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  • Book about Nicaragua, Contra war

    I think this book will be of interest to members of this group. It describes the experiences of one American officer who worked with the Nicaraguan contras during 1988 and 1989. It is filled with observations on the cultural differences between North Americans and Central Americans, and describes what life was like for one "gringo" who lived and worked with the Nicaraguan resistance.
    ------------------------

    CONTRA CROSS: INSURGENCY AND TYRANNY IN CENTRAL AMERICA 1979-1989
    BY WILLIAM R. MEARA

    Published this month by Naval Institute Press

    http://www.contracross.com

    Why does the United States have such difficulty dealing with
    insurgency?

    A look back at the Central American wars of the 1980s sheds light on
    the problem. Contra Cross presents one young American officer's journey
    through Central America's violent decade of revolution and
    counterrevolution. Bill Meara started out as a teacher at a Catholic
    school in Guatemala, but he went on to become one of fifty-five U.S.
    military advisers assisting the Salvadorans in their fight against
    communism. By the end of the decade, he was in the U.S. Foreign Service
    working as a liaison officer to the Nicaraguan contras. Meara was one
    of very few Americans to work on both sides of insurgency in the
    region: in El Salvador he supported efforts to defeat insurgents; with
    Nicaraguans he worked to keep an insurgency alive.

    Contra Cross takes readers into the world of an American adviser
    struggling with cultural differences and human rights violations while
    trying to stay alive in murderous El Salvador. We join Meara on
    dangerous helicopter rides into contra base camps on the
    Honduran-Nicaraguan border, and learn what it's like to be in a U.S.
    embassy under attack. From Special Forces school at Ft. Bragg, to lunch
    with Communist defectors in El Salvador, to a contra POW camp deep in
    the jungle, we get a taste of life on the cutting edge of America's
    controversial Central America policy.

    More than a collection of war stories, Contra Cross explores the
    difficult moral and ideological issues of the Central American wars.
    Meara's experiences with insurgency and counterinsurgency allow him to
    provide critically important insights on why the United States has such
    difficulty dealing with ragtag armies of third-world rebels.

    "Dead-on accurate, readable, and honest, this book will give no comfort
    to those gringo politicians still mourning the communist failures in El
    Salvador and Nicaragua. Bill Meara is someone who has the
    insurgency-counterinsurgency era in Central America nailed." -- Col.
    John Waghelstein, USA (Ret.), Naval War College, former commander of
    U.S. Military Group - El Salvador and of the 7th Special Forces Group

    "A boots-in-the-mud personal memoir from the battlefields of El
    Salvador's Marxist revolution and Nicaragua's Contra War, Contra Cross
    is also an eerily timely admonition of the challenges and pitfalls of
    today's 'transformational' efforts to democratize the world. It is a
    warning that victory will require both a very long-term commitment of
    major national resources and some serious attitude adjustments by us,
    beginning with our military and diplomatic corps." -- Dr. Timothy C.
    Brown, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, author of The Real
    Contra War

    "Contra Cross is not only a refreshing and an uplifting change from
    most war memoirs, it is also punctuated with the beautifully written
    highs and lows of everyday life. Meara studiously avoids both personal
    aggrandizement and being an apologist for American politicians. His
    clear and uncommon common sense is refreshing and does much more: It
    adds weight to his observations both as a Green Beret--trained officer
    and a U.S. State Department foreign service officer. For the military
    historian as well as anyone seeking a deeper understanding of how
    American overseas assistance worked, this book is a must. The fact that
    the writing reflects intelligence, candor, and fairness to all sides is
    a terrific bonus."
    -- Loyd Little, former Green Beret
    author of the award-winning Vietnam novel Parthian Shot

    William R. Meara served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1984 to
    1988, attaining the rank of captain, and then joined the U.S. Foreign
    Service where he has served as a diplomat in Honduras, Spain, the
    Dominican Republic, the Azores, and the United Kingdom.

  • #2
    Guys @Palmerola would love to hear from you

    Hello Mr. Meara,

    My name is J B Call, and I am a U S contractor (computer nerd) at Palmerola. I'm currently in the middle of your book. I stumbled across your book when a nice lady named Vilma showed me some of her "Resistencia" pictures and ID card, and gave me a piece of paper that came with a bullet/cross much like the one on the cover of your book.

    This is my second hitch as a contractor at Palmerola. I work for a retired Colonel who stood up the base after a stint as SOUTHCOM J3. If you are ever back in the area and can perhaps speak at the Embassy or even at the base, I'd love to be there. I am especially interested in your thoughts regarding whether history in this area is repeating itself.

    Regards,
    J B Call
    jbcall4<at>gmail.com
    Palmerola 2011

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