The following is an incomplete, ever-growing list of interesting, insightful books dealing with the military dictatorships of Argentina and Chile in the 1970s and '80s.
Argentina - Non-Fiction
Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number by Jacobo Timerman: The definitive, personal account of Argentina during the Dirty War. Timerman was a prominent journalist and desaparecido; his work also gets into the prevalence of anti-Semitism in Argentina.
A Lexicon of Terror by Marguerite Feitlowitz: Examines the Dirty War through the lens of language and how the authoritarian military government employed twisted language as a means of structuring this warped period. However, the title is a little misleading; language is prominent in two chapters, but beyond that the work offers a good overview of the slow emergence of truth surrounding the desaparecidos.
Nunca Mas: A Report by Argentina's National Commission on Disappeared People: The definitive account of the abuses that took place during Argentina's period of military rule, including extensive first-person testimony.
Argentina - Fiction
Black Novel (with Argentines) by Luisa Valenzuela: While set exclusively in New York, this novel is really about the trauma inflicted by the Argentine military government's on the people forced to live under it. Violence lurks behind every corner, almost serving as an extra character, permeating every aspect of the displaced Argentines' lives.
Chile - Non-Fiction
The Dictator's Shadow by Heraldo Munoz: An excellent account of the Allende coup and subsequent rule of Pinochet. Munoz, a strong Allende supporter and senator in post-Pinochet Chile, is at his best when mixing personal anecdotes with the more typical historical accounts. In particular, his description of the non-violent resistance against Pinochet is striking.
The Murder of Allende by Rojas Sandford: While it doesn't offer a lot of direct insight into Allende, this work does outline the development of the coup quite nicely. That said, I suspect there are better books on the subject; much information about the role of the US only emerged over the last decade.
Chile: Death in the South by Jacobo Timerman: While not as powerful as his personal account in Argentina, this is an efficient description of the rise of Pinochet and his use of violence in Chile. The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents by John Dinges: A work of investigative journalism that examines the development of Operation Condor in southern SA and the role played by the US / awareness of the US of the torture employed by Condor agents. A bit dry and slow paced, but this is the first look at a lot of documents related to the US.
Chile - Fiction
Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman: A Chilean woman, tortured by Pinochet's military, comes in contact with her torturer 15 years later. A dramatic portrayal of the tension between vengeance and reconciliation.
General Latin American History
Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean by Peter Winn: A cinder block of a book, over 600 pages and massive in scope, spanning all of Latin America since contact. Obviously, a number of chapters are irrelevant to our focus here, but some are really useful, including the critical role women played in resisting the authoritarian governments in Argentina and Chile.
More on the Legacy Project's 2010 program in Chile and Argentina:
Application: Click here to apply for the Legacy Project's 2010 program in Chile and Argentina!
Itinerary: A rough overview of the trip as planned (regularly updated).
FAQ: Answers to the most common questions we hear about our student trips.
Trip Cost: A breakdown of the 2010 program costs in Chile and Argentina
Scouting Trip Report: Detailed reports from the many meetings we had on our scouting trip to Chile and Argentina in May 2009
Argentine Detention Centers: An overview of the major ex-Clandestine Centers of Detention, Torture, and Execution in Buenos Aires with advice on visiting them
Other Resources: Assorted links to helpful sites