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July 2017 Vol. 54 No. 11

University of California Press

The following review appeared in the July 2017 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
Political Science - Comparative Politics

Eisenbrandt, Matt. Assassination of a saint: the plot to murder Óscar Romero and the quest to bring his killers to justice. California, 2017. 226p bibl index ISBN 9780520286795, $85.00; ISBN 978052028680 pbk, $29.95; ISBN 9780520961890 ebook, $29.95.

Eisenbrandt offers a thorough accounting of the evidence available against those who committed the 1980 murder of the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. The author is an attorney who, while working as a member of the trial team at the Center for Justice and Accountability, participated in the civil suits against the alleged perpetrators in US courts. The author explains the larger historical and political context, including the decades-long civil unrest in El Salvador, which played against the backdrop of the Cold War and the long history of US support for ruthless, oftentimes US-trained, military leaders who were given free rein to govern by force at the cost of hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran lives. Archbishop Romero was initially supported and respected by the right-wing oligarchy that controlled the country. However, as human rights violations became more severe, as Romero’s colleagues were killed, and as he became a lone public voice of information and opposition to the death squads and those who supported them, he became a target himself. Regardless of the degree to which the perpetrators of human rights violations in El Salvador are brought to justice in the US and in El Salvador, this volume is important for the preservation of historical memory.

--K. Sorensen, Bentley University

Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty.