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Witness to War Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1985
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"Witness to War" is a difficult book to absorb. The challenging content includes the subject matter of the civil war in El Salvador in the early 1980s (complete with many anecdotes of atrocities), the author's adherence to Quaker principles of pacifism in the face of government brutality, and the involvement of the United States government in funding the death squads of El Salvador -- as well as the United States funding of the relentless state-sanctioned massacres of civilians by the army of El Salvador -- make this one of the most painful books I've ever set out to finish. In addition to the difficult content, "Witness to War" wasn't penned to be a literary work. The prose is straightforward, and the story doesn't use suspense as a plot device. Facts are told in a straightforward manner, details are delivered bluntly, and the result is a raw honesty on the page that is astonishing as well as heartbreaking.
I really love this book. I felt like I took an entire class on the history of El Salvador by reading "Witness to War." The author took so many risks, and sacrificed so much of his personal life, in order to live among the guerrillas of El Salvador for an entire year, caring for the medical needs of civilians (and sometimes, the soldiers -- both the guerrillas and the army POWs captured by the guerrillas) who were injured and killed during this conflict.
"Witness to War" is an amazing achievement. I'm so glad that Dr. Charles Clements journeyed to El Salvador on a personal humanitarian mission, wrote this book, and shared this story with the world. It's a brutally important book to read, full of truths about imperialism, injustice, and resistance, as well as the specific civil war in El Salvador.
"Witness to War" had so much to teach me. I express my profound gratitude for the opportunity to read this great book. Thank you, Dr. Clements, for this truly significant memoir. "Witness to War" is a heartbreaking treasure, a beautiful testament to the goodness and perseverance of the people of El Salvador. I deeply appreciate getting to know this country and its people much better.