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The Flight: Confessions of an Argentine Dirty Warrior

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1565840096
ISBN-10: 1565840097
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Francisco Silingo was a junior naval officer in the Argentinean military dictatorship of the 1970s. Convinced by his superiors that extreme measures were essential in defending Argentina from subversives, he pushed drugged political prisoners out of airplanes into the Atlantic Ocean. Silingo related his experiences to author Horacio Verbitsky because his former commanders began denying such practices ever occurred--though they had gone to great lengths to justify them to their men. This book caused outrage in Argentina in 1995, when nearly 9,000 of the "disappeared" remain unaccounted for.

From Publishers Weekly

A bestseller in Argentina, this electrifying document is the businesslike confessional of retired Lieutenant Commander Adolfo Scilingo, who admits to participating in the Argentine military dictatorship's campaign of torture and murder between 1976 and 1983. In extensive interviews, Scilingo tells Argentine journalist Verbitsky how he took part in "aerial transports"?throwing heavily sedated, naked political prisoners out of airplanes into the Atlantic Ocean. Under Verbitsky's relentless cross-examination, Scilingo also admits that he joined in a kidnapping and observed a prisoner being tortured. Aerial executions of the regime's opponents, he charges, were approved by Church authorities, and a chaplain comforted the officers after their missions. In the introduction, Mendez, general counsel for Human Rights Watch, notes that hundreds of known torturers have avoided prosecution thanks to the Argentine military's clout, and more than 9000 families still do not know the fate of loved ones. Translation rights: Planeta Argentina, Buenos Aires.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (August 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565840097
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565840096
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is very helpful in the effort to understand the psychology behind the Dirty War in Argentina. Horacio Verbitsky is a well known authority on this time, since he was pursued by the government during the war and since. The journalistic bravery he has shown certainly merit recognition. His pointed questions to war criminal Francisco Scilingo highlight this telling work. The insights will turn your stomach and blow your mind. The Flight reinforces the notion that the military in any country must have full civilian oversight. The Flight is a not a gentle reminder of this vital concept.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "moneypenny62" on February 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who wants to understand what went through the minds of the torturers, and comprehend how they could perpetuate their atrocities needs to read this deeply moving book. The grubbiness, the gangsterliness, the banality, the bureaucracy and the horror are conveyed in their true magnitude. Yet there is a detachment about it that adds to its credibility. This book is not about left or right, it condemns no political ideology, it doesn't blame the USA - it just tells us what happened and explores deeply how it could happen. I read this book and could not get its vivid presence out of my head for days. Like some psychological trauma, I needed to talk it over afterward.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Veronica Martino on May 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Verbitsky transcribes Scilingo's confession regarding the "flights" in which he participated during Argentina's dirty war, between 1976-83. The trivialization of his testimony gives the reader insight on how "desensitized" to their own excesses, the military had become by the time their "deed" was over. Scilingo was the first naval officer to admit to the military's violation of human rights during the war against "subversives". He exempts himself of responsibility by claiming that in the process of carrying out orders from the commanders in charge,the officers themselves, had also become victims of the process. He provides details involving the "loading" of the planes from which live bodies were thrown into the South Atlantic Ocean. A worthwhile tool in making an assessment on the entire story...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By HardyBoy64 VINE VOICE on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read several books on this subject matter, I expected THE FLIGHT to provide an in-depth insider's point of view of the events in question. I really didn't learn anything new here. And I agree with the other reviewer who said that this translation is terrible. There are several awkward translations of key terms, such as "final stop" for "punto final", the law prohibiting further legal action taken against the military leaders after a certain date. Try Feitlowitz's "A Lexicon of Terror" instead.
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Format: Hardcover
For those who do not know the real story of "El Perro" Verbitsky's own collaboration with the Argentine armed forces during the so-called dirty "war," I suggest readers who can read Spanish check out "Horacio Verbitsky, tribulaciones de un "doble agente; EL DÍA QUE LA FUERZA AÉREA LE AGRADECIÓ POR SUS SERVICIOS) ([...]

Or my own, "Pope Francis and some still dirty secrets from Argentina's so-called dirty 'war;' When the accuser should stand among the accused" ([...]

As Jacobo Timerman (who I worked with at Newsweek) once commented to me, how was it that his former employee Verbitsky, well known as a former Montonero intelligence official, was allowed to live undisturbed in Buenos Aires during the worst of the military repression?

To which I would add: How was it that Verbitsky could be mentioned, by name, in a book he ghostwrote while supposedly in clandestinity that was published by the Air Force (in 1979) and read by the same vicious military he claimed to oppose in armed struggle, and not be bothered?

Readers, beware!
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Format: Hardcover
For those who do not know the real story of "El Perro" Verbitsky's own collaboration with the Argentine armed forces during the so-called dirty "war," I suggest readers who can read Spanish check out "Horacio Verbitsky, tribulaciones de un "doble agente; EL DÍA QUE LA FUERZA AÉREA LE AGRADECIÓ POR SUS SERVICIOS) ([...]

Or my own, "Pope Francis and some still dirty secrets from Argentina's so-called dirty 'war;' When the accuser should stand among the accused" ([...]

As Jacobo Timerman (who I worked with at Newsweek) once commented to me, how was it that his former employee Verbitsky, well known as a former Montonero intelligence official, was allowed to live undisturbed in Buenos Aires during the worst of the military repression?

To which I would add: How was it that Verbitsky could be mentioned, by name, in a book he ghostwrote while supposedly in clandestinity that was published by the Air Force (in 1979) and read by the same vicious military he claimed to oppose in armed struggle, and not be bothered?

Readers, beware!
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