From 1973 to 1990, approximately 370,000 Chilean men performed compulsory military service during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Decades later, groups of these ex-conscripts petitioned the state for unpaid pension contributions as well as reparations for physical and psychological damage. Leith Passmore has written a compelling book about these veterans and the politics of national memory in Chile. His deeply researched book draws on legal records, court proceedings, oral histories, testimonies, and his own interviews with former conscripts who variously describe their experience guarding borders, enforcing curfews, building roads, and carrying out missions of internal repression. The voices of these soldiers are powerful because they represent firsthand accounts of army life during an era marked by states of siege, harsh training methods, and the preparation for war with Peru and Argentina.

In the early twenty-first century, members of ex-conscript groups formed...

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