Operación Masacre is a nonfiction novel of investigative journalism, written by noted Argentine journalist and author Rodolfo Walsh. It is considered by some to be the first of its genre. It was published in 1957, seven years before the publication of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, a book often credited as the first major nonfiction novel of investigative journalism.
The novel details the León Suárez massacre
, which involved the 1956 capture and shooting of Peronist
militants, including rebel leader Juan José Valle
. These events followed a 1955 military coup
, known as the Revolución Libertadora
, which deposed Argentine president Juan Perón
and eventually brought the hard-line general Pedro Eugenio Aramburu
Walsh received a tip-off about the secret operation in December 1956
, while he was playing chess in a café. Operación Masacre
was originally published in May-July 1957 as a series of articles in the journal Mayoría
, where it was subtitled "A book without publisher" as an indication of the problems Walsh had had securing an outlet for his story. These articles were later re-written into the novel form that became the book Operación Masacre
Reception and criticism
Literary critic Ángel Rama
described Operación Masacre
as a "police novel
for the poor." The novel explores themes of violence that are not only unexpected, but are also unpunished, although Pedro Eugenio Aramburu would ultimately be executed in 1970 by the Peronist Montoneros
for his role in the León Suárez massacre.
Daniel Link argues that the book "destabilizes literary genres" and anticipates what would later be called testimonial fiction. This form of writing has proven to be problematic to some literary analysts because some have seen the need to match the documented historical narrative with the events in the literary text itself, leading to challenges of verification for those seeking proof of historical accuracy and reliability.
Operación Masacre was adapted into a 1973 film by director and writer Jorge Cedrón, starring Norma Aleandro, Carlos Carella, Víctor Laplace, Ana María Picchio and Julio Troxler.