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A lexicon of terror : Argentina and the legacies of torture /
Marguerite Feitlowitz.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
description
xvii, 302 p. : ill.
ISBN
0195106350
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
isbn
0195106350
catalogue key
1936968
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Marguerite Feitlowitz taught writing and literary translation at Harvard University from 1993-1999. Her many awards include two Fulbright Fellowships to Argentina and a Mary Ingram Bunting Fellowship in Nonfiction.
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-11:
Feitlowitz has written a chilling indictment of Argentina's sadistic "Dirty War" military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Anyone suspected of opposition to the regime could be kidnapped and tortured to death, becoming, in the distorted language of the dictatorship, one who "disappeared." It was enough to be listed in the address book of another suspect to be dragged away to "intense therapy," savage torture sessions supervised by physicians in which the victims ended up, if they survived, having their stomachs slit open and dumped from Air Force planes into the sea. In the "treatment" centers, prisoners were kept blindfolded, often for months, in "tubos," cells too low for them to stand or sit up straight. This harrowing study, by a Harvard linguistics scholar, probes the depths to which the regime sank. Basing her work on extensive interviews with survivors forced to live among their torturers in the aftermath of a premature amnesty provided by the postmilitary government, Feitlowitz painfully reconstructs that bleak period in Argentine history characterized by a paralysis of the collective consciousness of the country's elite, which did nothing to stop the brutality, not even to protest passively. A disturbing and terribly important study. All levels. R. M. Levine; University of Miami
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-04-15:
During the past few years, many volumes have been written about the difficult period in Argentina's recent history called the "Dirty War." During that period of military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983, thousands of Argentineans were arrested, imprisoned, and declared missing or desaparecidos ("the disappeared"). Feitlowitz (writing, Harvard Univ.) approaches the subject in a unique and fascinating way by examining how language was used and changed because of what people experienced. The author interviewed hundreds of participants and tells her story through personal descriptions and examining language transformations. Consequently, the book provides an emotional and vivid description of events, uses new approaches, and suggests conclusions not found in other volumes on this period of Argentine history. An important book for college and academic Latin America collections.‘Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A magisterial work on a great subject. This is a book everyone should read."--Susan Sontag
"A magisterial work on a great subject. This is a book everyone shouldread."--Susan Sontag
"Approaches the subject in a unique and fascinating way by examining how language was used and changed because of what people experienced.... The book provides and emotional and vivid description of events, uses new approaches,a dn suggests conclusions not found in other vlumes on this periodof Argentine history. An important book for college and academic Latin America collections."--Library Journal
"Approaches the subject in a unique and fascinating way by examining howlanguage was used and changed because of what people experienced.... The bookprovides and emotional and vivid description of events, uses new approaches,a dnsuggests conclusions not found in other vlumes on this period of Argentinehistory. An important book for college and academic Latin Americacollections."--Library Journal
"A searing account of the Argentine Dirty War which claimed over 30,000 lives between 1976 and 1983.... Ms. Feitlowitz captures the guilt of the silent and acquiescent in a nation where many either refuse to recognize the enormity of what happened or argue in anger, or fear, that the past isbest forgotten.... her remarkable book bears painful witness to a tragedy that must not be forgotten."--The New York Review of Books
"A searing account of the Argentine Dirty War which claimed over 30,000lives between 1976 and 1983.... Ms. Feitlowitz captures the guilt of the silentand acquiescent in a nation where many either refuse to recognize the enormityof what happened or argue in anger, or fear, that the past is best forgotten....her remarkable book bears painful witness to a tragedy that must not beforgotten."--The New York Review of Books
"A well-researched, intimate and perceptive portrait of an Argentina still struggling with the crimes of the "dirty war" that ended nearly 20 years ago."--The New York Times Book Review
"A well-researched, intimate and perceptive portrait of an Argentina stillstruggling with the crimes of the "dirty war" that ended nearly 20 yearsago."--The New York Times Book Review
"Marguerite Feitlowtiz's impressive account of the Argentinean horror (1976-1983) is lucid, authoritative, and appalling. No ghastly stone is left unturned. The murderers walk free, of course, pardoned under an amnesty. The story Marguerite Feitlowtiz tells is both profoundly disgusting and quite heartbreaking."--Harold Pinter
"Marguerite Feitlowtiz's impressive account of the Argentinean horror (1976-1983) is lucid, authoritative, and appalling. No ghastly stone is left unturned. The murderers walk free, of course, pardoned under an amnesty. The story Marguerite Feitlowtiz tells is both profoundly disgusting andquite heartbreaking."--Harold Pinter
"Marguerite Feitlowtiz's impressive account of the Argentinean horror(1976-1983) is lucid, authoritative, and appalling. No ghastly stone is leftunturned. The murderers walk free, of course, pardoned under an amnesty. Thestory Marguerite Feitlowtiz tells is both profoundly disgusting and quiteheartbreaking."--Harold Pinter
"Ms. Feitlowitz does an excellent job of combining moving, personal accounts of the Dirty War with insightful glimpses into the complexity of current events in Argentina. Her book thoughtfully examines the important links between the Argentine people's struggle to remember, and heal, pastatrocities with today's fight to establish accountability and preserve basic democratic rights, including freedom of expression." --Dr. Jose Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch/Americas
"Ms. Feitlowitz does an excellent job of combining moving, personalaccounts of the Dirty War with insightful glimpses into the complexity ofcurrent events in Argentina. Her book thoughtfully examines the important linksbetween the Argentine people's struggle to remember, and heal, past atrocitieswith today's fight to establish accountability and preserve basic democraticrights, including freedom of expression." --Dr. Jose Miguel Vivanco, ExecutiveDirector, Human Rights Watch/Americas
"Nuanced and harrowing."--California Lawyer
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, March 1998
Library Journal, April 1998
Los Angeles Times, June 1998
Choice, November 1998
New York Times Book Review, October 1999
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Exposing the nightmare of sadism, paranoia and deception the military dictatorship unleashed on the Argentine people, this text explores the perversion of language under state terrorism.
Long Description
"We were all out in la charca, and there they were, coming over the ridge, a battalion ready for war, against a schoolhut full of children." Tanks roaring over farmlands, pregnant mothers tortured, their babies stolen and sold on the black market, homes raided in the dead of night, ordinary citizens kidnapped and never seen again--such were the horrors of Argentina's Dirty War. Now, in A Lexicon of Terror, Marguerite Feitlowitz fully exposes the nightmare of sadism, paranoia, and deception the military dictatorship unleashed on the Argentine people, a nightmare that would claim over 30,000 civilians from 1976 to 1983 and whose leaders were recently issued warrants by a Spanish court for the crime of genocide. Feitlowitz explores the perversion of language under state terrorism, both as it's used to conceal and confuse ("The Parliament must be disbanded to rejuvenate democracy") and to domesticate torture and murder. Thus, citizens kidnapped and held in secret concentration camps were "disappeared"; torture was referred to as "intensive therapy"; prisoners thrown alive from airplanes over the ocean were called "fish food." Based on six years of research and moving interviews with peasants, intellectuals, activists, and bystanders, A Lexicon of Terror examines the full impact of this catastrophic period from its inception to the present, in which former torturers, having been pardoned and released from prison, live side by side with those they tortured. Passionately written and impossible to put down, Feitlowitz shows us both the horror of the war and the heroism of those who resisted and survived--their courage, their endurance, their eloquent refusal to be dehumanized in the face of torments even Dante could not have imagined.
Main Description
"We were all out in la charca, and there they were, coming over the ridge, a battalion ready for war, against a schoolhut full of children." Tanks roaring over farmlands, pregnant mothers tortured, their babies stolen and sold on the black market, homes raided in the dead of night, ordinarycitizens kidnapped and never seen again--such were the horrors of Argentina's Dirty War. Now, in A Lexicon of Terror, Marguerite Feitlowitz fully exposes the nightmare of sadism, paranoia, and deception the military dictatorship unleashed on the Argentine people, a nightmare that would claimover 30,000 civilians from 1976 to 1983 and whose leaders were recently issued warrants by a Spanish court for the crime of genocide. Feitlowitz explores the perversion of language under state terrorism, both as it's used to conceal and confuse ("The Parliament must be disbanded to rejuvenatedemocracy") and to domesticate torture and murder. Thus, citizens kidnapped and held in secret concentration camps were "disappeared"; torture was referred to as "intensive therapy"; prisoners thrown alive from airplanes over the ocean were called "fish food." Based on six years of research andmoving interviews with peasants, intellectuals, activists, and bystanders, A Lexicon of Terror examines the full impact of this catastrophic period from its inception to the present, in which former torturers, having been pardoned and released from prison, live side by side with those they tortured. Passionately written and impossible to put down, Feitlowitz shows us both the horror of the war and the heroism of those who resisted and survived--their courage, their endurance, their eloquent refusal to be dehumanized in the face of torments even Dante could not have imagined.
Main Description
"We were all out in la charca, and there they were, coming over the ridge, a battalion ready for war, against a schoolhut full of children." Tanks roaring over farmlands, pregnant mothers tortured, their babies stolen and sold on the black market, homes raided in the dead of night,ordinary citizens kidnapped and never seen again--such were the horrors of Argentina's Dirty War. Now, in A Lexicon of Terror, Marguerite Feitlowitz fully exposes the nightmare of sadism, paranoia, and deception the military dictatorship unleashed on the Argentine people, a nightmare that wouldclaim over 30,000 civilians from 1976 to 1983 and whose leaders were recently issued warrants by a Spanish court for the crime of genocide. Feitlowitz explores the perversion of language under state terrorism, both as it's used to conceal and confuse ("The Parliament must be disbanded to rejuvenatedemocracy") and to domesticate torture and murder. Thus, citizens kidnapped and held in secret concentration camps were "disappeared"; torture was referred to as "intensive therapy"; prisoners thrown alive from airplanes over the ocean were called "fish food." Based on six years of research andmoving interviews with peasants, intellectuals, activists, and bystanders, A Lexicon of Terror examines the full impact of this catastrophic period from its inception to the present, in which former torturers, having been pardoned and released from prison, live side by side with those they tortured. Passionately written and impossible to put down, Feitlowitz shows us both the horror of the war and the heroism of those who resisted and survived--their courage, their endurance, their eloquent refusal to be dehumanized in the face of torments even Dante could not have imagined.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xv
Introduction: The Gentlemen's Coupp. 1
A Lexicon of Terrorp. 19
Night and Fogp. 63
"Life Here Is Normal"p. 89
The Land Mournethp. 110
The House of the Blindp. 149
"The Scilingo Effect" The Past is a Predatorp. 193
Notesp. 257
Selected Bibliographyp. 288
Indexp. 294
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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