Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

by Ingrid Betancourt

Hardcover, 2010

Call number

986.106 BET



Penguin Press (2010), Edition: First Edition, 544 pages


Ingrid Betancourt tells the story of her captivity in the Colombian jungle, sharing teachings of resilience, resistance, and faith. Born in Bogotá, raised in France, Betancourt at age 32 gave up a life of comfort and safety to return to Colombia to become a political leader in a country that was being slowly destroyed by terrorism, violence, fear, and hopelessness. In 2002, while a candidate in the Colombian presidential elections, she was abducted by the FARC. She spent the next six and a half years in the depths of the jungle as their prisoner. Chained day and night for much of her captivity, she succeeded in getting away several times, always to be recaptured. The facts of her story are astounding, but it is Betancourt's indomitable spirit that drives this very special account, bringing life, nuance, and profundity to the narrative.--From publisher description.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member bakersfieldbarbara
I will never again lightly look over a news report on hostages or captivity in any form after reading this book. Life is so taken for granted when not being tormented and punished by terrorists and Ms. Betancourt's description of her ordeal will never leave my mind as I recall her astounding story. She survived over 6 years in captivity and was able, with an indomitable spirit, survive to tell minute details of how it is to be captured, harassed, raped, and made to live like an animal. She told, again in full detail, how she tried to escape many times, and of the relationships formed with other captives. I am now able to understand the depth of the enemy, those who joined the FARC because of their own belief systems; young girls in this horrible army, giving up their world to help FARC punish others; young men, who gave up their futures, to join FARC for all of the wrong reasons. Just as Betancourt traveled into a military-controlled region as an advocate for peace because she believed in her mission, these abductors were just as strong in their beliefs. Betancourt shares her metamorphosis, revealing how in the daily rituals she established for herself, listening to her mother and children broadcast to her over the radio, the daily prayers, learning how to weave, moving from the pain of the moment to a place of serenity. This is a book that should be read by all people, to understand the hostility in those who capture and the life endured by those captured.… (more)
LibraryThing member pjmorris
Excellent account of Ms. Betancourts' horrendous 6-year ordeal at the hands of FARC Guerillas
LibraryThing member BLBera
Six years in captivity under conditions of severe hardship is hard to imagine. Betancourt portrays vividly both the physical and emotional toll exacted. The problems with this memoir are the conditions that she is describing; after a while, one forced march through the jungle seems like the previous one, and one sadistic commander blurs into the next.… (more)
LibraryThing member RobinDawson
Six years of imprisonment in the jungles of the Amazon must have been a hideous experience - and it's inherently difficult to make an interesting story out of a long period of unrelieved hardship. Even harder to get through as I didn't think it was well written, and I also wondered whether the author wasn't presenting herself in a kind light.… (more)
LibraryThing member samanthafreeman
This book is not a cheery read. Six and a half long years in capticity told in a way that leaves you in awe of her abilty to remember the tiniest of details. I was moved by the book and am astounded that she was able to go through what she did and survive without going insane. It details her five escapes and the constant epic marches through the jungle as the FARC had to keep moving constanty to avoid the columbian military. It also details her relationships with her fellow hostages and her captors. I was moved by her strength, her honesty and her ablity to write about the ordeal in a poetic, spititual and philisophical way. A fascinating read on many levels. The book stays with you long after you have finished it. It is first and foremost an investigation in to human nature and the worst and best things we are capable of. In these most awful of circumstances freindships, loyalty and love persist and keep her from the depths of dispair.… (more)
LibraryThing member Joybrarian
A gut-wrenching memoir that highlights the extremes of humanity.
LibraryThing member Kimberlynwm
While the story of her capture and captivity is gripping, the memoir aspect is highly disappoint. Situations in a quite complex combination of historical ill-will, struggles for autonomy, institutional brutality, and politics are given simplistically. Her thinking is not only black and white, she seems incapable of even attempting to present herself and her choices in an honest light. Seems more like pre-candidacy propaganda than a real attempt to share something of herself.… (more)
LibraryThing member NielsenGW
Without a doubt, Ingrid Betancourt’s Even Silence Has an End is one of the most heart-breaking, gut-wrenching memoirs I’ve read in a long time. In 2002, Betancourt was campaigning to become President of Colombia as a Green Party member. At a traffic checkpoint in Colombia’s DMZ, she was kidnapped by a member of the revolutionary FARC, and then held for more than six years. She was kept with many other captured people from around the world. She found herself among a mix of nationalities, social statuses, and walks of life. Her story is one of hope and loss, of freedom and failure.

Betancourt’s imprisonment caught the attention of the world. As a dual Colombian-French citizen-diplomat, several world governments tried to engage the Colombians for her release. Each year she was captured, at least one rescue attempt or negotiation was started, but it wasn’t until 2008 that she was freed from captivity. Her experiences in the jungle prison are both harrowing and enlightening. While there are some to dismiss her retelling of the events as either politically motivated or self-serving, they are still true. While imprisoned, she endured not only physical torture, but also news of her father’s death. Through all this, she still find ways to connect with those around her and not fall too deeply into despair. It is a long tale, told with excruciating detail, and very much demands your attentions. A lengthy but ultimately necessary book.
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LibraryThing member gbelik
Ingrid Betancourt, was held hostage by the FARC in the remote jungles of Columbia for six years. What courage and character it took to survive this ordeal! The book was an ordeal in itself as Ingrid is moved from one remote camp to another anonymous and indistinguishable remote place. Her existence was composed primarily of boredom and of cruelty from her captors so it is probably appropriate that the book is quite tedious in places. I did love that she took up needlework that she learned from the women holding her hostage.… (more)




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