Torn from the World: A Guerilla’s Escape from a Secret Prison in Mexico

John Gibler. City Lights, $16.95 trade paper (260p) ISBN 978-0-872-86752-9
Journalist Gibler (I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us) presents a raw and stirring portrait of Andrés Tzompaxtle Tecpile, a member of the Popular Revolutionary Army, a guerrilla group in Guerrero, Mexico, who survived kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture by the Mexican army. In October of 1996, Tzompaxtle was kidnapped and taken to a secret prison, where for four mouths he was beaten and repeatedly tortured by electric shocks in an effort to coerce out of him information about his group’s whereabouts. Drawing from numerous interviews with Tzompaxtle and his family, as well as others involved in Mexico’s underground resistance, Gibler constructs an account of the entire ordeal including Tzompaxtle’s unlikely escape, which he presumed was a suicide mission, and his continued clandestine fight “against a criminal state” in the years since. In his telling of Tzompaxtle’s story, Gibler reflects on the economically and politically deprived state of Guerrero, the decades-long struggle between armed resistance and Mexico’s repressive government, and to what extent he can write about violence without perpetuating it. Gibler’s fervent glimpse into Mexico’s underground succeeds in his goal to bring to light the struggles of the oppressed and traumatized people there. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-87286-783-3
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