Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number

In This Review

Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number

By Jacobo Timerman
Knopf, 1981
164 pp. $10.95

The whirlwind of contention surrounding this little book should not obscure its merits and its defects. As a lyric exercise and an expression of moral outrage, it is eloquent, even exquisite; as a polemic or philippic it is deeply flawed, ambiguous and deceptive. Under the spell of literary skill, the reader is tempted to gloss over the omission or blurring of basic information, pertinent questions and full answers. And in basing his case against the Argentine government on massive accusations of anti-Semitism, the author has profoundly exaggerated and distorted Argentine manifestations of that ugly phenomenon.

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