Story of a Death Foretold: The Coup Against Salvador Allende, September 11, 1973

Story of a Death Foretold: The Coup Against Salvador Allende, September 11, 1973

by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera
     
 

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On September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende of Chile was deposed in a violent coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. The coup had been in the works for months, even years. Shortly after giving a farewell speech to his people, Allende died of gunshot wounds—whether inflicted by his own hand or an assassin's remains uncertain. Pinochet ruled Chile for a

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Overview

On September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende of Chile was deposed in a violent coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. The coup had been in the works for months, even years. Shortly after giving a farewell speech to his people, Allende died of gunshot wounds—whether inflicted by his own hand or an assassin's remains uncertain. Pinochet ruled Chile for a quarter century, but the short rise and bloody fall of Allende is still the subject of fierce historical debate.

In a world in the throes of the Cold War, the seeming backwater of Chile became the host of a very hot conflict—with Henry Kissinger and the Western establishment aligned with Pinochet's insurgents against a socialist coalition of students, workers, Pablo Neruda, and folk singers, led by the brilliant ideologue Allende. Revolution and counterrevolution played out in graphic detail, moving the small South American nation to the center of the world stage in the dramatic autumn of 1973. Now the rising young scholar Oscar Guardiola-Rivera gives us a tour de force account of a historical crossroads, tracing the destiny of democracy, and the paths of power, money, and violence that still shadow Latin America and its relations with the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
In this densely packed history, Latin American expert Guardiola-Rivera (What If Latin America Ruled the World?) provides an exhaustive study of the career of Salvador Allende, one-time president of Chile and the world’s first and only democratically elected Marxist. In placing Allende’s tenure as president and his eventual deposing by military coup into context, Guardiola-Rivera casts a wide net, exploring a myriad of factors that led to his election, including the revolutionary spirit personified by Che Guevara, and the inevitable involvement of the U.S. through the CIA and Henry Kissinger, among others. But this is more than a story about Allende; it is a far-ranging, passionate look at a suddenly-important part of the world during a period of political turbulence, another battlefield in the Cold War and a front in an ideological clash between democracy and socialism. The author argues that, for all of Allende’s flaws and mistakes, his brief but vital reign as president was far superior to what replaced it. Guardiola-Rivera writes with authority, but his convoluted, circuitous style—scholarly with a hint of poetic—might appeal more to academics than general readers. Nonetheless, Guardiola-Rivera has produced one of the most comprehensive books on 20th-century Latin American politics. Agent: Sophie Lambert, Conville & Walsh Literary Agency. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

“Fascinating… commendable for [its] originality and research.” —Washington Post

“A far-ranging, passionate look at a suddenly-important part of the world during a period of political turbulence… Guardiola-Rivera has produced one of the most comprehensive books on 20th-century Latin American politics.” —Publishers Weekly

“[An] excellent analysis of Chile on the brink… A fascinating tale of intrigue and tragedy.” —Library Journal

“[Guardiola-Rivera] has an important story to tell, and, allowing for his political bias, he tells it well.” —Booklist

Library Journal
Guardiola-Rivera, a senior lecturer in law at Birkbeck College, University of London, who writes frequently (and edgily) about Latin American philosophy, law, and politics, here chronicles the bloody 1973 coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet that toppled Chilean president Salvador Allende.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-23
A tangled yet tender study of the revolutionary forces, both leftist and rightist, that converged in Chile during the turbulent 1960s and wrought a political miracle and tragedy. The election of socialist Salvador Allende to the presidency of Chile in 1970 proved a stunning vindication for the people's democracy movement in Latin America, as well as a shock to the Cold War–weary United States, terrified that it had another Cuba in its backyard. Guardiola-Rivera (Birkbeck, Univ. of London; What If Latin America Ruled the World?, 2010, etc.) plunges passionately into the construction of what Allende and his followers and colleagues such as Pablo Neruda called la vía chilena, the Chilean Way, defined as a "peaceful transformation of the state" by legal, constitutional means, a deep commitment to building a coalition of all levels of society, including indigenous peoples, agrarian reform, nationalization of industry and banking for the equal distribution of wealth, and a repudiation of violence as business as usual. Building the "revolution from below" took decades and a careful grass-roots movement, as the author argues, that involved returning to enlightenment ideals of the 19th century that had been shunted aside by U.S. imperialist aims in the region since the turn of the century. At the same time, the far right gathered strength from the fascist model of the Spanish Civil War, and the large corporate interests sought help from the U.S. government, which helped strangle Allende's economic measures in boycotts and sanctions. This allowed the military, handed to Gen. Augusto Pinochet by Allende himself, to wait and see which way the wind was blowing. The author gives a truly chilling account of Allende's last hours under bombing at his palace. Avowing there is much misinterpretation of these terrible events from both sides, Guardiola-Rivera invites a deeper, intellectual look inside.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608198962
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
11/05/2013
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
476,733
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is a senior lecturer in law at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is recognized as a leading young voice on Latin American philosophy, law, and politics. His previous books include What if Latin America Ruled the World? and Being Against the World: Rebellion and Constitution. He lives in London.

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