Photo by blmurch, Flickr

“Rodolfo Walsh was a rare man of words and action, though by all accounts he struggled to reconcile the two. In a relatively short and restless life, he was a masterful chess player, a self-taught sleuth and code breaker, an award-winning fiction author turned investigative reporter, an artist and intellectual who took up a gun against his own government.

“Having famously declared, ‘The typewriter is a weapon,’ he had come to doubt that words alone were any real substitute for bullets in effecting change, and particularly the fine words of literary artists. ‘Beautiful bourgeois art!’ he later wrote. ‘When you have people giving their lives, then literature is no longer your loyal and sweet lover, but a cheap and common whore. There are times when every spectator is a coward, or a traitor.’”

Stephen Phelan, in Boston Review, on the extraordinary life of investigative reporter and activist Rodolfo Walsh, whose book Operation Massacre is viewed by many as the first “nonfiction novel,” despite the term being defined years later by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

Read the story