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

( 152 )

Overview

A Bolt of Lightning tore through the forest, landing a few yards from me. In a burst of light, the space around me was revealed in all its horror. I was surrounded by gigantic trees, and was only two steps from falling into a ravine. I stopped short, totally blinded. I squatted to catch my breath among the roots of the tree just before me. I was on the verge of finally taking out my flashlight when I noticed intermittent flashes of light in the distance, headed my way. I could hear their voices now. They must be ...

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

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Overview

A Bolt of Lightning tore through the forest, landing a few yards from me. In a burst of light, the space around me was revealed in all its horror. I was surrounded by gigantic trees, and was only two steps from falling into a ravine. I stopped short, totally blinded. I squatted to catch my breath among the roots of the tree just before me. I was on the verge of finally taking out my flashlight when I noticed intermittent flashes of light in the distance, headed my way. I could hear their voices now. They must be very near, because I heard one of them shout that he had already seen me. I camouflaged myself among the roots of the old tree while praying to the Lord to make me invisible.

I followed their progress from the swinging of their beams of light. One of them aimed his beam at me. I closed my eyes, unmoving, waiting for their shouts of victory before they seized me. But the light left me, came back for an instant, then went away for good, leaving me in silence and darkness.

I got up, still trembling, leaning against the hundred-year-old-tree to recover my wits. ... From memory, I cleared a path where I thought I'd seen a passage between two trees while I waited for the next flash of lightning to free me from my blindness. The guerrillas were gone.

My relationship with the night world began to change. It was easier to move ahead, my hands reacted faster, and my body was learning to anticipate the lay of the land. The sensation of horror was beginning to fade. My surroundings were no longer totally hostile. I began to think of these trees, these palms, these ferns, this intrusive undergrowth as a possible refuge. The fact of being soaked, bleeding from my hands and fingers, covered with mud and not knowing where to go-all of this lost its importance. I could survive. I had to walk, keep moving, get away. At dawn they would resume the chase. But with every step, I kept repeating I am free, and my voice kept me company.

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594202650
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/21/2010
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 614,579
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Born December 25, 1961, in Bogotá, Colombia, Ingrid Betancourt was a politician and presidential candidate celebrated for her determination to combat widespread corruption. In 2002 she was taken hostage by the FARC, a brutal terrorist guerrilla organization. For more than six and a half years, the FARC held her hostage in the Colombian jungle. She was rescued on July 2, 2008.

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Table of Contents

1 Escaping the Cage 1

2 Farewell 26

3 The Abduction 35

4 "El Mocho" Cesar 47

5 Sonia's Camp 57

6 The Death of my Father 73

7 Falling into the Abyss 78

8 Taming the Hornets 86

9 The Strains of Communal Life 101

10 Proof of Life 109

11 The Little Wooden House 114

12 Ferney 122

13 Learning to Weave 127

14 Melanie's Seventeenth Birthday 131

15 Resentment and Remission 135

16 The Raid 141

17 The Cage 150

18 Friends Who Come and Go 154

19 Voices from the Outside 159

20 A Visit from Joaquín Gómez 163

21 Second Proof of Life 171

22 The Fortune-Teller 176

23 An Unexpected Encounter 180

24 Giovanni's Camp 184

25 In the Hands of the Shadow 190

26 Sombra's Serenade 196

27 The Barbed Wire 199

28 The Satellite Antenna 206

29 Inside the Prison 209

30 The Arrival of the Americans 214

31 The Big Row 219

32 Roll Call 225

33 Human Misery 229

34 Lucho's Illness 233

35 A Sad Christmas 242

36 The Bickering 250

37 The Chicken Run 256

38 Back in the Prison 262

39 Radio Roundup 268

40 Gloria's Children 278

41 The Petty Things of Hell 281

42 The Dictionary 286

43 My Friend Lucho 289

44 The Child 293

45 The Strike 298

46 Birthdays 303

47 The Big Departure 307

48 Hepatitis 310

49 Guillermo's Frisk 315

50 Unexpected Support 318

51 The Hammock 323

52 Selling Hope 327

53 The Group of Ten 335

54 The Endless March 343

55 The Chains 351

56 The Honeymoon 354

57 At the Gates of Hell 361

58 Descent Into Hell 367

59 The Devil 372

60 Now or Never 377

61 The Escape 383

62 Freedom 395

63 The Choice 407

64 The End of the Dream 411

65 Punishment 416

66 The Retreat 421

67 The Eggs 426

68 Monster 429

69 Lucho's Heart 435

70 Pinchao's Escape 442

71 The Death of Pinchao 450

72 My Friend Marc 456

73 The Ban 463

74 The Letters 469

75 The Separation 475

76 Stroking Death 480

77 Third Proof of Life 489

78 Lucho's Release 495

79 The Disagreement 504

80 The Sacred Heart 511

81 The Trick 514

82 The End of Silence 523

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 152 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(36)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(18)

1 Star

(27)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 155 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Powerful Story No Doubt!

    Though you probably have never gone through anything as horrendous as Ingrid Betancourt's ordeal, we all have suffered at the hands of another. That's why I'd also like to recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score" by R.A. Clark. It's revealing look at the power of forgiveness. If you ever felt trapped by anger, guilt, resentment and/or pain, then this book is for you. I honestly feel that if you give this book the chance it could change your life for the better and as a divorced mother of two, it has already helped me in more ways than you could ever know. Give it the chance to do the same for you or someone that you love.

    10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2010

    questionable

    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.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A perfect example of it's type--the hostage memoir

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2010

    Could not wait to continue reading the next day. Countinous suspense! A 'WOW' story! Very well written. Freedom,family,& lifes necessities gone in a blink! 6 years of life or death choices. Vivid experiance.

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2010

    Highly recommended!

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Story pits kidnapped women against terrorist

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2010

    Do not buy this book

    Self centered Betancourt attempts to profit at the expense of the Colombian people. Do not help her. Boycott her book.

    3 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2010

    Excellant Book

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2010

    A Big Book -A Fast Paced Read

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    Must read

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2010

    not worth it

    This is a book written by a woman, who knew how dangerous it was to go where she went to campaign, and after ignoring warnings, went in and got kidnapped. six years later, after being freed by the Colombian military, she tries to sue the country for money she was owed while still kidnapped? how about the families and other people still in captivity? does this woman have a clear conscious mind that she was a lucky one while there are more stewing in the depths of the colombian jungles fighting for their lives and disease on a daily basis? Obviously no. This is just another of her "poor me" projects, to make money and catch non deserved sympathy. This woman is not only a poor excuse for an author, but also disgraces the name of Colombia. But hey! who cares, because as she once said, she's not much colombian, she's french!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2013

    'Even Silence Has an End' is a well written and (seemingly) hone

    '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??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    Interesting, but too long--tedious

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    Amazing

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    Serious stuff.

    These souls endured way too much cruelty for one person's eternity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Can't be a diva while being held prisioner.

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2011

    A great non-fiction read

    This highly educated woman reflects on her time in captivity in the jungle of Colombia as a political hostage. A great, fast read that depicts both her struggle to survive and the emotional turmoil of captivity.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    AWFUL!! Don't waste your money!!!

    This book is awful...if you want to know about the landscape of the Amazon Jungle, this book is for you.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Inspiring true story of strength during the unimaginable.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    Highly Recommened

    This is a great book. What courage she had and I saw the ending on TV but couldn't remember so the ending was wonderful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 155 Customer Reviews

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