In 2005, investigators searching a Guatemala City neighborhood for explosives stumbled upon the National Police archives. In Paper Cadavers, Kirsten Weld tells the story of the ensuing Project for the Recovery of the National Police Historical Archives (“the Project”), a foreign-funded initiative staffed by Guatemalan activists charged with the rescue of 75 million documents, the largest collection of secret state papers ever found in Latin America. Placing “archival logic” at the center of her narrative, Weld traces the archive's transformation from an instrument of state terror and control to one of historical memory and democratic opening. The book's explication of how archives relate to power makes it of general interest throughout the field, even as it offers regional specialists the first English-language study of the National Police (PN). Paper Cadavers also adds to a new literature on Guatemala City from the...

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