My Colombian War
Silvana Paternostro

MEMOIR | 2005 | 336 pages

Growing up in the coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia, Silvana Paternostro enjoyed a privileged childhood, a comfortable existence marred only briefly by fleeting encounters with the social inequalities and burgeoning drug trade that threatened the country’s security. Soon, however, these shadowy threats intensified, boiling over into the most violent, most protracted, and most misunderstood civil war of our time.

In My Colombian War, Paternostro, now an acclaimed reporter, journeys back to the place where her family and closest friends still live, weaving authentic experience into a history of this ongoing conflict. Blending superb reportage with poignant personal stories, she offers a stunning, comprehensive narrative of Colombia’s complicated past and present.


In this intensely honest and revealing memoir, Silvana Paternostro takes us on her own Rip van Winkle voyage of return to her beloved, violent homeland. It is a compellingly bittersweet chronicle, with touches of great beauty, much like Colombia itself.
— Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life and The Fall of Baghdad
A nation’s narrative rendered through a personal prism, this evocative work succeeds where many similar efforts fail.... A moving, highly memorable take on how a country lost its moorings.
— The Atlantic Monthly