Title: Operation Massacre
Author: Rodolfo Walsh
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publish Date: 1957
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "1956. Argentina has just
lost its charismatic president Juán Perón in a military coup, and terror
reigns across the land. June 1956: eighteen people are reported dead in
a failed Peronist uprising. December 1956: sometime journalist, crime
fiction writer, studiedly unpoliticized chess aficionado Rodolfo Walsh
learns by chance that one of the executed civilians from a separate,
secret execution in June, is alive. He hears that there may be more than
one survivor and believes this unbelievable story on the spot. And
right there, the monumental classic Operation Massacre is born.
made it his mission to find not only the survivors but widows, orphans,
political refugees, fugitives, alleged informers, and anonymous heroes,
in order to determine what happened that night, sending him on a
journey that took over the rest of his life.
Originally published in 1957, Operation Massacre thoroughly and breathlessly recounts the night of the execution and its fallout."
My Two Cents:
Massacre" takes place during a very dark time in Argentina's history.
It is the 1950s and the political establishment has been upended.
Charismatic President Juan Peron lost the presidency during a coup. The
Peronistas try to stage an uprising, which fails, and journalist,
Rodolfo Walsh is at the center of it trying to find out what happened.
Walsh uses his skills as a journalist in order to shed some light on
what happened during and after the uprising and how it affected the
entire country. This is an unflinching true-life account of a country in
One of my majors in college was International Studies
with a focus in Latin America. I am still endlessly fascinated about
this area of the world and I am sort of surprised that I didn't come
across this book earlier in my studies. I was very happy to be able to
borrow it from a friend. It was really interesting to read about this
event from a more on-the-ground approach than you would get from a
standard history book. Walsh is a very driven individual and really
wants to shed light on what happened. He draws on a lot of interviews
and first hand accounts of people who were there and witnessed both the
uprising and the fallout. I really liked that he focused so heavily on
the accounts of people who were actually there and who actually
In a lot of ways, this book reminded me of Truman
Capote's "In Cold Blood" in the way that it was told. It is a gripping
story that pulled me in right from the beginning. I love learning
history through books like this one as they get you right into the heart
of the issue.
The history behind how this book was published is
fascinating as well. This was originally published as magazine articles
as the magazine was the only one brave enough to publish these stories
(this would have been an incredibly controversial work during that time
period). It's really fantastic that Walsh's work got published at all as
the magazine editor could have just as easily said no for his own
If you're interested in history and especially if you
are interested in politics or South America, this is most definitely a