From Publishers Weekly
In 1989, Sister Dianna Ortiz, an American-born nun, was abducted from the compound where she worked in Guatemala. Twenty-four hours later, she escaped, but within that brief period, her body had been burned with cigarettes, she'd been raped, beaten and forced to torture a woman who was already near death. As a consequence of her devastation, Ortiz lost every memory she had of her life before the kidnapping, and spent years battling both real and remembered demons in a struggle to heal herself and to spread the word about U.S. complicity in Guatemala's repressive political system and in the torture and murder of thousands of innocent Guatemalans. This is an important book for two reasons: its illustration of the fallout of torture and the special needs of survivors, and Ortiz's well-documented narrative of the U.S. government's refusal to take seriously what happened to her, particularly as she identified one of her torturers as an American. It's unfortunate that Ortiz didn't have a better editor. This is a powerful story and Ortiz (aided by Davis, communications director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission) is a strong writer, but the avalanche of detail will confuse readers, and material such as the text of speeches and memos could have been included in an appendix. But Ortiz's determination to tell the truth in spite of ongoing threats and her own fear makes this book, despite its flaws, impossible to dismiss. Photos not seen by PW.
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In the 1980s Sister Dianna Ortiz went to Guatemala to help citizens victimized by one of the world's most oppressive regimes. As a result, she nearly became one of the disperdicios
, or the disappeared, called that because they literally disappeared into the night to be raped, tortured, and murdered, never to be seen alive again by their families. Sister Dianna was one of the more fortunate victims of this regime in that her ordeal was relatively brief--and she survived. He book focuses on the long-term effects of her ordeal more than the gory details of what she suffered. But it is about more than just the torture of Sister Dianna or the other disperdicios
. It also puts their suffering in context by examining what allowed these things to happen. Sister Dianna's story will interest anyone wishing to understand how rape and torture break down the human spirit, and how it is possible to survive such assaults. Students of political science will also find this book intriguing. June PulliamCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved