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I do think it is generally reliable and offers a good picture. It is a little short and skims ...
on 25 April 2017
I was a little worried this would be trashy, especially given the "butcher" subtitle, but it's actually a serious and well-researched book. There are some drawbacks: it was published just after Barbie's extradition, but before his trial, which seems odd timing and leaves the book feeling a little up-in-the-air. There are also number of typos and misprints. But research in this area is very difficult and Bower does not indulge in speculation. It is a little short and skims over phases of the life; I don't think Bower knew much about Barbie's Peruvian and Bolivian post-war phase (perhaps nobody living does) and that period, 1971-83, is dealt with in a mere fifty pages . I suspect Bower has been superseded by the more recent Peter McFarren book, but if you want a cheap, easy-reading biography, this will do. Most of what is in this book is well covered by Marcel Ophuls's 'Hotel Terminus', a film I recommend without reservation, which has the further advantage over the book of some wonderful coverage of the Barbie trial and interviews with many of the main protagonists including Barbie's defence lawyer.