Cover image for Exorcising terror : the incredible unending trial of general Augusto Pinochet
Exorcising terror : the incredible unending trial of general Augusto Pinochet
Dorfman, Ariel.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Seven Stories Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
223 pages ; 18 cm.
Covers one of the most important human rights trials of the last 50 years, every twist and turn of the four-year-old trial in Great Britain, Spain, and Chile. For the first time in the twentieth century, a former head of state was being judged by a foreign court. Addresses some of today's burning issues, such as what are the limits of national sovereignity in a globalizing world?
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F3101.P56 D57 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Renowned author Ariel Dorfman, obsessed for twenty-five years with the malignant shadow General Pinochet cast upon Chile and the world, followed every twist and turn of the four year old trial in Great Britain, Spain and Chile as well as in the U.S., the country that had created Pinochet. Told as a suspense thriller, filled with court-room drama and sudden reversals of fortune, the book at the same time addresses some of today's most burning issues, made all the more urgent after the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. What are the limits of national sovereignty in a globalizing world? How does an ever more interconnected world judge crimes committed against humanity? What role do memory and pain and the rights of the survivors play in this struggle for a new system of justice? But above all, the author, by listening carefully to the voices of Pinochet's many victims, explores how can we purge ourselves of terror and fear once we have been traumatized, and asks if we can build peace and reconciliation without facing a turbulent and perverse past.

Author Notes

Born in Buenos Aires in 1942, Ariel Dorfman is a Chilean citizen. A supporter of Salvador Allende, he was forced into exile and has lived in the United States for many years. Since writing his legendary essay, "How to Read Donald Duck", Dorfman has built up an impressive body of work that has translated into more than thirty languages. Besides poetry, essays and novels--"Hard Rain" (Readers International, 1990), winner of the Sudamericana Award; "Widows" (Pluto Press, 1983); "The Last Song of Manuel Sendero" (Viking, 1987); "Mascara" (Viking, 1988); "Konfidenz" (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1995)--he has written plays, including "Death and the Maiden", and produced in ninety countries. He has won various international awards, including two Kennedy Center Theatre Awards. With his son, Rodrigo, he received an award for best television drama in Britain for "Prisoners of Time" in 1996. A professor at Duke University, Dorfman lives in Durham, North Carolina.

(Publisher Provided) Ariel Dorfman, Dorfman is a Walter Hines Page Research Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies and has a Licenciatura in Comparative Literature from the Universidad de Chile, Santiago, 1965. He has taught at the Universidad de Chile, the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and the University of Amsterdam.

Dorfman has written essays that include "How to Read Donald Duck" (coll. With Armand Mattlelart, 1971), "The Empire's Old Clothes" (1983) and "Someone Writes to the Future: Essays on Contemporary Latin American Fiction" (1991). He has also written a collection of poetry titled "Last Waltz in Santiago and Other Poems of Exile and Disappearance" (1988) and a collection of stories titled "My House Is One Fire." His novels include "Widows" (1983), "The Last Song of Manuel Sendero" (1986), "Mascara" (1988), "Hard Rain" (1990), "Konfidenz" (1995), and "The Nanny and the Iceburg" (1999).

The play "Widows" won a New American Plays Award from the Kennedy Center and "Reader" won the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center. "Death and the Maiden" also won many awards and was made into a Roman Polanski film and "Mascara" (with son Rodrigo Dorfman) premiered in Bonn in 1998. He created a collection of his plays, "The Resistance Trilogy," which includes "Death and the Maiden," "Reader," and "Widows."

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Acclaimed Chilean novelist Dorfman (Blake's Therapy, etc.) offers a work slim but dense with emotion. The author follows the appeals, victories and defeats involved in Spain's, and then Chile's own, attempts to try Augusto Pinochet for crimes he committed as president of Chile in the 1970s and '80s. The tale begins when Dorfman, about to board a plane for San Francisco, first hears the news of Pinochet's detention by Scotland Yard and of Spain's call for extradition to try him for crimes against humanity. As Dorfman follows the case (listening by radio, watching live Webcasts and even sitting in the audience of the House of Lords) and leads readers through appeal after appeal, he dives deep into the history of Pinochet's ascension in 1973 and provides heartbreaking and horrific accounts of torture and murders committed by Pinochet's men under his command. All the while, with a philosophical scalpel, the author cuts away at the question, How did Pinochet come to be? How did he move from the man who, before the coup, was "servile and fawning," to the man who called for the torture and murder of people who had counted him a good friend? Though the question is never fully answered in the end, and Pinochet is not tried by either Spain or Chile (for reasons of mental incapacity), the book finishes on a positive note, citing the Serbian uprising against Milosevic as influenced by the Pinochet episode. All in all, this is an excellent, quick and powerful read, accessible to everyone. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved