1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener - The US press did not provide this view!
Gourevitch does a nice job of changing from past to present throughout the book to weave a story that is much different from what the US press provided. At points he seems to take sides in this social divide, but overall he provides what appears to be a clear and even handed accounting of what is in essence the worst of mankind. The writer's style lends itself to quick...
Published on July 14 2004 by M. C. Ciulla
3.0 out of 5 stars Modern Atrocities
Gourevitch's book is a gut-wrenching account of the 1994 genocide on the part of the Hutu government to kill 800,000 Tutsi neighbors, not because of the graphic nature but because of the complacency and ignorance of the rest of the world while this was happening. Gourevitch seems personally affected by the genocide, particularly when western nations 1) not only could...
Published on Oct. 29 2001 by Tanja M. Laden
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener - The US press did not provide this view!,
This review is from: We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (Hardcover)Gourevitch does a nice job of changing from past to present throughout the book to weave a story that is much different from what the US press provided. At points he seems to take sides in this social divide, but overall he provides what appears to be a clear and even handed accounting of what is in essence the worst of mankind. The writer's style lends itself to quick reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching Documentary,
This review is from: We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (Paperback)This book will rip your heart out if you have the compassion for this poor, strife-ridden country (and many others like it). I am still trying to understand the Dark Continent and why all these tragedies happen in such brutal ways (I am an avid reader of the pan-African countries and visited Botswana and Zimbabwe last year). Philip Gourevitch paints a pretty bleak picture, but I believe what he relays is very accurate for everything else I have learned about this genocide through international reports. I would love to see Steven Spielberg (or someone as talented) do for this book what he did for Schindler's List. This story needs to be told. These brutalities are still going on there, and, in other countries of Africa. Only now, in 2004, are the perpetrators of these horrendous acts now being brought to trial (with only a glimpse in your local newspaper, if at all). I definitely recommend this book, but only if you have a strong stomach. If you are interested in other countries, I strongly recommend "In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz", Michela Wrong (Congo) and "Our Votes, Our Guns", Martin Meredith (Zimbabawe). Primitive man arose from Africa. The industrial nations left the African nations in obscurity while beating them down and teasing them with our so called progressive ways (and exploiting their natural resources at their expense). Has this led to the corruption of the new African leaders? Power? Greed? The atrocities that follow? Why can't the African countries overcome the stigma befallen them? We can only better understand these conundrums if we educate ourselves.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A required text for the 21st century,
This review is from: We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (Paperback)In early May 1994 I stood on a bridge over the river that forms the border between Rwanda and Tanzania and observed corpses floating down towards Lake Victoria in an unbroken stream. As I write this, two Rwandan women are taking the unprecedented action of suing the United Nations for its failure to intervene in the worst act of genocide since WW2. UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, who played a kay role in UN decision-making in 1994, has confessed the UN's "failure" and expressed his own "deep remorse." 800,000 people died, most of them hacked to death with machetes by their neighbours. How this happened, and how the world utterly failed in its self-appointed role to prevent exactly such a holocaust, is the subject of this beautifully written, accessible and compelling book. Gourevitch wants to know WHAT happened, and through interviews with survivors, gives us the clearest and most comprehensive understanding I have yet seen. It is not pretty reading, although Gourevitch's dispassionate and sensitive writing makes it possible to get through material that in coarser hands would be impossible to stomach. He also describes the HOW. For years it was evident to the West - and most particularly to France and Belgium - that Hutu factions were gathering their strength to strike at the Tutsi minority. Every day Hutu radio stations ran violent anti-Tutsi propaganda, in which Tutsis and any moderate Hutus who were not interested in killing them were warned to prepare to die. When the killing began, it was simply the next logical step in a process that had long been underway. The case seems impossible to refute - indeed, the UN's internal investigation which published its report in December 1999 does NOT refute - that the genocide was both broadly predictable, and could have been ameliorated, if not altogether stopped, by effective international intervention. The legal knots the UN allowed to create for itself, so that "blue-helmets" felt they could not act to save a woman being raped and hacked to pieces, because their mandate allowed for only their own self-defence, are just one example of how international law can - sometimes - ENCOURAGE crimes against humanity. The lessons of Rwanda, painfully learnt, will influence the way the so-called "world community" responds to massive ethnic eruptions for a generation to come. To begin to understand this most painful event in recent human history, this book cannot be too highly recommended. If there is one small niggle, it is the lack of an index, something that I hope will be addressed in future editions.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent glimpse of human stories from the genocide,
This review is from: We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (Paperback)Having read this book shortly after Romeo Dallaire's Shake Hands with the Devil, I feel the most natural way to comment on this book is by comparison. Its strength is truly in its human stories, in the first-person accounts of genocide survivors and genocidaires. Dallaire's book gives a more detailed summary of the overall chronology of events of the genocide (at least from Dallaire's perspective). That said, Gourevitch's book includes more details about the historical context before and after the genocide.
It is in reading these last accounts that I very much appreciate very much Gourevitch's effort to be fair. I have seen the Rwandan Genocide represented in the Western press as anything from a completely one-sided slaughter of Tutsi innocents by remorseless Hutu ogres to a double genocide: both are exaggerations, but Gourevitch does not shrink from assigning blame where he feels it is due. His portrayal of Paul Kagame's RPF during the time of the genocide is generally positive, but he is critical of Kagame's later intervention with Museveni in the Congo.
5.0 out of 5 stars Why we must do more to help Africa,
Recommend: Race Against Time: Stephen Lewis and Shake Hands with the Devil: Romeo Dallaire
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Now! It is a must as an American, as a human,
I barely remembered the genocide. I was 11 and 12 years old when it occurred and only remember hearing blurbs on the news back then. Now, ten years later, I am abosolutely amazed and frightened that something like this can happen (and is happening. Look at the Sudan.) This book was sad and depressing, but it opened my eyes about how heartless mankind can be. I am appalled at the LACK of help, interevention, ANYTHING that the international community did. I am still trying to grasp why this happened and why the world was tricked into helping the Hutu Power hiding in the refugee camps.
I recomend this book to anyone who can read. Please read it. We, as humans, always say we will never forget. Many of us have. It shouldn't happen again, but it will if people do not understand what can and has happened... over three times in the last 60 years. Read it now.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing and journalism.,
Gourevitch does not fall into the 'old ethnic hatreds' trap and duly notes that Hutu-Tutsi animosity is a fairly recent development in central African society. This is a profoundly dynamic account of one of the most horrible examples of human depravity in history, and it reminds the world of the on-going problem with the so-called international community and its incredible impotence in the face of evil.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving,
5.0 out of 5 stars why does genocide happen?,
It is certainly not an uplifting book. In three months, the Hutu power regime in Rwanda killed 800,000 minority Tutsis.
The book tries to answer the question of why genocide happens. what can compel one people, living side by side with another people for centuries, to rise up and mass kill? What drives Hutu, who's wife might be a Tutsi, to kill his wife's brother and mother? What drives mass rapes? What drives a man to hack up his neighbor into bits with a machete?
why does this happen?
Philip Gourevitch writes an amazing and detailed account of Rwanda and of its neighboring countries like Uganda and the Congo (formerly Zaire). Gourevitch has incredible access to the leaders of these countries and his "man on the street" interviews are extremely revealing and mind-expanding.
The book was given to me by a friend who said that I "had to read this book!" And it just sat on my bookshelf for a long time. After about a year, I dusted it off and read it. I am a better person for it.
Summation: Don't wait a year, read this book now.
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories of a real horror we should all know and remember,
However, I wish there some images in the book beyond the couple of maps. Yes, Mr. Gourevitch is a fine writer and helps us see with words. But this kind of genocide cries out for photographic documentation. Maybe there isn't any that is appropriate for the book. But I feel the lack just the same.
Finally, this is an important document of the Rwandan terror, but it isn't the final story. It isn't the complete story. That has yet to be written. But I found reading this book a strange sort of nightmare. Everything seems real and it has its own frightening impetus, but it is like a dream where you want things to stop but it won't. It is horrifying and even worse because it all happened to real people and in our time.
And notice how everyone runs from accountability. It seems like everyone wants to pretend someone else did it and when you find someone who actually can't run away from involvement they want to pretend it was some awful force that made people unavoidably crazy and should therefore be forgotten. What hogwash.
Thanks to Mr. Gourevitch for getting these stories in print for us. I hope we burn these stories in our memory.
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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch (Paperback - Sept. 4 1999)
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