Agony in the Garden: A Stranger in Central America

Edward R. F. Sheenanm, Author, Sheehan Edward R F, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.45 (362p) ISBN 978-0-395-48906-2
From late 1985 through much of '86, with a return trip to Nicaragua in 1988, the author, who is fluent in Spanish, wandered throughout Central America, immersing himself in the life of the region, interacting with ``anyone, high or low, who cared to talk to me'': government officials, revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries, philosophers and poets, police chiefs and political prisoners, religious leaders and fellow Catholics. Sheehan's ( The Arabs, the Israelis and Kissinger ) attitude toward the church, suffering and redemption is very much in the Graham Greene tradition. Droves of homeless children, for many of whom he bought meals, populate the book (``You can't save them, but you can feed them.''). A former U.S. foreign service officer with experience in Third World countries, he was unsurprised but deeply disturbed in his visits to places where ``misery is the norm'' and torture is ``a growth industry.'' Nicaragua is Sheehan's special interest, although he writes illuminatingly about conditions in Guatemala and El Salvador. Arguing that the Reagan administration is guilty of war crimes against the people of Nicaragua, he describes how the Sandinistas and the contras have wrought much harm against them as well. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
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