Hostage Memoirs

When the Colombian and American hostages held by the FARC were spectacularly rescued last July, most of the press coverage focused on the French-Colombian politician ├Źngrid Betancourt. But a couple of days ago, NPR had an intriguing piece about recent memoirs by former hostages, including one book by three Americans:

The book is much more than a survival tale; it also provides intimate details about life in rebel camps, such as petty jealousies between hostages and romances between prisoners. And it paints a not-so-rosy picture of Betancourt, who was considered the most valuable hostage.

Stansell describes her as self-absorbed, even spiteful. He says she hoarded books and food and determined bathing schedules.

“Whether they like it or not, I apologize. I don’t want to offend anybody, but I did not tell any lies,” Stansell says.

The book, which apparently contains an unflattering portrait of Betancourt, has been excerpted by some publications in Colombia and will be published there once it is translated into Spanish.