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Paperback My Colombian War Book

ISBN: 0805088601

ISBN13: 9780805088601

My Colombian War

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

"Intimate, emotion-saturated portrait . . . the flavors and the colors are vivid . . . A] compelling picture of contemporary Colombia and the roots of its problems . . . a gift for the rest of us."--William Grimes, The New York Times

Growing up in the coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia, Silvana Paternostro enjoyed a privileged childhood, a comfortable existence marred only briefly by fleeting encounters with the social...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

A Great Read

A wonderful, insightful book about Colombia. What makes the book transcend the ordinary new-journalistic look at a country is the fact that Paternostro maps not only the contours of Colombia's current conflict and its historical and socio-economic roots, but also wonderfully charts her own conflicted relationship with the place and her efforts to come to terms with it. In the end, then, the book is fascinating for the view it provides on Colombia but it ends up being about so much more; the honest look at an expatriate's relationship to her homeland is compelling and enlightening.

Beautiful, subtle, intensely personal.

I am new to Silvana Paternostro's writing and I didnt know what to expect. A friend had recommended this book and I read it in practically one sitting. The passages about her childhood are deeply beautiful and written with admirable restraint. Highly recommended.

Honest and Brave Memoir and History of an Amazing and Frightening Country

Just finished Ms. Paternostro's book last night (January 2008) and felt that this book really filled a void, at least for me, bridging the distance between historical characterizations of Colombia and what that history actually looks like within the lives of real Colombians. For the most part, this book is filled with fascinating stories - such as the author's description of Simon Trinidad, the businessman and landed elite turned FARC rebel, and how history itself interfered with his interest in moving Colombia ahead - he couldn't possibly create an avenue for peace if the people he was scheduled to meet were murdered the day before his meeting. Or the author's storytelling of Barranquilla's transformation by gringos and Guajiros, who all seemed to persuade these coastal people that living large, richly and dangerously was a more important obligation than improving the future for a larger percentage of the Colombian people. Ms. Paternostro brings to life these unfortunate tradeoffs - of building great plantations and epic lives - funded by efforts, land, or drugs - without building more stable lives for the Colombians that worked on those plantations - are the kinds of decisions that infuriate her. As a criticism, sometimes Ms. Paternostro repeats or reintroduces elements in her book that appear elsewhere in the book, but even those reintroductions serve a larger purpose of developing a more layered, deeper description of what Colombian war and history look like within her own life and family. This is a living history, and it is certainly a worthy one. Ms. Paternostro's attitude towards the subject could be best described as conflicted, but even here I think it's impressive that she finally makes peace with her Colombian war. Ms. Paternostro is a great voice on Colombia and Latin America. I hope she keeps bringing color to a region that deserves the deeper look that she continues to give in her thoughtful writing.
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