In the Land of God and Man
Silvana Paternostro

NON-FICTION | 1999 | 280 pages

As the daughter of the privileged Colombian elite, Silvana Paternostro was programmed to go from convent school to cocktail parties, obedient to God and man, never questioning the injustice she saw all around her or demanding a voice in public life. She left Latin America twenty years ago, but recently returned to "look critically at our Church, our Constitution, our daily lives." Told in a lyrical and personal voice, but backed up by solid research, In the Land of God and Man draws a new map of Latin and Latino America—from Quito, Ecuador to Queens, New York—exposing its hidden cultural undercurrents and bringing women out of the factories and favelas, the brothels and the boardrooms, and allowing them to tell their own stories.


Paternostro tells the stories our mamis always told us not to tell and in doing so, she brings to light the secret sexual heart of our Latin culture. I loved reading this book.
— Julia Álvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies
In an elegantly written, sophisticated analysis of Latin American culture, from Bogotá to New York, Paternostro illuminates intersecting debates over gender, sexuality, Catholicism, Latin tradition, law and AIDS... A worthwhile look at some unexpected aspects of gender and the AIDS epidemic that should prompt other, more comprehensive and neutral studies of Latin American sexuality.
— Publishers Weekly
A revelation... With the skill of a novelist, the legwork of a good reporter, and the sober facts of a statistician, Paternostro has written a powerful and passionate indictment of Latin American sexual culture.
— Foreign Affairs