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Battling for Hearts and Minds: Memory Struggles in Pinochet's Chile, 1973-1988 (Latin America Otherwise)by Steve J. Stern
Synopses & Reviews
Battling for Hearts and Minds is the story of the dramatic struggle to define collective memory in Chile during the violent, repressive dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, from the 1973 military coup in which he seized power through his defeat in a 1988 plebiscite. Steve J. Stern provides a riveting narration of Chile’s political history during this period. At the same time, he analyzes Chileans’ conflicting interpretations of events as they unfolded. Drawing on testimonios, archives, Truth Commission documents, radio addresses, memoirs, and written and oral histories, Stern identifies four distinct perspectives on life and events under the dictatorship. He describes how some Chileans viewed the regime as salvation from ruin by Leftists (the narrative favored by Pinochet’s junta), some as a wound repeatedly reopened by the state, others as an experience of persecution and awakening, and still others as a closed book, a past to be buried and forgotten.
In the 1970s, Chilean dissidents were lonely “voices in the wilderness” insisting that state terror and its victims be recognized and remembered. By the 1980s, the dissent had spread, catalyzing a mass movement of individuals who revived public dialogue by taking to the streets, creating alternative media, and demanding democracy and human rights. Despite long odds and discouraging defeats, people of conscience—victims of the dictatorship, priests, youth, women, workers, and others—overcame fear and succeeded in creating truthful public memories of state atrocities. Recounting both their efforts and those of the regime’s supporters to win the battle for Chileans’ hearts and minds, Stern shows how profoundly the struggle to create memories, to tell history, matters.
Battling for Hearts and Minds is the second volume in the trilogy The Memory Box of Pinochet’s Chile. The third book will examine Chileans’ efforts to achieve democracy while reckoning with Pinochet’s legacy.
Considers Pinochet’s Chile, and the struggle between the state and its critics over how to remember traumatic events that demanded cultural, moral, and political recognition.
The story of the dramatic struggle to define collective memory in Chile during the violent, repressive dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
About the Author
“Battling for Hearts and Minds is an extraordinary narrative and analysis of the ways conflictual interpretations and memories were framed and built in the Pinochet years.”—Paul W. Drake, coeditor of State and Society in Conflict: Comparative Perspectives on Andean Crises
“Battling for Hearts and Minds is the first comprehensive history of the struggle to define collective memory in Pinochet’s Chile and one of the first of its kind about Latin America in general.”—Peter Winn, editor of Victims of the Chilean Miracle: Workers and Neoliberalism in the Pinochet Era, 1973–2002
“By probing the dark undercurrents which shaped the Chilean dictatorship, as well as the wondrous ways in which the resistance managed to defeat Pinochet, Steve J. Stern has given us an indispensable guide to recent Chilean history.”—Ariel Dorfman
What Our Readers Are Saying
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