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Death of Somoza Paperback – April 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-1880684269 ISBN-10: 1880684268 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Curbstone Books; 1st edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880684268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880684269
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,453,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If truth is stranger than fiction, historical fact can be just as fascinating, as Alegria and Flakoll prove here. Originally published in Nicaragua and Venezuela, this fast-paced account of the pursuit of the elusive Anastasio Somoza Debayle by his self-appointed assassins (a commando team composed of revolutionary veterans of Argentina's "dirty war"), provides the missing chapter of the Nicaraguan revolution. Because this reads like a suspense novel with elements of espionage, it will be of interest to a curious cross section of readers including military intelligence buffs, mystery lovers and students of Latin American affairs. The text includes many voices of its true-life "characters": Susana, the young rebel; Ramon, the grizzled freedom fighter; even that of a lamenting Somoza, the deposed dictator?quoted from his book Nicaragua Betrayed, published in 1980. Alegria is an eminent Salvadoran poet, journalist and author of numerous books including Luisa in Realityland and Family Album. Flakoll, her husband, collaborator and translator, died last year.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

No one has ever known by whom or precisely how Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the repressive Nicaraguan strongman, was assassinated in Asuncion, Paraguay, in 1980, after being forced out of office a year earlier. This book, based on firsthand interviews with the surviving Argentine commando group who carried out the assassination as representatives of the People's Revolutionary Army, conveys their actions in a mix of nonfiction description and fictional dialog. The book effectively reveals interesting points about linkages among revolutionary groups in the 1970s, the disjointed situation in Nicaragua immediately following the Sandinista triumph, and the incompetence of Paraguayan security forces in pursuit of the assassins. Yet the event itself no longer draws much interest. For academic Latin American studies collections. [See also the authors' Tunnel to Canto Grande, reviewed below.?Ed.]?Roderic A. Camp, Latin American Ctr., Tulane Univ., New Orlean.
-?Roderic A. Camp, Latin American Ctr., Tulane Univ., New Orleans
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Bellone on January 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book two weeks ago. It's short and engaging, so for anyone interested in central american history there is no excuse not to read this book. It's a day by day account of the plotting and carrying out of a murder of a man who probably deserved it. All the details are laid out: how they found out where Somoza was, how they got the safe house( which is a great story in itself which I won't reveal), their fears and gaffes, etc. What really struck me was the abscence of self-glorification. This group struck down the man who held the record for theft until Marcos and his wife left town about ten years later. You would think they were entitled to a little dance in the end zone, not them though, they were all business about it. So allow me to raise a toast for them. Though this isn't the kind of story that's supposed to warm one's heart, it does satisfy. In this age there are too many examples of dictators either dying of old age at home or living the life of riley in exile: stalin, pinochet, stroessner, imelda marcos, idi amin, and that guy from ethiopia whose name escapes me, and castro( technically he's neither but the man got away with it and that's my point) to name a few, it's good to know that justice prevails every once in awhile. And I think these people deserve our praise and more people should read and know this story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian M. Straight on August 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
.. without a doubt one of the best testimonials to ever be released to the Latin American revolutionary scene. This one definitely ranks right up there with Ana Guadalupe Martinez' "Las Carceles Clandestinas" and Roque Dalton's "Miguel Marmol". The reader will find the last chapter the best, when Comandante Ramon discusses the nervousness and apprehensions he and the "compas" feel when the moment for action is upon them. I had a hard time putting the book down, and for anyone who has ever lived/traveled in the Central American region and knows the hardships and history of the people well, this short piece is a must have, if for nothing else than its extraordinary retelling of one of the most remarkable events pertinent to the region in the last 50 years.
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Format: Paperback
This slim book of just 152 pages is a virtual mini-manual on the dark art of assassination. It is supposedly written with the help of some of the very terrorists who assassinated Somoza while he was in exile in Asuncion, Paraguay. I believe they wrote this mini-manual in the hope that it would edify those who would attempt to emulate them by assassinating another dictator or some other high value target who employs a protective coterie. I believe that the primary moving force behind the assassination and the penning of this book to be none other than the guerrilla prince himself Fidel Castro of Cuba. Beacause, when the bay of pigs invasion was launched from Nicaragua Somoza boasted to the Cuban ex-patriot brigade that would land on the beach to 'bring me back a lock of Fidel's beard.' And through 1965 two years after the Cuban missile crisis it was from Somoza's Nicaragua that harassing CIA paramilitary ops were launched against Cuba. So it seems that it was Fidel Castro who came back with a lock of Somoza's hair as a souvenir so to speak.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent study/read of the killing of President Somoza and how it was concieved, carried out and by whom.

I read this book in conjunction with several others to include Somoza's own 1980 account of what occurred in Nicaragua up his being forced into exile.

Alone, each book offers insights, glimpses and accounts that gel when all are read / studied and then cross referenced with this particular book.

Somoza's security in Paraguay was very good and it is remarkable the hit team from Argentinia demonstrated the tenacity, patience and skill that they did to finally catch their prey in a moment of weakness / vulnerability.

A superb document regarding unconventional / clandestine tradecraft the book should be "must reading" for our Special Forces / Special Operations "hunters/shooters".
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on December 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
The slant on this book is toward the left. It tries to justify the murder of A. Somoza, Former President of Nicaragua as bringing to justice a brutal leader. I have some problems with those that committed this murder, and how the authors wrote the book.

First off, the murderers were Argentine ERT terrorists, who were infamous in their own country for their brutal killings and kidnapping. These guys and gals were not pikers. They were experienced terrorists.

Second, they stated they wanted to rid the world of a brutal dictator and help international solidarity. Why not kill a more brutal dictator than Somoza. His name is F. Castro. I equate international solidarity to socialist imperialism. They condemn American actions in Latin America, but do not condemn Cuban meddling on the continent.

Third, murderers claimed they did act out of their gracious nature. Where did they get the money? They got the money from either the Cuban or Nicaraguan government. Thats where they got it. They were just paid assasins. Nothing more and nothing less.

Do not glorify these guys or gals for what they did. They were paid to perform a hit. The Sandinistas were as bad as Somoza. The book glosses over all these facts.

The writing on this book was OK and the story of the stalking itself was interesting. However authors tried to place a positive spin on people who were murderers and terrorists.
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