A MIRACLE, A UNIVERSE by Lawrence Weschler

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In recent years as countries around the globe have begun to move from dictatorial to more democratic systems of governance, no more traumatic (or dramatic) ethical problem has arisen than what to do with the previous regime’s torturers. In most cases, the security and military apparatuses, responsible for the overwhelming majority of human-rights abuses, still retain tremendous power—and will not abide any settling of accounts.
Now, New Yorker staff reporter Lawrence Weschler tells the extraordinary story of how, against tremendous odds, torture victims and human-rights activists in two Latin American countries—Brazil and Uruguay—tried to bring their torturers to justice and to rehabilitate their whole societies from harrowing periods of silence and repression. In this first of his two accounts, he tells how a tiny group of torture victims, clerics, and human-rights activists in Brazil launched an extremely risky, nonviolent plot to get even with the former torturers by publishing an indisputable account of their savage system of repression—indisputable because it is drawn from the regime’s own files. In the second, set in Uruguay, he tells how a more broadly-based movement attempted to bring to light the dark history of a military regime engaged in more political incarceration per capita than any other on earth at that time.
In this illuminating and beautifully written book (portions of which appeared in five issues of The New Yorker), Weschler examines what a small number of individuals can do to retrieve history and truth from the hands of torturers.

About Lawrence Weschler

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Lawrence Weschler is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where he specializes in political and cultural reporting. His book The Passion of Poland includes his reports on solidarity and martial law, for which he was awarded the 1981-2 Hemingway Prize of the Overseas Press Club for the year’s best magazine reporting from abroad. His art-world writings include Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, David Hockney’s Comeraworks, and Shapinsky’s Karma, which was awarded the 1988 George Polk Award for the year’s best cultural reporting. Mr. Weschler has also written for Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, Artforum, Los Angeles Times, and the International Herald Tribune. Mr. Weschler lives in New York with his wife and daughter.
Published January 2, 2013 by Pantheon. 293 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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A probing, philosophical inquiry into torture—and its effects—in Latin America; by the author of The Passion of Poland (1984), etc., a New Yorker staff writer.

Apr 12 1990 | Read Full Review of A MIRACLE, A UNIVERSE: SETTLIN

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After the demise of Brazil's repressive military regime, a group of ex-prisoners, all former torture victims, banded together to document their captors' atrocities--arbitrary arrests and ``disappearan


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