|Remembering a massacre in El Salvador: the Insurrection of 1932, Roque Dalton, and the politics of historical memory, by Héctor Lindo-Fuentes, Erik Ching, and Rafael A. Lara-Martínez. New Mexico, 2007. 411p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780826336040 pbk, $29.95. Reviewed in 2008jul CHOICE.
|A massacre of 30,000 people in the aftermath of a 1932 uprising in El Salvador is one of the most extreme cases of state-sponsored violence in Latin America. The repression had a dramatic impact on subsequent political protest in this Central American country. This book is not a study of those events, but rather how they have subsequently been remembered and used for various political purposes. In particular, the authors focus on the most well-known account of the massacre, Miguel Mármol's testimonial as recorded by Roque Dalton. Similar to the controversy over Rigoberta Menchú in Guatemala (The Rigoberta Menchú Controversy, CH, Nov'01, 39-1751), this testimonial was a "narrative reconfiguration" with an explicit and overt political agenda. The authors demonstrate how Dalton rewrote Mármol's story to fit his own evolving interpretive framework of El Salvador's history. This book engages a historiographical debate as to whether the 1932 revolt was a class-based communist-led uprising or an ethnic-based indigenous protest. The authors downplay the role of the Communist Party and unfortunately assume that indigenous farmers would be motivated only by ethnic concerns, rather than also embracing a class analysis of their social exclusion. Includes a useful collection of documents. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. -- M. Becker, Truman State University
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