Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs and Revolution in the Americas

Roberto Lovato. HarperCollins, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-293847-3
Salvadoran-American journalist Lovato recounts in this anguished memoir his 2015 trip to El Salvador to investigate the country’s horrific gang wars. Along the way, he visits mass graves, and speaks with a gang chieftain enamored of the Hunger Games novels and a police official who hints at extrajudicial executions of gang suspects. In Lovato’s telling, the carnage is an American tragedy: El Salvador’s current gangs were founded in California by refugees from the country’s civil war in the 1980s, in which thousands of civilians were killed by the U.S.-backed military and right-wing death squads battling FMLN insurgents. It’s also a personal story as he revisits his work with the FMLN and a love affair with a traveling companion. He weaves in the troubled saga of his father, who as a boy in 1932 witnessed La Matanza, a massacre of thousands of Salvadoran peasants and Indigenous people by an earlier generation of death squads. Mixing fraught reminiscence with vivid reportage—his driver, a Salvadoran Army veteran, recalls a mission to recover the corpses of comrades: “When we started picking them up, we yanked the meat right off them, like when you have a fried fish and the skin and meat fall right off”—Lovato delivers an intimate, gripping portrait of El Salvador’s agony. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/07/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-293848-0
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