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169 of 194 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating & well-written
I managed to get a pre-press copy of this book and was a bit stunned by its heftiness (it's well over 500 pages). But from the moment I cracked the first page, I simply couldn't put it down - I was often so engrossed in it during my commute I'd stay on the bus longer just to finish the particular chapter I was reading! Needless to say, the book is extremely well-written...
Published on September 21, 2010 by B. Bauer

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222 of 272 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A controversial story
The story of Ingrid Betancourt is controversial. I read her book along with other books written by some of her fellow hostages and here is my recommendation: If you are looking for entertainment, this book can provide that. If you are looking for the full story, all the facts and a fair assessment, you should also read books written by the other hostages, such as "Out of...
Published on September 25, 2010 by Natasha


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169 of 194 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating & well-written, September 21, 2010
By 
B. Bauer "Brandita" (Somewhere on the 38th parallel N) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
I managed to get a pre-press copy of this book and was a bit stunned by its heftiness (it's well over 500 pages). But from the moment I cracked the first page, I simply couldn't put it down - I was often so engrossed in it during my commute I'd stay on the bus longer just to finish the particular chapter I was reading! Needless to say, the book is extremely well-written and has a very different tone than Ms. Betancourt's first book. Reading Even Silence Has An End, I felt every blister on her long marches through the jungle, shuddered with cold when she describes having to put on (again and again) damp and fetid clothes, and cringed at every abuse hurled her way by her captors.

I've read numerous other "hostage memoirs" and one thing I appreciate about Ms. Betancourt's book is that she acknowledges how captivity led to behavior she resented in herself. In this way, any negative comment about her fellow hostages is countered by holding up a mirror to herself and realizing that it is the circumstances of their imprisonment, not their characters, which caused strife and bitterness among the group (I applaud her for taking the high road and not resorting to name-calling). My only (minor) criticism is that aside from a brief chapter in the early pages, little is mentioned about her post-hostage life. I would love to read more about her reflections and adjustments, which must have been enormous and challenging, but maybe that's another book in the works.
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82 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You may not always like her, but it's a remarkable tale of survival., September 27, 2010
By 
This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
I read this and then Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungleto get a broader picture after seeing her on Oprah. Here's the ups and downs of this one for me:

DOWNSIDES:
Much of the time, I was frustrated and annoyed with Betancourt. Despite her being in a REALLY horrific situation, she generally comes across as incredibly arrogant, self-entitled and many times as bratty and foolish. At some points, I almost felt like the FARC would have happily given her back just to be rid of her if she hadn't been so politically important to them.

- She displays a pattern of making reckless decisions, failing to choose her battles with care, not thinking through consequences and deliberately antagonizing her captors. Ultimately, these result in probably much worse treatment for her and others dragged into her sphere.

- She neither details nor takes responsibility for any of her own selfish behaviour, justifying it as things everyone did on occasion given the circumstances. I believe this. But, then she throws Rojas, her initial captive companion, as well as others under the bus about their behaviour in petty detail.

UPSIDES:
Still, here's the thing - it's a fascinating story of survival. She's an exceptionally gifted writer. And, she's incredibly courageous even if sometimes her actions seem misguided or not well thought out.

- I can't imagine a place worse than the Amazon jungle to be held captive - forced marches of days through jungle and swamps, little decent food, bugs, diseases, chains, etc. The FARC are evil. But, she delivers some major inner strength against the challenges she faces, and her survival instincts and behaviour get honed and moderated over time.

- The fact that she is "Daddy's Little Princess" that grew up with everything handed to her on a silver plate, is used to always getting her own way, and is completely ill-equipped to be in this situation and survive it - is what in many ways make's her courage, and strength in dealing with the psychological torture of the situation so remarkable.

SIDENOTE:
I liked her better and had more insight into the situation after reading the other book by the three American prisoners in which one tries to slam her.

- Until then I didn't really piece together as well that "Lucho" was her lover, and that there were a lot of jealousies and politics being played by both guards and prisoners that were working against her as she worked to adapt to the situation. Getting three other perspectives on her and the hostage life is interesting even where they conflict.

- I also found that the one American that mostly tries to throw her under the bus in Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle is out of line. It seems to be largely a case of "oil and water" being thrown into a really small confinement together. Strong, alpha-male, status-concsious, conservative ex-marine with no respect for strong women gets tossed in with opinionated, image conscious, socialist politician, queen bee, who obviously has some major strength. The results are immediate dislike for each other that guards and prisoners fan the flames upon. After reading both - it's pretty clear they're both strong personalities and survivors that end up taking some cheap potshots at one another.

BOTTOM LINE: This is a fascinating tale of survival. Yes, she comes across as arrogant and self-entitled many times. But, she also displays the major inner strength that allowed her to survive what can only be described as a horrific six years.
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222 of 272 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A controversial story, September 25, 2010
This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
The story of Ingrid Betancourt is controversial. I read her book along with other books written by some of her fellow hostages and here is my recommendation: If you are looking for entertainment, this book can provide that. If you are looking for the full story, all the facts and a fair assessment, you should also read books written by the other hostages, such as "Out of Captivity" published in 2009 and a New York Times Bestseller, an excellent book written by the three Americans who were kidnapped and lived under the same conditions with Betancourt. There are other books available, written by some of the other hostages, there are also articles written in reputable news papers and journals about this subject as well.

Betancourt entered the enemy territory on her own free will after being advised against it by the Colombian government, informed of the dangers involved, and signing a release form stating that she assumed responsibility for entering the FARC territory. This would make her a victim by her own doing. All the other testimony offered by all her fellow hostages, is consistent in portraying Ingrid as an abusive and heartless human being, who was willing to endanger the lives of others to satisfy her needs. This considering that according to the hostages, Ingrid actually received special treatment while she herself treated everyone else in a ruthless manner. There are readers who would justify Ingrid's behavior due to the extreme conditions that all the hostages were subjected to. However, one would have to wonder, if all the hostages faced the same extreme conditions, why did no other hostage besides Ingrid, allegedly become vicious and abusive. And hasn't history shown us, that it is when conditions get difficult and painful that the character of a real hero or a real villain rises to the surface? To make a fair assessment, we need to read the testimony from the other hostages that were present, including other women. After the rescue, Ingrid gave validity to her stained image of being greedy and heartless, when the other hostages, including the three Americans showed gratitude to those who endangered their lives to save them, and Betancourt instead, decided to sue them, and only until it became evident that all the evidence and testimony pointed against her did she agree to drop the charges.

I conclude that it is natural for Betancourt to try to repair her image, but I can't ignore the consistency in the different story told by her fellow hostages, who portray Ingrid as a very different person than what she portrays her self to be, in her own book.
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97 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding story of struggle and survival, September 21, 2010
This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
Ingrid Betancourt's story is astounding. In 2002, she was taken captive by the Colombian guerrilla group the FARC and held in the dense Amazon jungle as a political hostage for six long years. Every page of this book brings you deeper into the jungle, so much so that every time I looked up from reading I had to remind myself I was not trapped in the Amazon, I was not held captive... Her eloquence brings the deprivation, the hostility, the fear, the squabbling, and the suffocation of the jungle to life. She is at times precise, at times poetic, but never maudlin or over-dramatic. The story speaks for itself, and she allows the events to unfold with natural grace. She is often self-critical when describing the arguments and tensions that arose between the hostages, who spent months and years in forced proximity. Eventually Ms. Betancourt was isolated from the other hostages, and one can only imagine the psychological torture of being chained, being denied permission to speak or even wave to the other prisoners, some of whom had become close friends. This is not a political account, nor is it a settling of scores, it is simply a story of survival under the worst possible circumstances. I cannot imagine feeling anything but awe for this woman.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Three Books, October 8, 2010
This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
I was not entirely surprised to see the reviews on this book be either one or five stars-largely based on the political views of the reviewers. Fair enough, and I have no doubt that I also am tainted by my own perspectives. I have tracked the other hostage tales as well. Perhaps it is my perspective on humans surviving the inhumane that taints my opinions. No doubt most of us would do what we needed to do to survive. The prisoner of war who "talks", the survivors of the plane crash eating the flesh of their deceased comrades, or in this case, the well-educated princesa of the Columbian ruling class, her lawyer/political companion, the American former Marine and his contractor cohorts fall into a not at all attractive way of being in this extraordinary situation. The Donner Party would have identified with this misery.

The comparative analysis of these three books might make for a fascinating psychological analysis that would tell us a bit about why survival struggle is probably not the place to find our better selves (in spite of the myth of the hero).

Ultimately, this is a book review. And, honestly, this is by far the best written to the three hostage memoirs from the American hostages, Clara Rojas and Ingrid Betancourt. The Americans have a book that is a pretty standard piece of assisted memoir that we see in the movie of the week.That is not a criticism of them, or a denigration of their experience but a comment on the book as a book. This book is a much better written version than Clara Rojas's memoir which was painful to read, because it was obviously so difficult for her to return to these memories. I have to admit, I felt Rojas's anguish in her rather slim tome far more than in the Betancourt book. But I enjoyed reading the Betancourt book.

At the end of the day, Betancourt's book is by far the best written of these memoirs. Now, that may mean it is better fiction. It may not mean it is more accurate. This whole controversial, 20/20 look back on their captivity by these survivors is a bit like the Kurosawa film, Rashoman, the tragedy from three very different perspectives after which I cannot say what the "truth" is. But, I can say that Betancourt is intelligent, well spoken, arrogant and self-centered, charming and attractive, idealistic to a fault, occasionally a voice for freedom other times petty and stupid. In spite of her often transparently self-serving accounts of the events, this is a fascinating book about these events.

And, I had the same reaction to hearing of Betancourt's choice to sue the Columbian government over the kidnapping-which was to wonder about how clueless one could be. But, having read these books, I thought-"They set her up".

Regardless, if I were to recommend only one of these books, it would be this one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long Book, December 9, 2010
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This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
This is a true story and It's unimaginable to think that someone can endure the things that this poor woman had to endure for 6 years. Most of us could never get through it. I commend her on her strength..
The book is good but it's long and hard to read. I felt as though the story was repeating itself after a while and she went into too much detail about each character.
It was tough to get through the last 50 pages ( I even skipped some of it)...but overall interesting story...
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142 of 198 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Read Out of Captivity instead, September 23, 2010
This book does not reveal the truth of the kind of person she became in the jungle (or the person that she really is). Yes, it is a well written book, it is closed to what life in the jungle is, and to the ordeal that she went through.

The reason why MILLIONS of Colombians can't stand her and are boycotting her book, is because she humiliated and back stubbed other prisoners (not described in the book!) mistreated the government that rescued her, and took advantage of her dual citizenship.

If you want to read about being kidnapped in the Colombian jungle (and find out some details about the real Ingrid) read Out of Captivity instead. Written by the three americans who were rescued with Betancourt.

This book for me, is Ingrid's desperate publicity attempt to get her positive image back.

(BTW, I'm Colombian. I admired her for her guts and the way she talked to the Congress during the 8.000 process. I prayed for her and her family during those long 6 years, and I had tears of joy when she was rescued. After learning the details of the way she treated others while in captivity, and after she sued the Colombian government for her kidnapping, I lost all respect and admiration I once had for her)
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend, November 21, 2010
By 
Robert (Parkland, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
In this beautifully written memoir, Ingrid Betancourt harshly juxtaposes the stunning beauty of the Amazonian jungle with its dangers in the same way she juxtaposes the indomitable human spirit with the evilness of the people holding her.

Having spent some time in the somewhat similar Central American jungle I cannot begin to imagine being harshly interned in such an environment for such a long period of time. Particularly considering that while there, I had ample supplies and shelter, was never subjected to forced marches lasting weeks, and was there of my own free will. Some of the things I recall most clearly were being constantly wet, the mud, and the bugs, and cannot fathom living under those conditions for an extended period of time. That Senator Betancourt, and many others, survived this ordeal is a testament to the ability of people to overcome the most harrowing assaults on their senses, spirit, and dignity.

As a former soldier, another part of the book I found quite interesting was her relationship with the soldiers whose mission she ideologically opposed prior to her capture and whose comrades she wished would come to her rescue even if it meant her death. I found the conduct of the Colombian soldiers in captivity to be exemplary - no doubt the result of following of a code of conduct similar to the U.S. Military's. Betancourt describes how a Colombian lieutenant would speak for the soldiers indicating that they maintained their chain of command and military bearing to the best of their abilities. This along with keeping faith with their fellow prisoners and not accepting anything from the enemy (unless provided to all) without doubt frustrated the efforts of their captors to pit the soldiers against one another.

In contrast the civilian prisoners appeared to form "clicks" among themselves that evolved over time sometimes facilitating the efforts of their captors to torment them. Betancourt appeared to have done her utmost to transcend these divisions whenever possible and probably failed as often as she succeeded. I have not yet read Out of Captivity and know that Keith Stansell and others have been highly critical of Betancourt. However, others, including Marc Gonsalves, disagree. Betancourt admits in her book that there were several times that she was ashamed of things she did and of the person she was becoming. However, under such conditions anyone will falter from time to time and if this was the basis for Stansell's accusations, I think he was being overly harsh. I find it hard to believe that Stansell never faltered and in fact Betancourt described a situation where Stansell appeared to collaborate with the FARC when explaining the functioning of an intelligence gathering ground sensor unit much to the consternation of the Colombian soldiers. As far as her accusing the Americans of being with the CIA and endangering them, her explanation that these were lies planted by the FARC to pit the prisoners against each other is reasonable and comport with my belief that the FARC was able to exploit the divisiveness of the civilians.

There has also been scorn heaped upon her for her decision to sue Colombia. While tasteless, I have a hard time condemning what amounts to poor judgment from someone who suffered such emotional trauma. Furthermore, to fault her for her kidnapping because she made a poor decision to travel into FARC territory is disgraceful and similar to saying that a rape victim was at fault because of the clothes she wore or the bars she frequented. The only people responsible for Betancourt's kidnapping were her kidnappers.

All in all a tremendous story of survival and the human spirit's ability to overcome the most difficult of circumstances.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous disappointment, December 7, 2010
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Our book club selected this book for our most recent discussion. Of the dozen members of our club, only two actually finished it. The rest of us gave up on this laborious volume in disgust. What should have been a riveting tale turned out to be a pendulous recitation of self-absorbed ruminations. Ms. Betancourt comes across as a thoroughly dislikable figure even though she was the victim of kidnapping and torture. The book is poorly written, poorly edited, and not worth the time or money.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wow - Very Different Story from her Co-Hostage, February 28, 2011
By 
This review is from: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)
I first read Clara Rojas book and was intrigued to read more about the abduction and hostage ordeal her and her co-hostages endured. I also wanted to know who impregnated Clara Rojas. I read Ingrid's book and was slowing disappointed in the repetitive tone of her book (all 528 pages). It sounds like she is trying to paint a picture for her image and political career in Columbia and "face" in France. However, she did explain in great detail her ordeal, for which I found both informative and overwritten. I cannot image what she and the rest of the hostages went through for so many years while the FARC damaged them emotionally and physically. My next read will be "out of the jungle" by the three American hostages.
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Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle
Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle by Ingrid Betancourt (Hardcover - September 21, 2010)
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