Saturday, July 20, 2013

A journalist's memoir

Joseph Frazier was a journalist covering El Salvador's civil war during the 1980s.   This year he published his memoir,   El Salvador Could Be Like That: A Memoir of War, Politics and Journalism on the Front-Row of the Last Bloody Conflict of the US-Soviet Cold War.  

Frazier writes of his book:
My memoir is a ground's-eye view of the El Salvador war and of what it did to the peasants, the soldiers, the school kids, the union leaders, the shopkeepers, the fishermen and artisans, the parish priests - the everyday, unremarkable people who often wound up in unmarked graves and on the edit-room floor. It is also a look at the politics and economics and social history that underpinned the conflict.
The book is at its best when Frazier gives first person accounts of events in El Salvador which illustrate the senselessness and the horror of much of the war.   And the book provides many of those accounts.   

People with little background on El Salvador's civil war may have a little bit of trouble following the events and the players.  Frazier jumps forwards and backwards in time in chapters loosely organized by themes.    With a little background, however, this book, is a good addition to the collection of memoirs written by North Americans who experienced the war in El Salvador up close.   Also included in that collection is Witness to War : An American Doctor in El Salvador, by Charles Clements, and Perquin Musings: A Gringo´s Journey in El Salvador, by Ron Brenneman

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