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Novelist Goldman (The Divine Husband, etc.) pursues in his first nonfiction book the infamous murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi, the Guatemalan human rights leader murdered after the release of his multivolume report on the genocidal terror campaign led by the army in the 1980s and '90s, in which 200,000 people disappeared or were killed. The book, which began as a New Yorker piece, casts light into the darkest corners of this tortuous case, the U.S.-supported war in Central America and the continuing legacy of violence and corruption. The large cast and myriad details can be overwhelming, but overall Goldman manages a clear narrative (aided by a dramatis personae and chronology). Drawing on a wealth of sources, including interviews, declassified documents and court records, his meticulously researched book is an impressive organizational achievement, as well as a vital moral accounting. Goldman—who was baptized in Gerardi's church of San Sebastian, attended by his Guatemalan-born mother—invests this eye-opening account with a layer of personal reflection. Like Latin American writers García Márquez, Vargas Llosa or Carlos Fuentes, his journalism isn't so much a departure from his fiction as an extension of his concerns with the fraught landscapes where truth is as contested as the soil underfoot, yet central to battles waged over it. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In April 1998, Juan Gerardi Conedera, auxiliary bishop of Guatemala City and a human-rights activist, issued a devastating report detailing the role of the military in atrocities committed during the country's recently ended 36-year civil war. Two days later, the bishop's body was found in the garage of his parish house; he had been bludgeoned to death. Initial government investigations were halfhearted, even absurd. So the Catholic Church formed its own investigative team, led by a cadre of young, idealistic laymen. Goldman probes into the dark recesses of a nation polarized by decades of war, repression, corruption, and social injustice. Eventually, three military officers and a priest were arrested and convicted of the crime, but the efforts to tie these men to higher-ups has continued. Utilizing his skills as a novelist, Goldman recounts the unfolding investigation like a good detective story, as layers of deception are peeled away. But it is also a story of dedication and courage, as the young investigators pursue justice against entrenched opposition. For those interested in Latin American politics and history, this will be a fascinating read. Freeman, Jay --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description