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The following review appeared in the December 2014 issue of CHOICE:

Latin America & the Caribbean
2013-48706 CIP
Carassai, Sebastián. The Argentine silent majority: middle classes, politics, violence, and memory in the seventies. Duke, 2014. 357p bibl index afp ISBN 9780822355960, $94.95; ISBN 9780822356011 pbk, $24.95.

Without mentioning Richard Nixon, sociologist Carassai (Univ. of Buenos Aires) picks up the phrase “silent majority” that the subsequently discredited US president popularized in 1969 and applies it to contemporaneous events in Argentina.  Nixon used the term to refer to a vaguely defined apolitical middle class that allegedly supported the Vietnam War, but who were overshadowed by a vocal and mobilized minority who opposed his policies.  In this revision of his doctoral dissertation in history, based on interviews with nonactivists from the capital city of Buenos Aires, the provincial capital of Tucumán, and the small town of Correa, Carassai reinforces many of these conservative stereotypes.  He analyzes residents’ memories of the turbulent years of 1969 through 1983, and seeks to understand and explain their behavior during this period.  Carassai contends that most Argentines supported the status quo, and blames the guerrillas for political violence during this period.  This lengthy and plodding work is most usefully read in conjunction with the expansive literature on Latin America’s so-called “dirty wars.”

--M. Becker, Truman State University

Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty.

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