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Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Publisher: The New Press
Date of Publication: 2005
Binding: soft cover
Condition: Very Good
Description: 1565849779 Clean and bright; no owners' marks; except for mild shelf rubbing at the corners and spine ends of the soft cover, excellent.
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The Condor Years: How Pinochet And His Allies Brought Terrorism To Three Continents Paperback – June 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565849779
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565849778
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When a Spanish judge pressed charges against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1998, the case broke an international code of silence on the fates of the tens of thousands of Latin Americans who were tortured and killed during more than a decade of dictatorship in Chile and neighboring countries. The United States agreed to Spain's request for 60,000 pages of secret files on Chile, including CIA operational files. Former NPR news managing editor Dinges (Our Man in Panama), who lived in Chile and was interrogated in a secret torture camp during the Pinochet dictatorship, pored through those files and has uncovered the chilling story of Operation Condor, a Chilean-led conspiracy among six South American dictatorships to hunt down and eliminate leftist rebels and their sympathizers. Condor was responsible for the 1973 murder in Washington, D.C., of Chilean exile Orlando Letelier, which U.S. diplomats were aware of and failed to stop. Indeed, the picture that emerges of U.S. policy is frightening. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's "green light, red light" human rights policy for the first time presented a public U.S. stance in favor of human rights, yet behind closed doors, he was reassuring Latin America's dictators of U.S. support. Hampered by the weight and significance of its revelations, the book gets off to a slow start. Soon enough, however, vivid stories and details emerge: double agents, the euphemisms of the spy trade (e.g., "wet work" for assassinations), bumbling murderers and rebels, and cynical U.S. diplomats. Dinges's meticulously documented study is a cautionary tale for today's war on terror-which shares a major anniversary with the 1973 Chilean coup that brought Pinochet to power: September 11.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Goes a long way toward bringing the truths of that dark time into the light. -- San Francisco Chronicle

I read the book with special interest, since I was one of the intended victims. -- Edward Koch, former New York City mayor

Scrupulous, well-documented and indignant. -- The Washington Post

Touches directly upon the center of today's debate over US foreign policy—like secrecy in the name of national security. -- The Nation

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Well written book with documentation of a textbook.
Charles J. Arndt
Documents obtained by Dinges in making this book are frequently cited by institutions such as the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
Alvaro R. Sanchez
I just returned from Chile myself, and read the book while down there.
Allan Bumgartner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Alvaro R. Sanchez on August 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
The first thing we have to make clear in these types of books is who the author is and the author of this book is John Dinges. Dinges is a serious journalist who worked as the editorial director for National Public Radio for over ten years (1985 to 1996). He has worked as a foreign correspondent for Time, ABC, and most notably the Washington Post. And he is currently a Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

This book is well-researched, documented, and in it Dinges is himself extremely careful about what he states as fact and is not afraid to acknowledge when there simply is not enough documentation to make clear judgments. He frequently cites cables sent between the White House and the U.S. embassy in Santiago and as well as information from his own interviews with major players within Condor and embassy/government officials during the period.

He makes clear how important Operation Condor was in the context of South American politics such as the fact that traditional enemies like Argentina and Chile were co-operating fully for the first time in contemporary history. And, initially at least, the real fear amongst the military dictatorships of guerilla movements united under the "Revolutionary Co-ordinating Junta".

Dinges shows how DINA (the Chilean secret police) was created with U.S. support and turned from a small intelligence department to the hand of Pinochet under the leadership of Manuel Contreras. More interesting is how the book documents how operations were run in Europe headed by American-born DINA operative Michael Townley along with Italian fascists to eliminate the exiled Christian Democratic/Socialist Party opposition. All of this, of course, climaxs with the Letelier assasination in D.C.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Giulia Barrera on February 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Condor Years it's a superb piece of work. It often happens to me that the more I know about an issue, the more I am unsatisfied with what I read about it, because I am able to detect mistakes and inaccuracies. With John Dinges' book, right the opposite happened. Precisely because I am familiar with quite a few of the documents that he is using, I could appreciate how sound and well grounded are each and every statement that he makes, and how thoughtful, balanced and insightful is his reading of his sources. John Dinges' book has helped me to fully understand the implications and meanings of documents I was already familiar with. And now I am much more confident about the big picture, than what I used to be before reading the book. Needless to say, it also reads beautifully. To read it was a real intellectual pleasure.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James McGrath Morris on February 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What's so remarkable about this book is the incredible fairness of its author. The reader will find that as he or she discovers one outrage after another, one violation of human rights after another, it will be almost impossible to remain calm. But Dinges calm tone, incredible evidence, and judicious manner makes the indictment of his book all the more powerful. Anyone worried about the conduct of the United States on the world stage today must read this book.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on November 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
After all the 'moral values' chatter that erupted after the recent American election, a dose of reality can remind one of just how hypocritical the game is, and this excellent account of the Pinochet years, and the actions of the American government to that sordid history, can serve up the facts of the case, to wit, what Americans are capable of, on the record. Since it takes decades to get the facts, we should be wondering what's going on now in this second round of the 'war on terror' and who the successors to Kissinger are. The need for vigilance is crucial as the surge toward the right provokes all the standard systems of rights abuses, the 'mandate' for torture we won't read too much about, except for goofs like Abu Gharib.

The documented history here is first rate journalism and documents in chilling fashion the state terror set in motion to exterminate the leftists in South America. Espcially sordid is the picture of Kissinger colluding here even as he appears to be promoting rights issues, breathtaking hypocrisy.

Know what your government is capable of and fear it isn't getting worse.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Taborda Barreto on March 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a true story of terrorism and international terrorism patronized by the US government, then led by such honest and law-abiding statesmen as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger (I guess Gerald Ford was also there, but permanently asleep). In this case the terrorists were not marxist revolutionaries or religious lunatics, but seven or eight South American rogue states - all of them military dictatorships and impeccable US allies. When in September 1976 the Chilean state terrorists choose Embassy Row, Washington DC, as the background for another assassination (in the person of ex-Chilean foreign minister and ex-ambassador to Washington Orlando Letelier), the US government coughed twice to cover its embarrassment, then coughed a third time, then ordered the US diplomats and secret services to cancel their almost manifest collaboration with the state terrorists, who still had plans to eliminate Ed Koch and other dangerous revolutionaries like him in the USA and Europe. These actions were canceled, but Operation Condor (the serial killings' corporate name) continued secretly at least until 1981. Some of the military have been tried and a few are still in jail now, but Operation Condor's top responsible Augusto Pinochet avoided any punishment till this day and Kissinger, though innocent and free at home, is on the run in half planet Earth.

We still don't know everything about this shocking story, but John Dinges' book The Condor Years is a great breakthrough. The only reviewer here who rates this book four stars tries to absolve the South American military dictatorships from their crimes, saying that they were fighting communism. Hitler always said the same.
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