From Barbara Kingsolver:
The work you have done in your book about Nicaragua is an incredibly moving testament. The damage of that war runs so deep, and remains so indelible, nearly a generation after so many of us tried to stand up and make it visible to our own countrymen. You haven't forgotten, and won't let us.
From a review by Paul Jeffrey in NACLA Report:
A photograph freezes time in two dimensions, but good photographs take the viewer beyond those limits to tell a story, evoke emotions, provoke a response. When Paul Dix lived in Nicaragua in the 1980s, photographing the Contra war for the U.S.-based Witness for Peace, his images often conveyed the pathos of a nation whose revolutionary hopes were turned to ashes by an empire that struck back with brutal efficiency. Dix’s images—mothers at funerals, children without limbs, school-age youth with guns instead of books—faithfully recorded the effects of war on a small country. You can’t view the images without feeling anger or pity or even wonder. Yet his work was more than the conflict pornography we’ve come to expect from war zones. He also captured the beauty of Nicaragua’s rugged countryside and the dignity of its hardy peasants. His collection of images remains a remarkable contribution to understanding, at an intimately personal level, a very painful period in Central America’s political history.
And now he has done more. Along with Pam Fitzpatrick, an activist who spent those years organizing in the United States to stop the war, Dix has taken some of his more iconic images and allowed us to meet their subjects again, two decades later, in a new book. Nicaragua: Surviving the Legacy of U.S. Policy is a monumental contribution that fleshes out those people we’ve seen in just two dimensions, providing us a unique window onto the country, helping us understand what happened in the 1980s, and what has happened since.
read full review
From a review by Kathy Barber Hersh in the New York Journal of Books:
Seldom do world-class war photographers get a chance to go back years later to follow up on what happened to the people in their dramatic images.
Paul Dix, a staff photographer for the organization Witness for Peace from 1985 to 1990, documented the suffering caused by the U.S. foreign policy decision to arm and train counterrevolutionaries fighting against the Sandinista government, which overthrew Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979. In 2002 he and Pam Fitzpatrick, a Witness for Peace colleague, returned to Nicaragua in search of 100 people who were subjects of Mr. Dix’s photographs, people whose lives had been irrevocably changed by war.
The result of their 17-month odyssey is an extraordinary book of stunning black and white images of the men and boys, women and girls, who lost limbs and loved ones and managed to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on after 10 years of devastating conflict.
The book documents the follow-up with 30 people whose stories had particularly moved Mr. Dix. The “then and now” shots are displayed alongside brief quotes from the survivors, very personal reflections on how they managed to live through the violence and somehow find the courage and resilience to heal and hope for a better future.
“What an impressive book! I was deeply touched to read it and to be carried back to that time and those cruel events of the war in Nicaragua. They would have disappeared into the amnesia hole of history except for efforts like yours. You have done the people who suffered and died a profound service.”
—Bill Moyers, journalist and commentator
"Here we have the tracks left by the 'Freedom Fighters.' President Reagan sent them to Nicaragua to save Nicaragua from the danger of becoming Nicaragua: so Nicaragua would not be Nicaragua; so it would continue being just a fourth-class colony. The greatest power in the world against a very small, impoverished country: ten years of ruthless war not only left thousands dead and mutilated, it also left poisoned souls and murdered hopes. In a magical way, this book shows the visible as well as the invisible wounds. And the persistent, inexplicable joy of living: in spite of everything."
—Eduardo Galeano, writer
"Nicaragua: Surviving the Legacy of U.S. Policy is an extraordinarily powerful and moving book. A single genre cannot begin to convey what the people of Nicaragua or any dependant nation live with day to day: the consequences of criminal U.S. foreign policy. Only a multi-genre offering—in which the photographic image, human testimony, children's drawings and more combine to open a door on that life—can come close to reflecting its reality. Pam Fitzpatrick and Paul Dix give us such a door. It is up to us to look, listen and walk through."
—Margaret Randall, author of Sandino's Daughters and Sandino's Daughters Revisited, among other books
"About 2500 years ago Aeschylus, the Greek playwright, wrote, 'He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.' These remarkable photos and the stories that accompany them should be on billboards from sea to shining sea, so the pain and suffering they represent might fall drop by drop upon the American psyche and against our will, by the awful grace of God, wisdom might come to these United States and her foreign policy."
—Charlie Clements, Executive Director, Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University, author of Witness to War
"The world needs books such as this in order to see itself mirrored in a setting in which wars are not described as heroic campaigns, but for what they really are: the failure of understanding, the relinquishment of the highest human powers to solve differences by peaceful means."
—Gioconda Belli, from prologue, author of Nicaragua Under my Skin, and many others
"To see the true price of war, you must look in the face of the innocents who endure it and hear their voices. That is the gift that Dix and Fitzpatrick present in this stirring book – the sobering gift of letting us see and hear what our 'leaders' so routinely do in our names."
—Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author