Book details

The Dictator's Shadow

Life Under Augusto Pinochet

By Heraldo Munoz

About the Book

Augusto Pinochet was the most important Third World dictator of the Cold War, and perhaps the most ruthless. In The Dictator's Shadow, United Nations Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz takes advantage of his unmatched set of perspectives—as a former revolutionary who fought the Pinochet regime, as a respected scholar, and as a diplomat—to tell what this extraordinary figure meant to Chile, the United States, and the world.

Pinochet's American backers saw his regime as a bulwark against Communism; his nation was a testing ground for U.S.-inspired economic theories. Countries desiring World Bank support were told to emulate Pinochet's free-market policies, and Chile's government pension even inspired President George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. The other baggage—the assassinations, tortures, people thrown out of airplanes, mass murders of political prisoners—was simply the price to be paid for building a modern state. But the questions raised by Pinochet's rule still remain: Are such dictators somehow necessary?

Horrifying but also inspiring, The Dictator's Shadow is a unique tale of how geopolitical rivalries can profoundly affect everyday life.

About the Author

Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz was Deputy Foreign Minister of Chile in 2000–2002 and Minister Secretary General in 2002–2003 at La Moneda Presidential Palace before assuming his present post as ambassador to the U.N., where he has served as President of the Security Council. The author of several scholarly books, he is frequently quoted on international issues by the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and other journals. He lives in New York City.


Kirkus, June 17, 2008
"The narrative seethes with palpable tension, as Muñoz shows Chile’s citizens desperately hoping for an existence free from fear. The author’s shrewd insights into international relations, national politics and human nature make this a valuable text even for readers who have rarely thought about Chile."
Washington Post
“Muñoz delivers a compelling, personal account of life in a police state and a strong reminder of how far Chile has come.”
The Daily Beast
“A gripping first-person account of the 9/11/73 fascist revolution of Augusto Pinochet in Chile.”