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A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America Paperback – 18 Apr 2017

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Reprint edition (18 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784781711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784781712
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


“Martínez’s credentials for writing about this ignored human tide are impeccable: his first book, The Beast, drew on eight trips clinging to the roof of the infamous migrants’ train through Mexico, chronicling their desperation in grippingly graphic detail. His new book, A History of Violence, takes a step back to explore what the migrants heading to the US are running away from … the unflinching cameos it paints offer a chilling portrait of corruption, unimaginable brutality and impunity.” – Financial Times

“Reading Salvadoran journalist Óscar Martínez’s nonfiction portrait of violence in Central America, it seems fantastically lucky for all of us that he’s still alive…The reporting is an act of courage; the book is a plea for comprehension of the terror that drives people from Central America to the United States…Martínez’s portrait of Central America as killing field is a plea not only for comprehension of immigrants’ race for the border but also for empathy.” – Nancy Nusser, Texas Observer

“Martínez dives into the underworld of his subjects, navigating barrios that police won’t enter, spending days and nights with gang members. His methods resemble war reporting and his prose is cinematic … The collection’s strength lies in his ability to write the hell out of his material. Like Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s Random Family, it skimps on statistics and analysis, instead relying on description alone to create a world that captures the reader and doesn’t let her go. One of the stories, ‘El Niño Hollywood’s Death Foretold,’ evokes Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Like the beloved Colombian writer, Martínez pens scenes that are suspenseful, moving, and vivid.” – Sarah Esther Maslin, The New Republic

“In Spanish, the tradition of the crónica is in-depth testimonial reportage blended with personal essay, and Martínez is a worthy inheritor. Martínez’s work conveys an intimate knowledge of the social and criminal ecosystem—both macro-level context and telling minutiae. But because he isn’t afraid to follow dangerous paths, the result are jewels with moments of intense emotion presented against a historical background that contemplates military, social, economic, religious, psychological and all sorts of other factors…I am in awe of Martínez’s commanding style.” – Ilan Stavans, In These Times

“[A History of Violence] dives deep to the problems driving the region's violence and impunity...if 'The Beast' was a look at the dangers of the journey, 'A History of Violence' focuses on why people take it to begin with.” – Jared Goyette, PRI's The World

“No place is dangerous enough to quell Martínez’s hunger for the truth, as the intrepid newshound sniffs around in occupied prisons, grim police stations, hellish whorehouses, desolate crack dens, isolated ranches and battered barrios, all the locales omitted from the tourism brochures. To understand how corruption operates in Central America, Martínez goes to where it operates…gritty journalism.” – Hector Luis Alamo, Latino Rebels

“Agonizing stories…[Martínez] urges readers to understand what Central Americans are going through and what compels them to seek refuge in the United States.” – Ramón Rentería, El Paso Times

“Martínez is a gifted storyteller with an astute, observant eye and a voice that beckons to be followed…A History of Violence is a necessary read, especially for US government officials crafting immigration policy against migrants and refugees from the region. It sheds light on why so many are braving the treacherous trek through Mexico to reach the United States.” – Sara Campos, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Martínez’ latest book chronicles the underbelly of some of the world’s most dangerous places…[An] immersive account.” – Nancy Flores, Austin-American Statesman

“El Salvador’s best chronicler of this profound crisis is Óscar Martínez, a journalist based in San Salvador. Martínez has dedicated his career to documenting how the matrix of poverty, instability, and narcotrafficking has transformed the lives and prospects of Central Americans. As a writer, he’s a committed, old-school social realist, and traveled with migrants on their deadly northward route for his previous book about Central American migration, The Beast. His methods in A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America are equally painstaking.” – Caille Millner, The New Inquiry

About the Author

Oscar Martinez is the author of "The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail." He writes for "El Faro," the first online newspaper in Latin America.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
4.0 out of 5 starsAll in all this book is an excellent depiction of crime
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4.0 out of 5 starsBuild a wall????
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5.0 out of 5 starsWake up America!!!
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4.0 out of 5 starsThe Android Kindle reader app won't let me out of here
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