The True Story of the First American Invasion of Nicaragua


A book compiled and co-ordinated by Rudy Wurlitzer

Published by Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1987

In the five years before the Civil War, he was the most famous man in America. Today, he is still famous throughout Latin America — as the most notorious of the gringos malos. A doctor, lawyer, and newspaper publisher, Walker religiously fought slavery in New Orleans, attacked corrupt city officials in San Francisco, and was a great advocate of women’s liberation and the Monroe Doctrine. Filled with dreams of a mighty America stretching from sea to shining sea, he led fifty-eight ragtag freebooters to Nicaragua, exploited haphazard politics, waged war, and became president of the country. Two years later, the mood of the United States (and the business interests of Cornelius Vanderbilt) had reversed; William Walker was captured and eventually executed by a Honduran firing squad.

The Universal motion picture was shot on location with the full cooperation of the Nicaraguan government. Walker is the shocking story of a turbulent American dream gone off the wire. The book includes: notes from Ed Harris’s production journals, excerpts from Walker’s autobiography, an interview with director Alex Cox (whose other films include Repo Man and Sid & Nancy), the outstanding biography by historian Albert Z. Carr, and spectacular photographs of the film, the country, the people and the wars of Nicaragua by Lynn Davis, Tom Collins and Susan Meiseles. Walker is an exploration of the entire astonishing history of America’s Nicaragua — then and now.

On Walker the man:

“The Don Quixote of Central America.”  —HORACE GREELEY

“A kind of revolutionary intellectual.”  —HARRY TRUMAN

“Better out of the world than in it.”  — HARPER'S WEEKLY

“That his success would have inured to the benefit of civilization, few, perhaps, in view of the present condition of Central America, will be so rash as to deny.”   — W. 0. SCROGGS, FILIBUSTERS AND FINANCIERS

“Had he been successful, the Civil War might have been postponed, might never have been fought, or might have had another result.”   —LAWRENCE GREENE, THE FILIBUSTER

“A guy completely out of touch with reality, who thought he was acting on Christian principles but who blinded himself to the fact that he was slaughtering the people he came to regenerate. His madness is the madness of Oliver North or Elliott Abrams . . . white guys coming down to small countries thinking they can do anything.” — ALEX COX, director of the motion picture WALKER

On Walker, the book by Rudy Wurlitzer:

“This story of a man whose ‘true profession was heroism’ is a triumph in half a dozen ways. It brings to life a complex character whose idealism and bravado seem alien to our time, and it places him at the center of an international intrigue shockingly familiar to us today.”      — GILBERT SELDES

“If this penetrates the commercial market in the United States, it is going to open some eyes and change some minds.”      — SERGIO RAMIREZ, Vice President of NICARAGUA

“If, both in the endeavor of its making and as a broadly entertaining spectacle, Walker’s metaphorical message makes a fraction of the eventual audience think more closely about what their tax dollars are paying for, then Cox’s extraordinary vision of history returning will have reaped a rich dividend.”  — THE VILLAGE VOICE

ISBN 0—06—055122—4

Published Screenplay of Walker, The Screenplay by Rudy Wurlitzer

Witness Journal, Volume 1, Number 4 55, Winter 1987, Farmington Hills, MI