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The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda Hardcover – May 26 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; First Edition edition (May 26 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805079653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805079654
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #607,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book in preparation for a trip to Uganda. I was interested in local history. This is a very personal story, well written. It introduced me to the local history and some geography
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Utterly Africa and Yet Too Close to Home June 2 2009
By James G. Workman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book assuming it an escapist murder mystery set half a world away, but the story haunts a failed memory that resides unnervingly close to home.

A beautiful country with decent people is emerging from a seven-year-fog during which its rulers claimed a mandate from God, wiretapped neighbors, tortured perceived enemies, suspended civil liberties, and invaded a non-threatening state. Later, reports sink in of how civilians and soldiers were killed on our behalf, but for reasons that remain obscure to this day. Some demand deposed leaders face justice. Others say accountability endangers the foundation of national security. Hmmm...Stop if this sounds familiar.

The Teeth May Smile is set in Uganda's past, a place and time few of us knew, much less forgot. It is palpably Africa, with its Maribou Storks perched on courthouses. Yet within that era and place Rice reconstructs an all-too-familiar state of fear and anxiety, revealing how easy and tempting it is for someone to let our voice go silent, point our finger at others, shrug at wrongdoing, or nod when instructed by opinion leaders that "you know, sometimes it's better to just keep walking."

Duncan Laki refused to keep walking. The story's protagonist stood fast in his quest for the truth and justice, however painful or destabilizing those words might prove. And Mr. Rice had the savvy journalistic instincts to stand behind him - never judging, but incessantly taking notes -- over seven years, from courtroom to banana farm to graveside.

It would be comforting to describe Rice as merely "a superb Africa-based foreign correspondent," or label this book as "casting a fascinating light on Uganda." He is, and it does. But both go deeper. Rice serves a gripping narrative nonfiction story that manages effortlessly to strip away the superficial gauze of tribe, race, party, nationality, and geography.

The Teeth May Smile holds a mirror up to the fragility of human nature, leaving the quiet courage of men like Laki, both son and father, to remind us where we might have buried our moral compass during our own national period of uncertainty, and what layers we might have to dig through to one day get it back.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Remembering the slaughter in Uganda Nov. 19 2009
By John Gibbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Uganda featured prominently in the international news in the 1970s, during Idi Amin's reign of terror. Instability and civil war continued in the 1980s, and then for the ensuing 20 years rebels remained active in the north of the country. The story of one man's quest to bring the murderers of his father to justice is told in this book.

A Commission of Inquiry Into Violations of Human Rights was set up to create a record of past atrocities and recommend prosecutions, but the government ran out of enthusiasm before the Commission's task was complete, and the Commission's findings simply sit on shelves gathering dust. However, through his own investigations Duncan Laki discovered the truth behind the disappearance of his father Eliphaz Laki, and he attempted to bring to justice Idi Amin's henchmen who had murdered him.

The book provides an extremely interesting and readable account of Eliphaz Laki's activities, Duncan's investigations, and the trial. Should people who have committed atrocities in the past be brought to justice, or should sleeping dogs be allowed to lie? Most Ugandans would prefer to forgive and move on, but violent offenders seem to take advantage of that attitude to commit atrocities with impunity.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
great journalism Jan. 5 2011
By James G. Dangelo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
i'm living in uganda for six months. have sought long and hard to understand the recent history. no other book comes close. great writing. great story. great research.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Strong Story Oct. 7 2010
By Nils Jakob Lyseng - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I have read many books about Uganda, even liven for a long while in Kampala. Therefore now that I'm back in Europe- I read books about the place in the world I miss the most. That's the main reason why I bought it. I didn't know the whole story of the first attempt of getting rid of Amin in 1972. But I knew some parts of it and this book gave a reasonable adjustment of the already well known history. It also was a personal attempt to portray how the changes has given the society that exist in Uganda today. Especially the NRM government controlled base and how the tribes from the east have more power than in the Northern had while dictator Amin was ruling. So I knew a lot about it already and enjoyed reading it through this angle. Get it personal from families involved in the transitions between, Obote, Amin and Museveni. Giving the touch of how Tanzania was involved too, give a more understanding of why Amin attracted them and not only was on a stupid crusade as many European writers have told before hand. This book isn't giving the same story as you read in the Ugandan New Vision History packs or Daily Monitor Newspaper. But its a great experience and gives the reader for some new information about what happen in Mbarara at the first attempt to get Amin away from power and why it failed.

So sit down with some ginger tea and lean back, read and enjoy the moment even if it's a little painful to read about others misfortunes, but this is the world we live in. Please don't forget those who made it as we live today. That's maybe the main purpose of the writer. I don't know but it could been so.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Book June 26 2010
By aimee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was wonderful. The author was able to weave a personal story through out the history of this war torn country. It is well written, informative and captivating. It is also a great history lesson of Uganda.

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