Historian Erik Ching has structured a meticulous yet accessible account of a conflictive public sphere in El Salvador. He contends that today four different “memory communities” clash over what happened in the 12-year civil war and over its causes and aftermath. He bases his argument on careful readings of more than 50 memoirs, testimonials, and interviews published since the war ended in 1992. He declares from the start that the book offers not “an objective account of El Salvador's civil war, but rather an objective study of the way Salvadorans are remembering their war” (p. 9).

Over the past 20 years Ching has written widely on Salvadoran history and memory, and this book contributes to the growing corpus on collective memory in Central America. Ching is something of an academic entrepreneur, cofounding the El Salvador Studies Working Group and promoting scholarship through...

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