Fear in Chile

Lives Under Pinochet

First-person accounts of life in Pinochet’s Chile—“the perfect epitaph to a violent dictatorship” (Library Journal)

“Like a García Márquez novel that has suddenly, horrifyingly, come to real life” (New York Newsday), Fear in Chile is an extraordinary collection of firstperson accounts of life under dictatorship. In the 1980s, shortly after Chile emerged from one of the century’s most notorious reigns of terror, Chilean journalist Patricia Politzer interviewed figures including a revolutionary activist, a military leader loyal to General Augusto Pinochet, a bank clerk concerned with the status quo, the mother of one of the “disappeared,” as well as a dozen other men and women from every political position and social stratum of Chilean life. The result is a broad, vivid, yet nonideological view of modern life under military rule, about which Ariel Dorfman writes, “I can think of no better introduction to my country.”

With the October 1998 arrest of General Pinochet in Great Britain and renewed world awareness of the horrendous crimes committed during his regime, Fear in Chile, updated with a new afterword by the author that considers the recent attempts to prosecute Pinochet for human-rights violations, offers a vivid portrait of Chile’s Pinochet era.


“Every story has revealing, touching moments. . . . The voices in Fear in Chile tell about events in Chile but say much more about the human spirit.”
The Boston Globe
“A remarkable and moving document about life under military dictatorship.”
“Dramatic. . . . A timely, balanced report.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Vivid. . . . Politzer’s interviews weave a chronicle of sustained horror.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Must-reading for would-be dictators. . . . Chileans had always thought ‘it can’t happen here’; Politzer, one of Chile’s best opposition journalists, shows how it did.”
The New York Times

Goodreads Reviews