- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Viking (Sept. 29 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670066427
- ISBN-13: 978-0670066421
- Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.3 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 717 g
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #130,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Road Trip Rwanda: A Journey Into the New Heart of Africa Hardcover – Sep 29 2015
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Praise for Road Trip Rwanda:
"Funny and moving, powerful and tragic, Road Trip Rwanda is a stunning read about hope, redemption, and friendship in a country emerging from a national nightmare. Only Will Ferguson could achieve such a delicate and satisfying balance. Brilliant and breathtaking."--Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for the novels The Best Laid Plans and No Relation
“A thoughtful and eloquent examination of the Rwandan genocide and how it has shaped generations at home and abroad. A compelling, lyrical, and thought-provoking read, suffused with just the right amount of wit.”–-Dr. Samantha Nutt, Founder of War Child and bestselling author of Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid
Praise for Will Ferguson:
"The funniest writer in Canada."--The National Post
"Pierre Berton with attitude."--Montreal Gazette
"Ferguson has carved out a big niche as one of our most irreverent, funniest writers."--The Globe and Mail
"Will Ferguson writes like a house on fire."--Vancouver Sun
"Brilliantly entertaining."--The Times (UK)
"Sometimes touching, sometimes amusing and always true ... as a wordsmith and traveler, Ferguson knows where he is going."--The Boston Globe
"Ferguson possesses a crafty eye for detail, not to mention a highly developed understanding of the essential folly in what passes for everyday life."--Edmonton Journal
About the Author
Will Ferguson spent five years in Asia, based in Japan, with travels to Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and China. He is the author of Beyond Belfast, which charts a 560-mile walk across Northern Ireland in the rain, and Hitching Rides with Buddha, about an end-to-end journey across Japan by thumb. His work has been published in twenty-three languages and twice nominated for an IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. A three-time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour, his most recent novel, 419, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for literature. He lives in Calgary with his wife, Terumi, and their two sons.
Top customer reviews
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This is a non-fictional account of his journey through Rwanda twenty years after the genocide where almost a million people, mainly Tutsis were massacred.
I was on a camping trip throughout Rwanda shortly before the killing started and thought it was a country of breathtaking beauty. Ferguson's lush, vivid descriptions of the landscape, green hills, flowers and other vegetation, buildings, colourful dresses and misty mountains transports one and you are seeing the land through his eyes.
Since my trip there I read many non-fiction books about the genocide. His accounts of visits to the larger massacre sites are horrifying and profoundly sad. He makes the history of the country and events leading up to the slaughter more coherent than previous books I have read. He uses the latest and most reliable statistics and the numbers are beyond grim.
Once the killing began, the author lays the blame for its continuation. The UN force, lead by Canadian General Dallaire had their mandate, manpower and equipment seriously depleted. The USA would not call what was happening a genocide to avoid helping. The French led Tutsis out of hiding and then left them to be massacred.
There was plenty of blame to go around. An impoverished, shattered country was left after four months of slaughter with so many dead or fleeing the country and those remaining numb with shock, grief or guilt. Rwanda is making an amazing recovery, leading other African countries in many social and economic fields. Where they have looked for examples in order to make such progress is surprising.
During his journey it is not all grim. There are humorous incidents where appropriate. The life story of Ferguson's native guide Jean-Claude, who left Rwanda just before the slaughter and now lives in Canada is an incredible one. This remarkable man needs a book or movie based on his contributions in Africa and in Canada.
Highly recommended for those interested in recent political and social history and travel to remote places.
Fergusson's writing style is not difficult to get through, and I certainly appreciated much of his humour. In fact, it was really good to have the humour in amongst some very sobering and disturbing material on the genocide.
This is a travel book about Rwanda, not a history of the genocide, - so there is significant coverage about the wildlife and culture, but at times he gives so much attention to recounting the genocide and the political situation that it lacks the feel of the typical travel book, it is a bit more of the style of Robert Kaplan's travel commentary which is heavy on the politics.
His comments about Paul Kagame, the present president, struck me as balanced and fair, though some of his opponents would paint him as a monster. The more controversial claim is that the French army's influence in Rwanda made the genocide worse, more efficient in the areas it controlled, and that the Roman Catholic church was sheltering a genocidal priest. In other words, just like the Roman Catholic church sheltered a few priests who sexually abused those in their care, they also protected at least one priest who apparently was a key figure in the murder of those sheltering in his parish building, it was the international criminal court that eventually extradited him from Europe to face charges.
Considering the gravity of these claims, the book really needs an index so that one can more easily return to these sections, unfortunately it lacks an index, or any footnotes for that matter. Consequently, it is a bit of an odd "travel book", but I enjoyed the read anyway.
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