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on 27 November 2000
This book has resurrected my love of reading. It is the autobiography of a young British doctor who went to work in Chile, in the 1970s, and was tortured and imprisoned because she offered medical treatment to a wounded revolutionary.
Sheila Cassidy writes with great honesty, describing her own naivity. She describes the political situation in Chile in just enough detail for the reader to understand the situation, without getting bogged down with political issues. She mentions her Christian beliefs, but the book is not full of spiritual matters. She simply describes her own experiences, in a fascinating and thought-provoking way. This book caused me to think deeply, and to be thankful for things which I usually take for granted - such as freedom. As well as being thought-provoking and greatly my knowledge of Chile and of human rights, the book is also quite simply a good read.
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on 22 November 2009
Bought this book many many years ago and have only just got around to reading it.The title made me think it would be heavy on the religious theme but not at all.
Written in 1977 after her release from a Chilean jail this book tells of the horrific treatment she received at the hands of the Pinochet regime.Although Sheilas naivety shows like a burning candle in the darkness,this true story of the terrible times after the ousting of the Allende government is enlightening as to the history of that era and troubling as to what man can inflict on his fellow man.
The imposed curfews on the whole population and the disappearances of local people to unknown but dreaded fates is vividly portrayed.
Yes,Sheila constantly refers to her Christian faith and the battle that is going on within her. She feels fatefully drawn to life as a nun,but struggles to give up her life with all its comforts{pre jail},priviledges,and satisfaction in her working life as a doctor. She draws comparisons with her prison life and endurance to that of Christ on the way to the cross.You may agree with this or see it as a naive way of looking at life,but you cannot fail to be impressed with her management of physical and mental pain and hardship.
Definite reading for anyone studying recent Chilean history.
Perhaps also a definite read for all those youngsters,fresh from Uni, who venture into foreign lands with the idea that they will be immune to any political upheaval and that their embassy will be a guardian angel.
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on 13 October 2012
The content of this book is deeply shocking. It relates to the author's time in Chile before and after the Pinochet coup in 1973. Arrested for treating a wounded counter revolutionary Dr Cassidy was subjected to shocking torture and imprisonment. While the book does relate some of her general experience in Chile (and before) the focus is on the arrest, torture, incarceration and finally release and deportation.
Some of the descriptions are graphic and not pleasant reading - so why do I give the book 5 stars?
* The history is fascinating. My education is Anglo-centric and although I was interested in current affairs as I grew up in the 70s I was very ignorant of what went on with the brutality of the fascist regime which murderously overthrew the democratic socialist government of Salvador Allende.
* Access to a reliable first hand account of the operation of the secret police is quite an eye-opener. The author relates what happened to her because she believes it is right that people know what happened - and thus what can easily happen again. And her accounts are not motivated by hatred for those who did unspeakable things to her - rather she pities.
* She does not write as a saint. She is very honest about her own feelings, emotions and failings. While she pities the men who torture her she is consumed by the fear - her resolution to protect friends is worn away - and she is very frank about her lack of fortitude (I believe she was much stronger than I would have been)
* The experience is set in the context of her own journey through life. At the time of her arrest she was exploring the possibility of laying aside her medical work to become a nun. She is candid about her own faith (without being "preachy") and about the struggle to see her way ahead - she felt "called" but loved the medical work.
* She seems to me to have a great love for the people of Chile and especially for those in prison with her. This does not come over overtly - but it is revealed in everything she writes: in the appreciation for those who comforted her after torture; her joy at receiving visitors and the respect that she has for the Marxist activists who's creed does not include God. There was great hope in the solidarity of the prison community.
* Obviously it is not a funny book - but the writer has a great sense of humour and fun. This is mostly just below the surface - but reading this book it is no surprise that 30 years later she was writing a book called "Made for Laughter"
* Finally it was a real page turner.
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on 3 August 2015
As a second hand book I didn't expect perfect condition but it was as described.
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on 25 November 2015
a must read book
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on 6 August 2013
Having recently visited Chile and seen some of the places where the events described happened, and having met Sheila Cassidy on an unrelated course some years ago, this account hit home.
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