986: Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt

by Gerard


986.10634092: Betancourt, Ingrid. Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle. New York: Penguin, 2010. 528 pp. ISBN 1-101-43891-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and geography
  • 980: History of South America
  • 986: History of Columbia and Ecuador
  • 986.1: History of Columbia
  • 986.106: 1863 to present
  • 986.1063: 1930 to present
  • 986.10634: 1974 to 1991
  • +092: Biography

Without a doubt, Ingrid Betancourt’s Even Silence Has an End is one of the most heart-breaking, gut-wrenching memoirs I’ve read in a long time. In 2002, Betancourt was campaigning to become President of Colombia as a Green Party member. At a traffic checkpoint in Colombia’s DMZ, she was kidnapped by a member of the revolutionary FARC, and then held for more than six years. She was kept with many other captured people from around the world. She found herself among a mix of nationalities, social statuses, and walks of life. Her story is one of hope and loss, of freedom and failure.

Betancourt’s imprisonment caught the attention of the world. As a dual Colombian-French citizen-diplomat, several world governments tried to engage the Colombians for her release. Each year she was captured, at least one rescue attempt or negotiation was started, but it wasn’t until 2008 that she was freed from captivity. Her experiences in the jungle prison are both harrowing and enlightening. While there are some to dismiss her retelling of the events as either politically motivated or self-serving, they are still true. While imprisoned, she endured not only physical torture, but also news of her father’s death. Through all this, she still find ways to connect with those around her and not fall too deeply into despair. It is a long tale, told with excruciating detail, and very much demands your attentions. A lengthy but ultimately necessary book.