- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (February 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805093230
- ISBN-13: 978-0805093230
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,438,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War Hardcover – February 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1987, Unferth set off to Central America with her idealistic boyfriend, George, determined to join "the revolution." Any revolution would do. In her deft account, Unferth retraces their journey, beginning in Guatemala and working north. Though the duo weren't able to play an active role until they reached violent El Salvador, where they cared for children literally caught in the middle of a civil war, took part in protests, and interviewed priests about assassinations, the couple also wrestled with an inner revolution—their relationship. Bonded by frequent interrogations from soldiers, ever-present illnesses, heat, and gigantic, "evil" spiders, the two grew close, only to find their bond dissolve as time wore on and they made their way home. Though her journey was certainly dramatic, Unferth avoids melodrama and doesn't dwell on particularly nasty aspects; her focus is on the story, and in that arena, she excels with a wry, self-deprecating voice that propels the tale forward. Though her emotional economy (she never fully explores her complicated relationship with her family) gives the book an unfinished quality that can be frustrating, Unferth's prose is a pleasure to read. (Feb.)
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Unferth has accrued praise and awards for her cutting-edge fiction, and now readers will discover the origin of her distinct sensibility in this disarmingly forthright chronicle of a dangerously quixotic sojourn. Unferth dropped out of college during her freshman year to accompany her boyfriend, George, to El Salvador and Nicaragua, where they planned to join the Revolution. It was 1987, and these zealous misfit-innocents were drawn to the radiance of liberation theology. Two gauche, earnest, and stoic white kids with some Spanish and no understanding of politics, war, or poverty, Unferth and George barely survived their run-ins with machine-gun-toting soldiers, gigantic spiders, vicious microbes, thieves, activists, journalists, priests, and prostitutes. As wild and gnarly as this tale of youthful hubris is, Unferth’s prose remains as sure and slicing as a machete, clearing a path through a jungle of emotions. As Unferth revisits the appalling civil wars of Central America in her rueful and intoxicating account of a mad adventure and crazily improvised rites of initiation into selfhood, she creates a memoir of unique lucidity, wit, and power. --Donna Seaman
Top Customer Reviews
The book reads very quickly--the prose style is very minimalist--very fitting for the setting/scenes of the story. It didn't blow me out out of the water, but it seems to me the sort of thing you have to do at least once. Much like going off to join a revolution.
I totally relate to this book and had similar ideas of my own to go join the Revolution. My boyfriend (who later became my husband, then my ex) was Salvadoran so he knew it was no joking matter to go join a guerrilla group or any other group during the civil wars in Central and South America.
We even had some friends who were in a punk rock band that went to Nicaragua after the Revolution. The more I heard, the more I wanted to go. I finally did go to El Salvador, but my boyfriend's family made sure I didn't get into any really bad situations.
It's interesting that of all the people I met who had been to Nicaragua, not one of them told me the raw truth that Unferth tells here. I had no idea that it would have been so difficult! Yes, I knew there were very young soldiers who were indoctrinated to believe anyone who cared about the people were Communists (this was how it was in El Salvador). I knew that the Sandinistas were mostly young idealists who knew what hunger and violence was like (El Salvador too, that's how both sides were able to recruit so many teens). But I never knew about the day to day difficulties of lack of food, money and jobs, and the abundance of diseases that could KILL you!
Unferth bares her soul like few have done, especially as it relates to Central America, idealists and trying to understand another culture.Read more ›
It's 1987, two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas have deposed the Somoza family but struggle to feed their people and hold back the Contras. The bloody civil war in El Salvador is approaching its crisis. Honduran and Guatemalan death squads routinely gun down campesinos in the mountains, insisting they are insurgents. Manuel Noriega is el presidente of Panama--for a little while longer.
"Dear Mom and Dad," Debbie writes from Nogales, Texas. "I'm sorry to tell you in this way, but I've left school and am going to help foment the revolution. I am a Christian now and I have been called by God. Due to the layout of the land, we are taking the bus."
Please read the rest of this review at [...]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Two things stand out for me about this book: 1) The author was so clueless at a young age and later that it was frightening, and 2) The reader gets no real feeling for what it was... Read morePublished on February 28, 2013 by Frank Bruno
I would love this book 1 million stars- even though I have never read it- the bourgeois capitalistic pigs who read it and get a mental masturbation off of it might find it... Read morePublished on July 17, 2012 by jim
In 1987 Deb and her boyfriend George decide that their main ambition was to help the revolution, they had wanted to go to Cuba but didn't know how to get there as it was... Read morePublished on April 1, 2012 by Mrs. C. Colbert
Several good descriptions of the milieu but ultimately unrepresentative of much beyond one woman's knack for self-absorption within a tumultous place and time. Read morePublished on March 5, 2012 by Kate Ryan
I can't remember why I downloaded this e-book. Maybe it was after reading a good review. Anyway, it was there on my Kindle contents page and while I was on a trip, I decided to... Read morePublished on April 17, 2011 by tess gerritsen
Picture yourself 18 years old, a freshman in college and on your own for the first time in your life. Read morePublished on March 12, 2011 by Mary Bookhounds