I decided to read this when I became curious about the Allende/Pinochet coup in Chile while reading [b:Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power|152545|Nixon and Kissinger Partners in Power|Robert Dallek|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347706733s/152545.jpg|1277487]. Having not lived through the 60s and 70s, it was easy to be swept away in the depersonalized, strategic geopolitics, and Missing was a perfect antidote.
The first half of the book was the literary equivalent of an episode of Locked Up Abroad
. You read through the events, knowing the outcome, a sense of dread building. The second half or so is an attempt to bring together information collected by the author and family and friends of Charles Horman. It was somewhat bizarre to read this given how much more
information is now available (e.g. the documents to which [a:Robert Dallek|3051|Robert Dallek|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1347566479p2/3051.jpg] had access for his book). However, that's not what this book is really about. It's about one man among the thousands and thousands that were killed during a violent coup and about exploring the United State's government's complicity or even participation in what happened.
It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it helped to bridge a disconnect that can occur when looking at history. Charles Horman's mother describes it perfectly.
“The men who run our government,” Elizabeth Horman says with more sadness than malice in her voice, “are like early Oriental potentates playing chess with live figures. They sit back and manipulate the pieces without ever realizing the cost in human lives.”