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Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua, With New Afterword

Overview

In 1976, at age twenty-five, Stephen Kinzer arrived in Nicaragua as a freelance journalist--and became a witness to history. He returned many times during the years that followed, becoming Latin America correspondent for the Boston Globe in 1981 and joining the foreign staff of the New York Times in 1983. That year he openedthe New York Times Managua bureau, making that newspaper the first daily in America to maintain a full-time office in Nicaragua.

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Overview

In 1976, at age twenty-five, Stephen Kinzer arrived in Nicaragua as a freelance journalist--and became a witness to history. He returned many times during the years that followed, becoming Latin America correspondent for the Boston Globe in 1981 and joining the foreign staff of the New York Times in 1983. That year he openedthe New York Times Managua bureau, making that newspaper the first daily in America to maintain a full-time office in Nicaragua.

Widely considered the best-connected journalist in Central America, Kinzer personally met and interviewed people at every level of the Somoza, Sandinistas and contra hierarchies, as well as dissidents, heads of state, and countless ordinary citizens throughout the region.

Blood of Brothers is Kinzer's dramatic story of the centuries-old power struggle that burst into the headlines in 1979 with the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship. It is a vibrant portrait of the Nicaraguan people and their volcanic land, a cultural history rich in poetry and bloodshed, baseball and insurrection.

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Editorial Reviews

Tom Wicker
A comprehensive and enthralling account of how the Sandinistas triumphed in the destruction of 'an old and unjust order,' but failed to make over Nicaragua in their own austere and militant image. Stephen Kinzer, an eyewitness to it all, does justice to both triumph and failure in this even-handed and readable book.
Bill Kovach
Because he spent as much time in the streets and villages as he did in embassies and restaurants, Kinzer was able to understand and report the many levels of reality generally hidden behind fogs of ideology, public statements and political rhetoric...Blood of Brothers is a must-read for anyone who hopes to understand the continuing need for a more enlightened U.S. foreign policy in Central America.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
By the former New York Times Managua bureau chief, this is a well-written, information-rich survey of modern Nicaragua. Kinzer describes how Cesar Sandino's 1927-33 anti-U.S. campaign shaped the country's political development and inspired the overthrow of the Somoza regime in 1979. He analyzes the Reagan administration's ``secret war'' against the Sandinistas, and the deception that the contras existed only to interdict arms shipments to El Salvador. Kinzer relates many personal stories of his interaction with Nicaraguans, and he includes the exciting tale of his on-the-spot discovery of a U.S.-supplied contra camp in Honduras--a front-page scoop. He traces the confrontation between the Catholic church and the junta, the peace initiative by Costa Rica's Oscar Arias, the negotiated settlement that more or less ended the conflict and the surprising electoral victory of Violeta Chamorro over Daniel Ortega in 1990. Kinzer concludes that the Sandinistas grossly underestimated the moral power of the Catholic bishops, that they lost significant support by mistreating the Miskito Indians, and that they mistakenly believed they could build a prosperous Nicaragua ``without deferring to the principle of free enterprise.'' Photos. (Apr.)
Library Journal

This 1991 portrait of Nicaragua's political struggles scored with critics, including LJ's reviewer, who dubbed it "public journalism at its best...the definitive study of Nicaragua in the turbulent 80s." Still powerful.


—Michael Rogers
Library Journal
Kinzer served in Central America first in the 1970s as a freelance journalist and later as a New York Times bureau chief in Managua (1983-89). An eyewitness to events, he interviewed members of the Somoza, Sandinista, and contra hierarchies. As a result, he provides a highly objective and balanced assessment of events that led to the fall of the Somoza government in 1979. Kinzer avoids ideological bias, but he does note that the Sandinistas came to power because ``those most likely to shed blood are the most likely to triumph.'' Yet despite their many shortcomings, he concludes ``the Sandinistas at least provided a basis upon which a genuine democracy could be built.'' An example of public affairs journalism at its best, his book will stand as the definitive study of Nicaragua in the turbulent 1980s. It belongs in every public and school library.-- J.A. Rhodes, Luther Coll., Decorah, Ia.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Stephen Kinzer is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

Merilee S. Grindle is Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development and Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

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