A Miracle, a Universe: Settlin

Lawrence Weschler, Author
Lawrence Weschler, Author Pantheon Books $22.95 (293p) ISBN 978-0-394-58207-8
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
After the demise of Brazil's repressive military regime, a group of ex-prisoners, all former torture victims, banded together to document their captors' atrocities--arbitrary arrests and ``disappearances,'' the torture of thousands, murders. Their 1985 book, which holds the U.S. responsible for helping to create Brazil's dictatorship, became a bestseller in that country. In the first half of his dispassionate report, New Yorker staff writer Wechsler records his conversations with the survivors. Brazil's one-time torturers, he notes, have risen to positions of power. In the book's second half, he describes Uruguay's massive but unsuccessful petition campaign--spearheaded by ex-torture victims and human rights activists--to bring to justice the toppled Uruguayan military regime's butchers. Though Wechsler underestimates the U.S. role in reversing Uruguay's democracy, he points out that the State Department issued bland assurances that the police state in Uruguay was a temporary response to an emergency situation. (Apr.)
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