The Salvador Option

The Salvador Option : The United States in El Salvador, 1977-1992

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El Salvador's civil war between the Salvadoran government and Marxist guerrillas erupted into full force in early 1981 and endured for eleven bloody years. Unwilling to tolerate an advance of Soviet and Cuban-backed communism in its geopolitical backyard, the US provided over six billion dollars in military and economic aid to the Salvadoran government. El Salvador was a deeply controversial issue in American society and divided Congress and the public into left and right. Relying on thousands of archival documents as well as interviews with participants on both sides of the war, The Salvador Option offers a thorough and fair-minded interpretation of the available evidence. If success is defined narrowly, there is little question that the Salvador Option achieved its Cold War strategic objectives of checking communism. Much more difficult, however, is to determine what human price this 'success' entailed - a toll suffered almost entirely by Salvadorans in this brutal civil war.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 680 pages
  • 153 x 228 x 40mm | 980g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 5 Maps; 38 Halftones, unspecified; 3 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 1316500640
  • 9781316500644
  • 2,266,403

Table of contents

1. Introduction; Part I. El Salvador in the Cold War: 2. Farabundo Marti, la matanza, and a stolen election; 3. The United States in Latin America; 4. American military mission in El Salvador; 5. A divided nation: military traditions, democratic third way, and liberation theology; 6. Guerrillas are born; Part II. Jimmy Carter: 7. Revolution and counterinsurgency in Guatemala; 8. Mass organizations; 9. Carter arrives; 10. Carter and the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, 1979; 11. An October coup; 12. Carter engages Salvador; 13. Archbishop Romero; 14. Land; 15. The American churchwomen; 16. Arming the rebels; 17. Guerrilla final offensive, January 1981; 18. Death squads; Part III. Ronald Reagan: 19. Reagan arrives; 20. Reagan and Salvador; 21. El Mozote; 22. Another Vietnam; 23. Solidarity; 24. Troop cap and certifying human rights; 25. Reagan gambles on elections, 1982; 26. The Shultz doctrine; 27. Human rights; 28. Henry Kissinger; 29. Contras; 30. 'Elections yes, dialogue no', 1984 presidential election; 31. La Palma; 32. Esquipulas; 33. Counterinsurgency I; 34. Counterinsurgency II; 35. Zona rosa; 36. Air war; 37. Jose Napoleon Duarte; 38. Iran-Contra; Part IV. George H. W. Bush: 39. Elusive justice; 40. Pessimism; 41. Bush arrives; 42. Bush, Cristiani, and the 1989 vote; 43. Guerrilla 'second' final offensive, 1989; 44. Jesuit killings; 45. SAMs; 46. United Nations and peace; 47. Demobilization; Part V. Post-war: 48. Post-war Salvador; 49. Concluding thoughts; Bibliography.
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Review quote

'Crandall is an elegant writer and keen storyteller, and The Salvador Option covers an important but little-understood episode of the Cold War with considerable historical and analytical skill. For students of U.S. foreign policy, diplomats with an eye on Central America, or even casual film buffs wondering if Oliver Stone has any idea what El Salvador is really like, this book is essential reading.' Benjamin Russell, Americas Quarterly 'The great virtue of Crandall's comprehensive overview of US foreign policy toward this small Central American country is the balance and fairness with which he tells the story. Building chiefly on secondary sources, Crandall (Davidson College) describes the emergence and evolution of revolutionary conflict in El Salvador from the late 1970s to the early 1990s and shows how foreign powers influenced the ongoing war ... This well-written book is recommended for scholars and general readers alike.' M. Amstutz, Choice 'At the time of its publication, there was no other book on the market that provided a comprehensive survey of US policy in El Salvador in the 1980s, and Crandall did us a service by assembling this one.' Erik Ching, Latin American Research Review
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About Russell Crandall

Russell Crandall is a Professor of American foreign policy at Davidson College. His previous books include America's Dirty Wars: Irregular Warfare from 1776 to the War on Terror (2014), The United States and Latin America after the Cold War (2008), Gunboat Democracy: US Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama, and Driven by Drugs: US Policy toward Colombia (2006). Interwoven with his academic career, Crandall has held foreign policy appointments within several sectors of the US government, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, and the National Security Council at the White House. He is also a writer at American Interest magazine, a member of the editorial board at America's Quarterly magazine, and a contributing editor and book reviewer at the journal Survival: Global Policy and Strategy.
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Rating details

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