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Torn from the World
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About the Author

John Gibler lives and writes in Mexico. He is the author of Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt, To Die in Mexico: Dispatches From Inside the Drug War, 20 poemas para ser leidos en una balacera, Tzompaxtle: La fuga de un guerrillero, and I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa. His work on Ayotzinapa has been published in California Sunday Magazine, featured on NPR's All Things Considered, and praised by The New Yorker.

Reviews

In these times when truth is relativized for the sake of political expediency, Gibler's is a sobering account that provides readers with the materials from which he elaborates his story of Tzompaxtle. This book offers an implicit response to the denigration of journalism, hence of truth-telling.--Jose Rabasa, author of Writing Violence on the Northern FrontierJohn Gibler has produced a giant of a book. A combination of a political thriller, personal testimony, interviews, and deep, insightful reflection, Torn from the World is a work full of pain. It is also charged with hope--a hope born of the struggle against systemic violence, and of the struggle to survive and to live in a better world, one of equality for all.--Joseph Nevins, author of Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global ApartheidJournalist Gibler (I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us) presents a raw and stirring portrait of Andres Tzompaxtle Tecpile, a member of the Popular Revolutionary Army, a guerrilla group in Guerrero, Mexico, who survived kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture by the Mexican army. In October of 1996, Tzompaxtle was kidnapped and taken to a secret prison, where for four mouths he was beaten and repeatedly tortured by electric shocks in an effort to coerce out of him information about his group's whereabouts. Drawing from numerous interviews with Tzompaxtle and his family, as well as others involved in Mexico's underground resistance, Gibler constructs an account of the entire ordeal including Tzompaxtle's unlikely escape, which he presumed was a suicide mission, and his continued clandestine fight 'against a criminal state' in the years since. In his telling of Tzompaxtle's story, Gibler reflects on the economically and politically deprived state of Guerrero, the decades-long struggle between armed resistance and Mexico's repressive government, and to what extent he can write about violence without perpetuating it. Gibler's fervent glimpse into Mexico's underground succeeds in his goal to bring to light the struggles of the oppressed and traumatized people there.--Publishers WeeklyAndres Tzompaxtle Tecpile, a member of a guerrilla group in the Mexican state of Guerrero, was abducted by the Mexican military one evening in October 1996, held for four months, and brutally tortured. Gibler, the author of the shattering I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us (2017), presents another devastating but necessary book. Reading this in light of the confirmation of the latest director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, who oversaw 'enhanced interrogation techniques' in an earlier CIA position, is especially poignant in that this is a powerful reminder of the dreadful cost the use of torture entails, and of the U.S.' role in perpetuating torture on the American continents. Gibler's interviews with Tzompaxtle Tecpile provide the marrow for a carefully researched, meticulously constructed, and often excruciating narrative. While honoring Tzompaxtle Tecpile's story, Gibler honors the reader's intelligence, nimbly deconstructing the roots and the legacy of torture. This is an important look at the price exacted by the legitimatizing of state-sponsored violence and the concealment of the truth about such operations, and their disastrous consequences for everyone.--Sara Martinez, Booklist Starred ReviewAn important story that needs to be told. Gibler does Tecpile justice in sharing his experience eloquently and truthfully. This work will hold wide appeal for anyone interested in social activism, civil rights, and Mexican history.--Library JournalLike Gibler's previous book on Mexican disappearances (I Couldn't Even Imagine that They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa, 2017), this is a work of advocacy journalism, one that dispenses with any pretense of objectivity in pursuit of a deeper truth. Even more provocatively, the author recognizes that in matters involving torture, the whole story may never be known. The experience transcends language and short-circuits memory, and it can't be captured in the words of a cohesive narrative.--Kirkus Reviews

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