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To Save Her Life: Disappearance, Deliverance, and the United States in Guatemala

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Part human rights drama, part political thriller, part love story, this riveting narrative chronicles the disappearance of one woman as it tells the larger story of the past fifty years of violence and struggle for social justice and democracy, and U.S. intervention in Guatemala. Maritza Urrutia was abducted from a middle-class neighborhood while taking her son to school i Part human rights drama, part political thriller, part love story, this riveting narrative chronicles the disappearance of one woman as it tells the larger story of the past fifty years of violence and struggle for social justice and democracy, and U.S. intervention in Guatemala. Maritza Urrutia was abducted from a middle-class neighborhood while taking her son to school in 1992. To Save Her Life tells the story of her ordeal which included being interrogated in secret by army intelligence officers about her activities as part of a political opposition group. Chained to a bed, blindfolded, and deprived of sleep, Maritza was ultimately spared because her family was able to contact influential intermediaries, including author Dan Saxon, who was in Guatemala working for the Catholic Church's Human Rights Office. Here Saxon brings to life the web of players who achieved her release: the Church, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Congress, numerous NGOs, guerrilla groups, politicians, students, and the media. Reaching back to 1954, when Maritza's grandparents were activists, the book is a study of the complex and often cruel politics of human rights, and its themes reverberate from Guatemala to Guantánamo to Iraq.


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Part human rights drama, part political thriller, part love story, this riveting narrative chronicles the disappearance of one woman as it tells the larger story of the past fifty years of violence and struggle for social justice and democracy, and U.S. intervention in Guatemala. Maritza Urrutia was abducted from a middle-class neighborhood while taking her son to school i Part human rights drama, part political thriller, part love story, this riveting narrative chronicles the disappearance of one woman as it tells the larger story of the past fifty years of violence and struggle for social justice and democracy, and U.S. intervention in Guatemala. Maritza Urrutia was abducted from a middle-class neighborhood while taking her son to school in 1992. To Save Her Life tells the story of her ordeal which included being interrogated in secret by army intelligence officers about her activities as part of a political opposition group. Chained to a bed, blindfolded, and deprived of sleep, Maritza was ultimately spared because her family was able to contact influential intermediaries, including author Dan Saxon, who was in Guatemala working for the Catholic Church's Human Rights Office. Here Saxon brings to life the web of players who achieved her release: the Church, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Congress, numerous NGOs, guerrilla groups, politicians, students, and the media. Reaching back to 1954, when Maritza's grandparents were activists, the book is a study of the complex and often cruel politics of human rights, and its themes reverberate from Guatemala to Guantánamo to Iraq.

36 review for To Save Her Life: Disappearance, Deliverance, and the United States in Guatemala

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Interesting book. In 1992, after dropping her son off at school, Maritza Urrutia was abducted off the streets of Guatemala City by government agents concerned about her work with groups working to overthrow the Guatemalan government. Her particular case is used as a jumping off point to discuss the history of Guatemala in the latter half of the 20th century, the "disappearances" that happened regularly, and the role of the United States in Guatemala. Interesting book. In 1992, after dropping her son off at school, Maritza Urrutia was abducted off the streets of Guatemala City by government agents concerned about her work with groups working to overthrow the Guatemalan government. Her particular case is used as a jumping off point to discuss the history of Guatemala in the latter half of the 20th century, the "disappearances" that happened regularly, and the role of the United States in Guatemala.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    Tells story of a young mother kidnapped in Guatemala by her own government. Brings to light human rights violations by the government.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen Michelle

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jess

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  7. 4 out of 5

    George Anne Brown

  8. 4 out of 5

    Veronica Legler

  9. 5 out of 5

    Corey

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elia

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wegman

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom Hannis

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karin Reinecke

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ann

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elke

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Black

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelleab

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  23. 4 out of 5

    Iranica

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Thompson

  25. 5 out of 5

    J Nelson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  28. 4 out of 5

    Denise

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  31. 4 out of 5

    Frederick

  32. 5 out of 5

    Hazel Elizabeth

  33. 5 out of 5

    Emily Griffin

  34. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Winfield

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  36. 4 out of 5

    Mesa

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