"The book that most shocked me this year for its literary quality is called Tzompaxtle, although in English it has another title, Torn from the World. The author is John Gibler, a real outlaw."--Diego Enrique Osorno, author of El Cartel de Sinaloa
Andres Tzompaxtle Tecpile was torn from the world. Abducted off the street, blindfolded and beaten, he was brought to a Mexican military facility and "disappeared." Tzompaxtle, a young member of an insurgent guerrilla movement, was subjected to months of interrogation and torture as the military tried to extract information from him. In an effort to buy time to protect his family and comrades, and to keep himself alive, he lead his captors on fruitless journeys to abandoned safe-houses and false rendezvous locations for four months. Finally, faced with imminent execution, he decided to make what he thought was a suicidal attempt at escape; when he miraculously survived, he was able to return underground.
Gleaned from years of clandestine interviews, Tzompaxtle's story offers a rare glimpse into chronic injustice, underground resistance movements, and the practice of forced disappearance and torture in contemporary Mexico.
"At once harrowing and humane, John Gibler's wonderful new book shines a light on the darkest corners of the Mexican justice system. We cannot turn away from what we see there. This is a brave, daring book, equal in every way to the extraordinary life it documents."--Daniel Alarcon, author of The King is Always Above the People
"Once in a long while a brilliant writer happens on a story he was born to tell--a story that in its stark and unremitting horror gives us a glimpse of the world as it is, unvarnished and unredeemed. John Gibler is such a writer and Torn From the World is such a story. A wrenching, astonishing tale, brilliantly told."--Mark Danner, author of The Massacre at El Mozote
"Torn from the World is the product of a thorough investigation and it is written with rage and humility at the same time. This is the work of one of the most important journalists of our time."--Yuri Herrera, author of Signs Preceding the End of the World
"John Gibler's powerful recounting of the forced disappearance of Andres Tzompaxtle Tecpile unearths the brutal machinery of state-sanctioned torture and terrorism in Mexico today. This book must provoke an outcry."--Sujatha Fernandes, author of Curated Stories
"Not since Rodolfo Walsh's classic Operation Massacre have I read a work of political and literary journalism as inventive and urgent as John Gibler's Torn from the World. With courage, empathy, and clear-sightedness, Gibler tackles questions most journalists won't go near.”--Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine
"The North American journalist John Gibler not only presents here the guerrilla combatant's story, but also contextualized it within the broader, very troubled history of class relations in Guerrero and the contemporary proliferation of human rights abuses in Mexico, from Ayotzinapa to Ciudad."--Jesse Lerner, author of The Shock of Modernity
The News Reports
They Tear You From the World
A Piece of Being
Is it Possible to Write Without Violence?
Tzompaxtle and Nube
"In these times when truth is relativized for the sake of political expediency, Gibler's is a sobering account that provides readers with the materials from which he elaborates his story of Tzompaxtle. This book offers an implicit response to the denigration of journalism, hence of truth-telling."--Jose Rabasa, author of Writing Violence on the Northern Frontier
"John Gibler has produced a giant of a book. A combination of a political thriller, personal testimony, interviews, and deep, insightful reflection, Torn from the World is a work full of pain. It is also charged with hope--a hope born of the struggle against systemic violence, and of the struggle to survive and to live in a better world, one of equality for all."--Joseph Nevins, author of Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid"Journalist Gibler (I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us) presents a raw and stirring portrait of Andres Tzompaxtle Tecpile, a member of the Popular Revolutionary Army, a guerrilla group in Guerrero, Mexico, who survived kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture by the Mexican army. In October of 1996, Tzompaxtle was kidnapped and taken to a secret prison, where for four mouths he was beaten and repeatedly tortured by electric shocks in an effort to coerce out of him information about his group's whereabouts. Drawing from numerous interviews with Tzompaxtle and his family, as well as others involved in Mexico's underground resistance, Gibler constructs an account of the entire ordeal including Tzompaxtle's unlikely escape, which he presumed was a suicide mission, and his continued clandestine fight 'against a criminal state' in the years since. In his telling of Tzompaxtle's story, Gibler reflects on the economically and politically deprived state of Guerrero, the decades-long struggle between armed resistance and Mexico's repressive government, and to what extent he can write about violence without perpetuating it. Gibler’s fervent glimpse into Mexico's underground succeeds in his goal to bring to light the struggles of the oppressed and traumatized people there."--Publishers Weekly
"Andres Tzompaxtle Tecpile, a member of a guerrilla group in the Mexican state of Guerrero, was abducted by the Mexican military one evening in October 1996, held for four months, and brutally tortured. Gibler, the author of the shattering I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us (2017), presents another devastating but necessary book. Reading this in light of the confirmation of the latest director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, who oversaw 'enhanced interrogation techniques' in an earlier CIA position, is especially poignant in that this is a powerful reminder of the dreadful cost the use of torture entails, and of the U.S.' role in perpetuating torture on the American continents. Gibler’s interviews with Tzompaxtle Tecpile provide the marrow for a carefully researched, meticulously constructed, and often excruciating narrative. While honoring Tzompaxtle Tecpile’s story, Gibler honors the reader's intelligence, nimbly deconstructing the roots and the legacy of torture. This is an important look at the price exacted by the legitimatizing of state-sponsored violence and the concealment of the truth about such operations, and their disastrous consequences for everyone."--Sara Martinez, Booklist Starred Review
"An important story that needs to be told. Gibler does Tecpile justice in sharing his experience eloquently and truthfully. This work will hold wide appeal for anyone interested in social activism, civil rights, and Mexican history."--Library Journal
"Like Gibler’s previous book on Mexican disappearances (I Couldn’t Even Imagine that They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa, 2017), this is a work of advocacy journalism, one that dispenses with any pretense of objectivity in pursuit of a deeper truth. Even more provocatively, the author recognizes that in matters involving torture, the whole story may never be known. The experience transcends language and short-circuits memory, and it can’t be captured in the words of a cohesive narrative."--Kirkus Reviews