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.