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Didion turns her powers of observation to El Salvador in the early 1980s, delivering a devastating anatomy of that country’s particular brand of terror—its mechanisms, rationales, and its intimate relation to our own country’s foreign policy. As Didion travels from battlefields to body dumps; interviews a puppet president; and considers the distinctly Salvadoran grammar of the verb “to disappear,” Didion performs the stations of a country’s martyrdom. Her alertness extends from the warning click of firearms along a fashionable street to the tortuous efforts with which American embassy personnel tried to “sell” Salvador’s murderous regime. The result is a controlled yet blistering work, horribly germane to any country in which bloodshed has become a standard tool of politics.