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on August 20, 2010
There is an error on page 116 of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that made me angry when I read it. It's hard to believe that nobody caught it before the book was printed.
In talking about the Rwandan genocide Miller writes about 'the confusion of identity created by British occupation, and the tribal tensions that mounted''
Both Rwanda (and neighbouring Burundi) were part of GERMAN East Africa, and then, following the First World War came under BELGIAN rule. GERMAN. and then BELGIAN.
I am not an expert on the region, and I am probably overreacting, but there is so much misinformation and oversimplification of the conflicts in Rwanda and Burundi (and "Africa" in general). I know that this particular section is not central to the book and that probably no one is reading it expressly to learn about Rwanda, but this kind of error is not OK simply because its related to the history of a region that many of the readers of the book are probably not aware of (in fact, I would argue that this makes it even more serious).
Imagine if a similar error had been made in speaking about the American Civil War, for example. What would the reaction be? What would the publisher do in response?