officers, guerrilla combatants, and government officials. Buried Secrets traces truth-telling and political change from isolated Maya villages to national political events, and provides a unique look into the experiences of Maya survivors as they struggle to rebuild their communities and lives.

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"This landmark book reaches out to those who are trying to understand Guatemala..."--Jim Przepasniak, El Paso Times
"...Sanford critically and eloquently documents the U.S.-sponsored violations of human rights in Guatemala."--Lilliana Patricia Sandana, San Antonio Express-News
"The genocide in Guatemala and how survivors have dealt with it constitutes, in Victoria Sanford's gripping and compassionate tale, a crucial lesson in ways in which to keep memory and hope alive."--Ariel Dorfman
"Victoria Sanford leads us into a powerful and heartbreaking history of testimonies. Her journey into this war zone--a world normally depicted by men--is clear-eyed, haunting and, above all, close to the ground."--Michael Ondaatje, author of Anil's Ghost
"No book on this topic has approached the thoroughness and raw impact of Victoria Sanford's Buried Secrets."--Christian Parenti, San Diego Union-Tribune
"Sanford confronts us powerfully with the everyday blood, sweat, and tears of the survivors of indigenous genocide in Guatemala. She demonstrates the possibility of justice and accountability for the Maya who have been massacred by the Guatemalan military for so many decades and brings to light their courageous, ongoing struggle for peace and recognition against all odds. She is taking anthropology right to where it belongs in the twenty-first century: into the struggles taking place on the ground to make 'Never Again!' a meaningful possibility around the globe."--Philippe Bourgois, author of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio
"Victoria Sanford makes an important contribution to the growing body of literature on memory and her insights into the Guatemala situation reveal deep similarities to the South African and other African attempts to deal with the past. This is a remarkable book that those who seek to understand Guatemala, but also other situations of suffering, cannot afford to overlook."--Dr. Charles Villa-Vicencio, Executive Director, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation South Africa
"Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala is the most sustained examination to date of more than 400 testimonies, to reconstruct, in readable form, the complex interaction of truth, memory, violence and genocide, and the process of collective trauma and healing in Guatemala. Sanford's book is an original and engaging piece of cutting-edge scholarship." --Arturo Arias, University of Redlands
"The real power of this book lies in the simple, straightforward accounts by people who lived through events almost too horrible to contemplate."--Latin American Research Review

About the Author

Victoria Sanford is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute on Violence and Survival at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She is also the author of Violencia y Genocidio en Guatemala (2003).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"In June 1994 I began my fieldwork, which focused on the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (Fundacion de Antropologia Forense de Guatemala-FAFG) exhumation of a clandestine cemetery in Plan de Sanchez." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth about Guatemala's Human Rights March 31 2011
By Readingone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A most have resource for those students and experts of the Guatemalan history, human rights and Latin American issues. Dr. Sanford's research is brilliant!
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read July 17 2013
By Jordi R. Comas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read first few chapters. Honest and insightful by someone on the ground. I appreciated her combination of ethnographic detail and keen insights into individuals like soldiers, rebels, etc.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic, Repetitive Information Feb. 26 2014
By HardyBoy64 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My main complaint about this book is that as a whole, this book is repetitive. I understand that some of the chapters are other studies printed elsewhere and that this is a compilation of these studies by the author, but the result is a slightly-frustrating read due to the repeating information. The topic, however, deserves our attention. The genocide in Guatemala during the Guatemalan civil war is an ugly part of the history of the USA, and I think few of our citizens understand the violent legacy that we encouraged and funded through the oppressively violent and corrupt Guatemalan army. It's shameful. If you know nothing about the topic, then this book would be an appropriate place to start but be warned that some of the material is heavily repeated throughout the text.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow but good Feb. 13 2013
By Jill Mueller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this to understand what people are going through in Guatemala because of a missions trip we are taking. Slow but I am getting through it

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