cover image Where Is Nicaragua?

Where Is Nicaragua?

Peter Davis. Simon & Schuster, $19.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-54618-2

In this lively, partly subjective narrative, Davis (whose Hearts and Minds is remembered by many as the finest documentary on the war in Vietnam) explores the relationship between Nicaragua and the United States, a relationship he calls ""a play that oscillates between farce and tragedy.'' The book is based on two trips to Nicaragua (1983 and 1986) during which Davis sought out Nicaraguans of every class and political stripe, including President Daniel Ortega and opposition spokesman Miguel Cardinal Obando. The interview with the former is particularly revealing, as Ortega discusses his definition of freedom, calling the American version ``a monster.'' Also interviewed is a stay-behind Marine who was involved in the Great Sandino Chase in the 1920s, whose reminiscences are chilling reminders of Vietnam and may unwittingly describe the kinds of operations American troops soon will conduct again. Davis is successful in conveying the complex, contradictory and unique flavor of la situacion, managing along the way to make some wry observations on a subject ordinarily treated with the utmost somberness. (April)