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Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

3.4 153
by Ingrid Betancourt

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"Betancourt's riveting account...is an unforgettable epic of moral courage and human endurance." -Los Angeles Times

In the midst of her campaign for the Colombian presidency in 2002, Ingrid Betancourt traveled into a military-controlled region, where she was abducted by the FARC, a brutal terrorist guerrilla organization in conflict with the


"Betancourt's riveting account...is an unforgettable epic of moral courage and human endurance." -Los Angeles Times

In the midst of her campaign for the Colombian presidency in 2002, Ingrid Betancourt traveled into a military-controlled region, where she was abducted by the FARC, a brutal terrorist guerrilla organization in conflict with the government. She would spend the next six and a half years captive in the depths of the Colombian jungle. Even Silence Has an End is her deeply moving and personal account of that time. The facts of her story are astounding, but it is Betancourt's indomitable spirit that drives this very special narrative-an intensely intelligent, thoughtful, and compassionate reflection on what it really means to be human.

Editorial Reviews

Larry Rohter
Even Silence Has an End,…is gripping not just for its heart-wrenching portrayal of captivity, but also because of the sharp and useful psychological insights it offers. With her life at stake, Ms. Betancourt proves quite perceptive in analyzing human behavior: the morale-sapping mind games that captives played with one another as well as the strategies she used in hopes of preserving some shred of dignity and keeping her guerrilla adversaries off balance.
—The New York Times
Caroline Elkins
Captive for more than a year in the jungles of Colombia, ­Ingrid ­Betancourt took to her insect ­infested cot, drained by despair. Fat Martha, her aptly nicknamed guard, had brought fresh news: the hell in which ­Betancourt was living wasn't harsh enough. A veritable concentration camp, complete with chain-link fences and barbed wire, was being thrown up in haste under the canopies of the country's impenetrable interior. In her gripping memoir…Betancourt captures the despondency wrought by Fat Martha's pronouncement with a blend of power and self-awareness that inscribes not just this one disturbing moment but her account's every page.
—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Penguin Group
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File size:
675 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Ingrid Betancourt was born on December 25, 1961, in Bogotá, Colombia. As a politican and presidential candidate, she was celebrated for her determination to combat widespread corruption in Colombia. She now lives in New York City and Paris, France.

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Even Silence Has an End 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 153 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I find Ms. Betancourt's story at times captivating, I also find it to be long, drawn out, and factually questionable. As I read, I just kept getting this feeling that I didn't necessarily trust the author. As such, after completion of the book, I did more research and have read her fellow captives' stories. There is plenty of literature and media debating her account, which for me "put the finger" on that feeling I continually had reading her book. While I obviously am very interested in her story, I find what she leaves out of her book to be all the more interesting. Those facts aren't in the others per se, but the facts of her life are quite interesting and made only more so because she avoids and fails to mention them in this doctrine of her captivity, treatment and rescue.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
It is a towering achievement to have conceived and written a book like this after one's release, for as fellow captive Clara Rojas wrote in her memoir Captive, "going back isn't easy", even in one's mind, to remember and relive the period of captivity. However, the level of detail about one's daily life in the Amazon jungle is patently fascinating, even to those of us who have no intention of spending any time there. For an explorer, scientist, or government operative, this is required reading. Think me a fool, but that a public figure (Ingrid Betancourt, long-shot presidential candidate) could write a book of such power and clarity and filled with personal observations and motivations, reminded me of the only other memoir of similar power in recent memory written by another long-shot presidential candidate, Barak Obama Dreams from my Father. Equally riveting, though entirely of a different character, Even Silence has an End tells us much about the nature of the individual who could observe dispassionately (and sometimes passionately) in the face of complications difficult to imagine: terror, sickness, pain, and boredom. As I read I became aware of the sometimes poisonous relationships that developed among the hostages and between the hostages and their FARC captors. An earlier memoir I'd tried to read, Out of Captivity became immediately relevant, as each book references the authors of the other. As a result, I subsequently read Rojas' Captive, which reminded me of the mind-numbing boredom of my earlier attempt with Out of Captivity. The fight in Colombia between government forces and FARC rebels has always felt out of my realm, and those two books did not make make our worlds intersect in any significant way. Betancourt's book, however, brought that whole world right up close and personal, and I am there: involved, interested, engaged. Clearly Betancourt arouses strong emotions, both support and opposition, even as she did as a captive. But until the opposition can speak with such a clearly rational and obviously humane and--this is critical--a truly interesting voice, Betancourt's version of events is the one I will choose to remember.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ingrid Betancourt relays the daily terrors and unjustice she experianced from the hands of aggressive Guerilla force the FARC, after abducting her at gun point while being lead deeper into the Amazon. Ingrid gives vivid discription of the Amazons beauty amidst the evil FARCE and the dangerous creatures hidden in the beauty. You feel that you are taking each step with her. You cry with her when her mothers voice is heard pleading for her release ,you cheer for her when she escapes, you'll catch yourself holding your breath while she escapes! You are on the edge of your seat.Ingrid expresses her bravery,her humiliation from the cruelty & her neverending attempts to be free. All the while remaining true to herself. she has the spirit to be an overcommer. This book give you a great appreciation for for freedom, freedom of choice and the priveledge to be an American. I recommend reading UNTIL DEATH DO US APART, first to understand the love and passion she has for the Columbian people and why she was such a target to the FARC. God Bless Ingrid Betancourt for surviving!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! Ingrid Betancourt endured so much as she was held captive in the jungle. Her escape attempts were nail biting and each time I hoped that she would find freedom. The book was written so well, you felt as if you were standing next to her. A memorable book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, because it was interesting to see how one survives in the jungle when one comes from a privileged life. Even though there is controversy with the Columbian government, the FARC & Ms. Betancourt, it was a good read. The only part at did not like was the ending, I wanted more information about how she is now coping in the real world & more information on the other survivors & the others still in capitivty.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't let the large amount of pages keep you from reading this book. You become so absorbed in the story that time goes quickly. The story was very well written and in no time you are in the rainforest-facing all the obstacles right along with those kidnapped. Amazing true story.
poldark More than 1 year ago
We are lucky in the US that our political candidates [at least so far] don't get murdered or kidnapped. This story follows an active presidential candidate in Columbia, and her hapless campaign aide, who were kidnapped and held prisoners for an incredible six years in the most dense Amazon jungle. Subjected to incredible deprivation of food, clothing, shelter, medicine, medical care, they still survived. Subjected to humiliation, beatings, chained at the neck and feet, they emerge as the victors. Eaten alive by bugs and disease, cohabiting with taruntulas, snakes and jungle beasts, they feared for their lives every day. The author is clear to point out that not everyone of their kidnappers was a monster, but most acted monstrously, under orders, or out of their own meaness and megalomania. In a land without government, these kinds of people take charge. Tea party people, be real careful what you wish for! And be careful when you set out to attack candidates houses and kids: look at who your role models are: the FARC, the Taliban, and their ilk. The FARC guerillas emerge as bankrupt: politically, morally, ideologically. With money from local cocaine lords, they have set themselves up in the back country, terrorizing the local population and the nation. They could never govern, but to gain publicity and notoriety, they kidnap a whole range of people, from politicians to 12 year old boys, to contractors, and treat them inhumanely. It is a huge eye opener on these rebels. One can only hope they fail asap and fade away. This is the 3rd in a trio of books about the people kidnapped. Under the horrible circumstances of their long incaceration, it is unlikely that people would perceive events the same way, or react the same way to the situation. This book stays true to trying to describe how a person finds the moral courage and determination not to become some oneelse, someone else filled with as much rage and hatred as the kidnappers themselves. It makes you wonder what you would do if you were there. There seems to be multiple vindinctive reviews against the author posted by the same malicious individual. I would not pay them any mind. If you are against the hostages, you have to be for the terrorists.
Rebaz More than 1 year ago
Regardless of the controversy about Ingrid. This is her story of survival, courage, endurance and faith. Dramatic yet full of strenght and hope. Must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing anyone could survive all of that.
I_Heart_Books_ More than 1 year ago
'Even Silence Has an End' is a well written and (seemingly) honest account of life in the jungle as a hostage. It truly picks you up off your couch, throws you down in the middle of the jungle, and has you picturing yourself using the chontos (retch) and tromping through jungle for days on end...It is a haunting and gritty account that will leave you contemplating days later the horrors of living in the jungle under armed guard..... how/if you could survive... would you fight back and refuse to become a number? would you be brave enough to try and escape??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the story of her life in captivity for seven years. She gives minute details of everyday life--unfortunately to the point where the book becomes boring and tedious. If she had cut 100 pages, the book would have been much better. Also, the focus was entirely on her captivity and gave very little information about what was taking place politically while she was in captivity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book took you to the Amazon jungle and gave you a total picture of what life was like for the captured and even their captors. She weaved in political and social history without losing the reader's attention. So much of her story is a study on human survival. While some of the other survivors disagree with her account, this is not their story. Ingrid's experience is uniquely her own and the lessons i learned from this brave decision share her story are not easily forgotten.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These souls endured way too much cruelty for one person's eternity.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
had trouble feeling sorry for this character. came across as a diva who seemed to be treated fairly well considering her circumstances and her attitude only ended up angering her captures and fellow prisioners
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