From Publishers Weekly
Most books on Guatemala concentrate on either the country's nightmarish political situation or its mysterious Maya past, making it difficult for readers to get any clear idea of contemporary daily life. Fulbright scholar Benz spent two years doing such ordinary, day-by-day things as shopping for food, buying a motor scooter and standing in the same administrative lines as ordinary Guatemalans. With his family in tow, he traveled to some of the most remote and unstable parts of the country, watched, listened, and came back with stories a more hard-driven reporter would probably never have taken the time to hear. Benz doesn't flinch from the fact that this is a country where, during massacres of peasants, the opening of a shopping mall hogs the news coverage. He grapples with the hot issues of the influx of foreign missionaries, mass killings and a strangling bureaucracy with the refreshing attitude that he is not an expert but an observer. Unfortunately, the book comes to a rather abrupt end, leaving readers searching for a missing chapter and eager for this astute observer's conclusions about his journey.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Benz brings the reader face to face with the landscape, the people, and the institutions of Guatemala. I am convinced that his book will appeal to a general audience, to students entering the field of Latin American studies, and even to people planning a trip to that country. His insights into and observations of Guatemalan society are invariably accurate and engaging. (Pablo Medina, author of Exiled Memories: A Cuban Childhood)