Winner, A Choice Outstanding Academic Book
From 1964 until 1985, Brazil was ruled by a military regime that sanctioned the systematic use of torture in dealing with its political opponents. The catalog of what went on during that grim period was originally published in Portuguese as Brasil: Nunca Mais (Brazil: Never Again) in 1985.
The volume was based on the official documentation kept by the very military that perpetrated the horrific acts. These extensive documents include military court proceedings of actual trials, secretly photocopied by lawyers associated with the Catholic Church and analyzed by a team of researchers. Their daring project--known as BNM for Brasil: Nunca Mais--compiled more than 2,700 pages of testimony by political prisoners documenting close to three hundred forms of torture.
The BNM project proves conclusively that torture was an essential part of the military justice system and that judicial authorities were clearly aware of the use of torture to extract confessions. Still, it took more than a decade after the publication of Brasil: Nunca Mais for the armed forces to admit publicly that such torture had ever taken place. Torture in Brazil, the English version of the book re-edited here, serves as a timely reminder of the role of Brazil's military in past repression.
About the Author:
Jaime Wright lives in Vitória, Brazil, where he serves as a spokesman for the BNM project. Joan Dassin, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, has long experience as a human rights advocate and scholar of Brazil.