A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America

 
9781784784430: A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America

El Salvador and Honduras have had the highest homicide rates in the world over the past ten years. Oscar Martinez, author of The Beast, which was named one of the best books of the year by the Economist and the Financial Times, shares a beautiful and immersive account of life in one of the most violent places on earth. Martinez travels to Nicaraguan fishing towns, southern Mexican brothels where Central American women are trafficked, isolated Guatemalan jungle villages and crime-ridden Salvadoran slums. With his precise and empathetic reporting, he reveals the underbelly of some of the most dangerous places in the world, going undercover to drink with narcos, accompanying police patrols, riding in trafficking boats and hiding out with a gang informer. The result is an unforgettable portrait of a region of fear, helping to explain why migrants have been fleeing the area by the millions.

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About the Author:

Oscar Martinez writes for ElFaro.net, the first online newspaper in Latin America. The original edition of his book Los migrantes que no importan was published in 2010 by Icaria and El Faro, with a second edition by Mexico's sur+ Ediciones in 2012. Martinez is currently writing chronicles and articles for El Faro's project, Sala Negra, investigating gang violence in Latin America. In 2008, Martinez won the Fernando Benitez National Journalism Prize in Mexico, and in 2009, he was awarded the Human Rights Prize at the Jose Simeon Canas Central American University in El Salvador.

Review:

"Martinez draws readers into this complex narrative by alternating between a panoramic social sweep and the beleaguered lives of civilians, victims, gang members, and cops, capturing the multilayered nature of a place whose indigenous traditions are being brutalized by modern criminals who commit murder casually...Smart, angry immersive journalism from an author who warrants wider readership on this side of the border."- Kirkuk Reviews "Ripped from the headlines, these are powerful stories of Central America's chaotic and bloody present, sure to raise awareness among a broad audience of North Americans, whom Martinez refuses to let off the hook. 'The solution?' he asks. 'It's up to you.'" - Library Journal "A haunting portrait of a tragic, complicated part of the world." - Shelf Awareness "The Beast is extraordinary, first, for the courage that Martinez summoned to write it; and, second, for the hidden lives he reveals." - Financial Times (in praise of The Beast) "The graceful, incisive writing lifts The Beast from being merely an impressive feat of reportage into the realm of literature. Mr. Martinez has produced something that is an honorable successor to enduring works like George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier or Jacob Riis's How the Other Half Lives." - New York Times (in praise of The Beast) "The most extraordinary (and harrowing) book I read this year. Beautiful and searing and impossible to put down." - Junot Diaz (in praise of The Beast) "Oscar Martinez deserves praise not only for his efforts, and for what he writes about, but because he writes so very well." - New Yorker "Clearly a wonderful listener-journalism's rarest and most important attribute-and this makes his prose resound with raw authenticity." - Observer "A powerful storyteller and his approach to investigative journalism is closer to anthropological immersion." - Columbia Journalism Review "One of the bravest writers in Latin America, if not the world. He's also one of the best." - Dazed and Confused "Martinez tenaciously reports piece by piece on the accretion of gang-related violence besetting El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala...Martinez's reporting reveals shocking failures of the state-particularly of police and courts-but he avoids tidy lessons, preferring to let the intractable issues stand in all their cold brutality." - Publisher's Weekly

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