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The Death of Ben Linder -- by Joan KruckewittThe Death of Ben Linder
The Story of a North American in Sandinista Nicaragua
By Joan Kruckewitt

"Kruckewitt cuts through the turbulent politics of the 80's in Central America to tell the story of one young man's dream against the back drop of love, war and assassination.

With great care towards historic detail, Kruckewitt has performed a scholarly service to any student of history, as well as bringing to life the day to day struggle of this poor Latin American country under siege and those volunteers who flocked from allover the world to lend aid.

Kruckewitt's tale builds suspensefully, chapter after chapter as the thumbscrews of the United State's illegal war against Nicaragua tighten against modest social change and on Linder's personal journey into the Sandinista revolution. Kruckewitt reveals the effects of Washington's corrupt political policy that ultimately ends in the murder of this dedicated man and his Nicaraguan companions -poignantly told in a heartbreaking narrative that takes you deep into the Nicaraguan mountains filled with danger and hope. As the body count rises around him, Linder, an engineer, races against time to complete his small hydro-electric project in the rural village of El Cua – the ever increasing threat of death from military attacks takes on metaphorical proportions of David and Goliath. As those struggling to build and benefit from the tiny power plant are picked off, one by one, by the U.S. sponsored, trained and directed mercenaries known as the "Contras" we are swept breathlessly to his death.

This is a riveting, suspenseful drama, a study in courage and hope – hope in the face of the an enemy both ideological and lethally real. For those wishing to understand the passions, conflicts and historic context of the Nicaraguan controversy, set in a gripping , tragic context – read this book."

Review from Amazon by Evelyn Tully Costa, Four Corners Radio/NPR Freelancer

Publisher's book description:

In 1987, the Death of Ben Linder, the first American killed by President Reagan's "freedom fighters," the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Contras, ignited a firestorm of protest and debate. In this landmark first biography of Linder, investigative journalist Joan Kruckewitt tells his story.

In the summer of 1983, a 23-year-old American named Ben Linder arrived in Managua with a unicycle and a newly earned degree in engineering. In 1986, Linder moved from Managua to El Cuá, a village in the Nicaraguan war zone, where he helped form a team to build a hydroplant to bring electricity to the town. He was ambushed and killed by the Contras the following year while surveying a stream for a possible hydroplant.

In 1993, Kruckewitt traveled to the Nicaraguan mountains to investigate Linder's death. In July 1995. she finally located and interviewed one of the men who killed Ben Linder, a story that became the basis for a New Yorker feature on Linder's death. Linder's story is a portrait of one idealist who died for his beliefs, as well as a picture of a failed foreign policy, vividly exposing the true dimensions of a war that forever marked the lives of both Nicaraguans and Americans.


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