A mesmerizing, prophetic tour de force of investigative journalism exposing the pervasive thuggishness of the Argentine military elite. Originally published in 1957, this is the first English-language edition.
In the wake of a Peronist challenge to the country’s leaders on June 9, 1956, a dozen alleged Peronist revolutionaries were dragged out of a gathering in a house in Buenos Aires, driven by bus to a deserted field by government officials and shot. When Walsh, a young journalist and novelist steeped in detective fiction, heard that there were survivors from the massacre, which took place not far from his flat, he was profoundly shaken, resolved to unearth the facts and expose what he calls a pernicious culture by the criminal minority of Argentine society “that can only stay in power through deceit and violence.” Over the course of a year, Walsh obsessively pursued the victims—the severely wounded Juan Carlos Livraga and other survivors, their families, informers and “anonymous heroes”—to root out the truth of what happened that fateful night. Walsh’s meticulously detailed style is remarkable, and he ably portrays each victim, his family life and struggles, and he sorts out the sequence of events on the night and the later charade of bringing the military officers to court. The author’s exposure of the outrageous usurping of justice and truth would prove only the tip of the criminal iceberg as Argentina’s subsequent “Dirty War” progressed, earning the courageous journalist notoriety. On March 25, 1977, the day after he posted another incendiary text, “Open Letter from a Writer to the Military Junta” (included here), he was murdered.
A chilling, lucid work, beautifully translated by Gitlin, which serves as a great example of journalistic integrity.