Cover image for The death of Ben Linder : the story of a North American in Sandinista Nicaragua
The death of Ben Linder : the story of a North American in Sandinista Nicaragua
Kruckewitt, Joan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Seven Stories Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
395 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1528.22.L56 K78 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In 1987, the death of Ben Linder, the first American killed by President Reagan's "freedom fighters" -- the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Contras -- ignited a firestorm of protest and debate. In this landmark first biography of Linder, investigative journalist Joan Kruckewitt tells his story.
In the summer of 1983, a 23-year-old American named Ben Linder arrived in Managua with a unicycle and a newly earned degree in engineering. In 1986, Linder moved from Managua to El Cuá, a village in the Nicaraguan war zone, where he helped form a team to build a hydroplant to bring electricity to the town. He was ambushed and killed by the Contras the following year while surveying a stream for a possible hydroplant.
In 1993, Kruckewitt traveled to the Nicaraguan mountains to investigate Linder's death. In July 1995. she finally located and interviewed one of the men who killed Ben Linder, a story that became the basis for a New Yorker feature on Linder's death. Linder's story is a portrait of one idealist who died for his beliefs, as well as a picture of a failed foreign policy, vividly exposing the true dimensions of a war that forever marked the lives of both Nicaraguans and Americans.

Author Notes

Joan Kruckewitt is a journalist who lived in Nicaragua from 1983-1991 and covered the war between the Sandinistas and the U.S.-backed Contras for ABC Radio. She did graduate work in Latin American Studies at Stanford University, and reported from Latin America and Europe for various radio networks. She lives in Northern California.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Prologuep. 11
Chapter 1 Ben Moves to Managuap. 13
Chapter 2 Clowning in Nicaraguap. 23
Chapter 3 Ben Finds a Place for Himselfp. 33
Chapter 4 Life with the Brooks Familyp. 45
Chapter 5 El Cuap. 61
Chapter 6 Little Ant, the Clownp. 75
Chapter 7 Working in El Cuap. 91
Chapter 8 A Decision about Alisonp. 107
Chapter 9 Electricity Comes to El Cuap. 121
Chapter 10 The Next Goal-San Jose de Bocayp. 139
Chapter 11 Don Moves to El Cuap. 161
Chapter 12 Mira Visits El Cuap. 171
Chapter 13 Classes Beginp. 187
Chapter 14 The War Closes in on El Cuap. 199
Chapter 15 Ben Goes to the United States on a Fundraising Tourp. 215
Chapter 16 An American Contra is Captured in Nicaraguap. 227
Chapter 17 First Anniversary of the Plantp. 237
Chapter 18 El Cua Graduates Four Local Electriciansp. 245
Chapter 19 Three Americans in One Small Roomp. 259
Chapter 20 Working in Bocayp. 273
Chapter 21 Attack on the Hydroplantp. 283
Chapter 22 Ben and Mira Build in Bocayp. 299
Chapter 23 Ambushp. 315
Chapter 24 Finishing Ben's Workp. 331
Epiloguep. 337
Notesp. 343
Glossary of Organizations and Spanish Termsp. 377
Bibliographyp. 379
Indexp. 387