@READ PDF Ì Salvador ð eBook or E-pub free

Ah, Madame Didion, how I love the way you take something visceral and awful, and write it as if you were observing it from a bathysphere, smirking and chain smoking El Salvador, as we know knew, is was a wreck The point is that, as a privileged American, you can t possibly claim to feel what the people are feeling, or to write objectively about a situation that your own government, via its local proxy, refuses to let you examine objectively Instead, the only way to approach the situation honestly in the moment is to contemplate its futility and horror from a distance Preferably from inside your bathysphere. Fine writing and terrifically atmospheric, but at thirty years remove, Didion s weary and wary apolitical stance her insistence that it s impossible to tell what s happening or who s responsible and that the violence is all pretty much aimless feels less like insight andlike giving up Having just read the remarkable Blood of Brothers Life and War in Nicaragua, this felt slight and nearly trite. @READ PDF ç Salvador õ Terror Is The Given Of The Place The Place Is El Salvador In , At The Ghastly Height Of Its Civil War The Writer Is Joan Didion, Who Delivers An Anatomy Of That Country S Particular Brand Of Terror Its Mechanisms, Rationales, And Intimate Relation To United States Foreign PolicyAs Ash Travels From Battlefields To Body Dumps, Interviews A Puppet President, And Considers The Distinctly Salvadoran Grammar Of The Verb To Disappear, Didion Gives Us A Book That Is Germane To Any Country In Which Bloodshed Has Become A Standard Tool Of Politics I ve always been in love with Joan Didion s reportage, with the dry, affectless, distanced language that suddenly, powerfully, yields razor sharp insights Salvador is the finest of her post 1960s writing a picture of a ghostly, fear haunted country at the beginning of the 1980s Didion catches the emptiness of official language and press releases, the utter and all consuming cynicism of a society where conspiracy is assumed and random death a fact of daily life, the empty streets and villages haunted by jeeps full of killers and where certain corners and vacant fields are known body dumps If you read this, listen to Bruce Cockburn sing If I Had A Rocket Launcher in the background it s the only song that catches a trace of Central America in the nightmare years of the early and mid 1980s Salvador s politics are clear, but not designed to be a polemic or an expose Didion leaves you with something muchdisturbing. During the Reagan administration the United States committed itself to a policy of rollback as regards populist movements, particularly in the Americas We invaded Grenada and created proxy armies in Costa Rica and Honduras while attempting the overthrow of Nicaragua Unremarkably, we supported the dictatorships of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador against popular insurgencies.During this segment of the eighties I was very active politically, both with the Socialist Party and with solidarity groups at my school, Loyola University Chicago It was like VietNam all over again, like high school and college, except this time, with the draft inactive, people were generally less concerned As during our adventures in Southeast Asia, I read quite a deal about the history and politics of Central and South America during this period.Didion s book was purchased in the eighties, but sat unread for over a decade It was not a history or a work of political science, so it didn t seem so vital Besides, Didion was just a name to me, not someone I was into reading Getting around to it years later was in part an exercise in reminiscence, in part the result of having befriended a Salvadoran temporarily resident in Chicago.In fact, although based only upon her own reading and a mere two weeks in the country, Salvador is a good, albeit impressionistic, book Short, it reads like one of the current events essays one appreciates in the New York Review of Books Indeed, I wouldn t be surprised if it had appeared in some form either there or in The New Yorker Most memorable at this juncture is her description of the cliff outside the capital below which were the tossed, bloated bodies of suspected communists. Okay, it is perhaps unfair to expect of what is clearly a minor work like Salvador the same thoroughgoing insight that Didion displays in her major non fiction books like Slouching Toward Bethlehem and The White Album That said, I was not impressed by this book Salvador made me realize that Didion is not, in fact, a natural reporter She is too reclusive, too depressive, and does not seem to thrive on human interaction and experience the way born reporters do This didn t matter for Slouching Toward Bethlehem, because it was essentially crticism, in which Didion could get by on her brilliant intelligence and total cultural mastery Not so for Salvador, in which Didion s mordant wit sours into mere cynicism.In order to be successful investigating a foreign culture, Didion would have to want to actually engage with that culture But that is not really what she wants to do here Instead, Didion sits in her hotel room, getting duly depressed by El Salvador and American foreign policy This is not edifying.The problem is highlighted in a passage toward the end of the book, when Didion makes a rare foray into the country itself, this time to a sort of improvised indigenous crafts fair Didion finds much to be disgusted about here, primarily the phony nature and cultural poverty of the whole thing This is fine, but at this point I would expect someone reporting on this event, however stage managed it might be, to attempt conversation with some of the participants Instead, Didion is content to tell us her take on things jaded disgust and render the indigenous folk with a sort of murky speculation that failed to illuminate her supposed subject This was less journalism andan exercise in kneejerk malaise. If I had read this book in the context of my Latin American history class, I would have appreciated its perspective The book is a valuable work of current events, or at least it was in the 80 s when it was published, but as a work of literature, I was unimpressed The 107 page book is filled with poorly integrated block quotes that could have been cut down There s hardly a story in the book As a reader, I was unsure what the narrator was doing in El Salvador in the first place I feel like she should have made herselfof a character to develop tension etc If she was going forof a journalistic approach, then she should have left herself out of it altogether It also would have helped to get a lotof the history of the country to provide a context for the events described I don t think the average person has much background knowledge about El Salvador. Joan Didion s nonfiction reportage can be tough to read Salvador is no exception My difficulty isn t with her subject matter, although it can be grim as it is here or simply excruciating as in her two most recent books covering the deaths of her husband and then her daughter It is because she produces such beautiful, fully formed and precisely balanced sentences that one at least this one can get bogged down in marveling at their perfection She portrays the sense of anomie, fear and dread that accompanied one everywhere in El Salvador in the 1980s so well it could cause post traumatic stress in anyone who was there Extraordinary book from a great American author. Didion s prose is precise and exquisite, but I struggled with her interpretation of her experience She argues against continued U.S involvement in El Salvador s civil war, which seems like the right argument, but one based primarily on her fear for her own safety understandable but not actually relevant to the formation of U.S policy and secondarily on her complete dismissal of the value of Salvadoran culture and, ultimately, Salvadoran lives Her story covers a two week time period during which she overgeneralizes her own terror as the experience that all Salvadoran citizens must be having, yet the only Salvadorans whose stories she recounts are the ones currently in power who are likely afraid but for different reasons than Didion and a few besieged writers who, admittedly, are likely experiencing a fear very similar to Didion s except perhaps evenintense since they can t easily leave the country In addition, she criticizes the quality of the cultural artifacts she encounters crafts, dances, religious ceremonies and informs us that El Salvador has always been a frontier, even before the Spaniards arrived The great Mesoamerican cultures penetrated this far south only shallowly The great South American cultures thrust this far north only sporadically It s hard for me not to interpret such statements as dismissive If no self respecting culture has ever invested in it, why should los norteamericanos Much of her argument derives from the slipperiness of the language used by Salvadoran leaders and U.S diplomats alike that purposefully obfuscates both the war and its outcomes Readers of Latin American literature will be familiar with these examples in their form if not their details The work is important because of the time Cold War and audience American general public for whom she published Her work certainly demands that readers becomecritical of Cold War rhetoric and diplomatic decisions, but while she argues against some of the tools of American imperialism, Didion is unable to free herself from the inherent chauvinism on which that imperialism relies The contradiction makes for a bizarre yet thought provoking read. If I were just judging Joan Didion s prose, it would be 5 stars every time But a few things about Salvador kept me from giving this book a 5 star rating.But first, a disclaimer I m half Salvadoran My American father and Salvadoran mother met in El Salvador and married in 77 and I was born in 79 in the States, just a few months after my parents decided to come back here That said, I ve never really spoken to them about the war I ve only actually only visited the country once, as a child, while the war was still going on But my entire extended family continued to live there through the war and still do today.So I come to the book with some ideas in my head about pre Civil War El Salvador, as well as some knowledge of what happened both after Didion wrote this book and, even later, after the war ended.As a snapshot, this is probably a somewhat accurate depiction of the country from an American who stayed there for TWO weeks And that s my biggest problem with it How can you really get a sense of this incredibly complicated war and truly get to know and understand the people and culture you re writing about from a scant two weeks on the ground I think it s truly misleading to use this as a definitive examination of the country during the war This is a look at a very bloody war, but as graphic as the descriptions can be at times, it s actually a very sterile You just see body counts, not people There s no look at the culture other than some off base generalizations like Salvadorans don t do numbers accurately to really examine HOW the country got to be where it was in 82 when Didion wrote this snapshot Lots of interviews with the US ambassador and high ranking Salvadoran military officials but very little perspective of everyday people living day to day during this time.Part of this could be because of when this book was written 1982, right in the midst of the awful war, not to mention smack dab in the middle of the Cold War and a political point Didion may have been trying to prove, but whatever the reason, Salvador left me wanting.Also, the insistence at calling the country Salvador drove me up a wall I ve never in my life heard the country referred to like that.