"A nation's narrative rendered through a personal prism, this evocative work succeeds where many similar efforts fail. The secret? Paternostro herself, a deservedly celebrated journalist, able to deftly interweave past and present and write with a compassion that resists pathos. A child of relative privilege, she left a violently changing Colombia for the States at age 15; decades later she returned as a reporter, and what follows is revelatory. Wrenching interviews with today's Colombians, unflinching descriptions of the horrors wrought by drug cartels and paramilitary groups, and unusual details keenly conveyed amount to a moving, highly memorable take on how a country lost its moorings."—The Atlantic"My Colombian War has valor . . . Paternostro returns to her infancy and adolescence and confronts her past with the present of a country that not only has profound divisions between the urban and village, but a scandalous stratification—marked by a ratio of 1 to 6—which defines the identity of the people. With a mixture of memoir and reportage—carried out, above all, with anonymous characters—and written with a silent honesty, Paternostro says she exposed herself like never before during the writing process."—Adriana Herrera, El Nuevo Herald“Silvana Paternostro confronts her own past, her family’s past, and Colombia’s past . . . in the Latin south: a drug-haunted, tangled drama of feuds, rival warlords, criminal mafias, kidnappings, and endless civil wars. An intensely personal memoir, it demonstrates at the same time a firm grasp of the political, economic, and social realities that provide the background against which the headline news of Colombia in 2007, and 2008 and succeeding years, will continue to unfold. It makes fascinating reading.”—David Fromkin, Professor of International Relations, Boston University
Silvana Paternostro is a Colombian-born journalist. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and Time, among other publications, and she is the author of In the Land of God and Man, a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. In 1999 she was selected by Time/CNN as one of the fifty Latin American leaders for the millennium. A senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, Paternostro lives in New York City.