Books: Survival of the Fittest

Mario Vargas Llosa's harrowing novel about the brutal reign of the Dominican strong man Trujillo

Until the rise of Fidel Castro, the longest running dictator in the Caribbean league was Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, the undisputed ruler of the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. Those were the glamour years for tin-pot tyrants, and Trujillo did his best (or worst) to epitomize the pre-Castro stereotype. His uniforms were the spiffiest, his medals the most splendiferous and his enemies the most fearful. He was hailed as God's gift to the nation and was its unchallenged alpha male--the First Phallus of the Republic.

The Trujillo transposed in Mario Vargas Llosa's novel The Feast of the...

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