Monica from the University Committee on Human Rights Studies is coming to Buenos Aires to teach a course on human rights in Latin America this (northern) summer. She asked me to suggest books on the human rights situation in Argentina, and I didn’t have to think twice: Marguerite Feitlowitz’s A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture is far and away the best book I’ve read on the Dirty War, and one of the most gripping, if heart-wrenching, works of nonfiction I’ve encountered. No one with even the slightest interest in human rights, the mechanisms of totalitarian social transformation, or language’s potential to disorient and atomize can justify skipping this book. In case you don’t believe me, Susan Sontag’s reaction: “A magisterial work on a great subject. This is a book everyone should read.”
On April 1st, Oxford University Press released a second edition, revised and with a new epilogue that covers developments since the mid-90s. You can find it on Amazon.com; I promise, you won’t regret the $20.