Rebecca Atencio's Memory's Turn: Reckoning with Dictatorship in Brazil is a deceptively slender volume that carries a hefty analytical weight. The book's context is the relatively slow and circuitous route that Brazil has taken in its efforts to come to terms with the legacies of the military dictatorship of 1964–1985. After the return to civilian rule in 1985 it took over a decade for the federal government to acknowledge state accountability for past human rights violations, and over a quarter century passed before it founded a national truth commission to investigate this period. Yet, as Atencio demonstrates, these years were nonetheless marked by periodic moments of intense public debates about the meanings of the past. These oftentimes occurred when institutional mechanisms to reckon with the dictatorial period, such as official investigations, legislation, or state efforts to repurpose former torture centers, coincided with...
Victoria Langland; Memory's Turn: Reckoning with Dictatorship in Brazil. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 May 2017; 97 (2): 372–373. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-3824380
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