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Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1859843604
ISBN-10: 1859843603
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this brief yet expertly crafted remembrance, veteran American journalist and Nation contributing editor Cooper traces the fate of Chile from the overthrow in 1973 of its democratically elected Marxist president, Salvador Allende, to today. Cooper is no impartial observer. As a young man he was Allende's translator and shared his radical visions. (He also married into a Chilean family.) But it is the underlying sadness of crushed hopes and demolished dreams, conveyed in the crisp prose of a skilled observer, that makes this tale so compelling. Cooper takes the reader through the last desperate days of Allende's rule and the "dizzying dance of chaos and blood" of his overthrow. He reports on the dreary and dangerous nature of life in Chile in the 1970s and 1980s under the dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. On returning to Chile in the 1990s, Cooper finds that while democracy has been restored, the political soul of the nation has been lost to a cynical individualism and mindless consumerism, stirred only by the arrest of Pinochet in England for the human rights violations of his regime. He finds in Chile an unwillingness to confront the past and remarks that without doing so the country can never really leave that past behind. In the end, this is a eulogy for the lost utopian longings of Chile, of Cooper himself and of so many of his generation. He writes, "Chile was not the prelude to my generation's accomplishments [but] our political high water mark." Cooper offers engaged reporting at its best. (Jan.)Forecast: Cooper's pro-Allende stance will mark this as a book for readers whose hearts remain on the left; the author's readers at the Nation, for instance, will find this account simpatico. Recent headlines regarding Pinochet will help as well.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Cooper calls this an "anti-memoir" because, he says, a memoir attempts to reassemble parts of a "forgotten or fading past," but in Chile the past has been "erased as if the internal magnets of historical retention...ha[ve] been given a massive jolt of electro-shock." Cooper (Roll Over Che Guevara: Travels of a Radical Reporter), a contributing editor to The Nation, was a translator for Salvador Allende until the Socialist democracy of Chile was overthrown by General Pinochet's coup in 1973. The author details his experiences and emotions during the days leading up to and immediately after the coup. He writes with dismay of the repression and economic inequity he has found on occasional visits back to Chile and laments the apparent refusal of the Chilean people to acknowledge the freedom and promise that the Allende government offered. Current conditions in Chile allow for historical examination of the Allende period and the brutality of the Pinochet era, and Cooper has written this "anti-memoir" to assist with both processes. Recommended for libraries with significant Latin American Studies collections.DJill Ortner, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (June 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859843603
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859843604
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is simply the best book I have read on the whole Chile experience, and one of the best books I have read this year. I have had a curiosity about the Allende government for years and could never fully satisfy it until now. Everything I had previously read was a dry, distant accounting. Cooper's involvement as Allende's translator was direct and passionate and he fully transmits that emotion and drama to the reader. He is obviously a highly talented journalist and the material comes so alive in his hands. This is literary journalism at its best-- right up there with Richzard Kapucinski, Marhsall Frady and George Orwell.
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Format: Hardcover
I am unusually critical of critical of books written about Chile by Americans, but Marc Cooper's account is perfect. I lived in Chile, before and after the Allende Government and the Coup, and often find I read these books grumbling about how they authors don't really know what they are writing about. Things aren't right. But not this book. This time I found myself reading and, sometimes, crying, but still feeling a kinship with the author and somehow heartened that the tragedies he portrays have not been entirely forgotten.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pity the poor Chilean who had this government foisted upon by the United States. No wonder many people worldwide see the US as the devil republic. A great book showing the cruelty of a military government and the price paid by Chile when a legitimate elected government was overthrown by American imperialism. Sound familiar?
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Format: Hardcover
Marc Cooper, contributing editor to that fine periodical The Nation, was twenty years old when he arrived in Chile in 1971 after being kicked out of the California higher education system by govenor Ronald Reagan for his anti-war activities. At the time of the September 11 1973 coup he was a translator for president Allende. This book is made up of notes he made while living in Chile an in visits to it since. It is very well written.
When he arrived in Chile, Nixon had ordered "make the economy scream," CIA money began pouring into opposition media outlets, parlimentarians, far right organizations and military officers, general Rene Schneider had been assasinated and so on. But Allende had the support of the poor majority and his party won handily congressional elections in March 1973. Bands of peasants, impatient that the opposition controlled congress was blocking land reform, took to seizing estates and dividing them amongst themselves. When the military attempted a coup in late June 1973, Allende urged workers to seize control of their workplaces which they did, to the consternation of the communist party, always among the most horrified whenever genuine socialism emerges (as they were during the civil war in Spain). About a week before the coup, a half a million workers took to the streets in support of Allende. But the U.S. backed military had the guns and they acted.
Over the next seventeen years, Chileans experienced massive terror. After ten years of neoliberal economics, the economy was on the verge of collapse in 1983, eliciting severe unrest from virtually all of Chile's classes and terrorism in response, particularly against the poor, from Pinochet.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw Marc Cooper at a reading in Portland and was very taken by his talk on Chile and human rights, especially his reflections on the recovery of historical memory. I bought Pinochet and Me and wound up reading it one sitting. I was emotionally moved and felt ashamed for what my country did to Chile and its people. This is a very very good book.
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Format: Paperback
Many of the reviewers below me point out that Pinochet strengthened the economy in Chile to the level where it became one of the more prosperous states on the subcontinent. He sure did. What's more, Mussolini made the trains run on time, Stalin ran a tight security service and Hitler sure did make some good roads.

Please.

Allende was elected by a narrow margin, so he deserved to be overthrown? Fair enough - let's kill old Bushy boy too, since he was elected by a very narrow margin. What Cooper takes aim at primarily in this book is this notion that Pinochet's brand of "fascism" was good fascism - that it's OK to, say, train alsatians to rape prisoners if they were a bit leftist and their candidate had screwed up the economy.

No economy is so important that mass murder is an acceptable way to rectify it. The fact that so many people on the right refuse to accept this simple moral fact makes me worry for the free West, and how much longer it's going to be free for if we can't acknowledge a simple thing like mass murder being morally wrong.

Bravo, Cooper, you've upset the pinheads.
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good price, fast delivery
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