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Across the Red River: Rwanda, Burundi and the Heart of Darkness Paperback – March, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

³ Christian Jennings has starkly documented the greatest humanitarian disaster since the Nazi Holocaust.² -- DAILY MAIL

From the Publisher

In the summer of 1994, Christian Jennings arrived in Rwanda with an almost impossible mission: he had five days to track down the army officers and government officials responsible for the slaughter of 850,000 people and persuade them to participate in a television documentary about their crimes. Nothing in his past prepared him for the three and a half years that followed. A devastating examination of politics and genocide.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (March 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575400285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575400283
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Oakes on February 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
It was tempting to preface this review with "The horror, the horror...." but that would be too obvious.
Christian Jenning's "Across the Red River" presents the reader with a harrowing catalogue of horror, atrocity and inhumanity. Jennings is the quintessential observer and the relentless bodycount and descriptions of cruelty are presented in a matter-of-fact, unemotional manner that never loses its impact. He achieves this through an honest reportage, describing events with an almost photographic sensibility. Although the events he describes are gruesome, there is an objectivity and lack of gratuity that lends credibility and above all, gravity to his story.
His reportage is accompanied by an analysis of the political, social and sometimes personal circumstances surrounding wars, genocides and murders. This analysis is often bewildered as we learn through Jennings the labyrinthine complexities of Central African Real Politik.
All this is tempered with a careful humour. While Jennings can often find an amusing anecdote to relieve the grimness of the carnage, the humour is always directed back at himself. He never makes light of the horror inflicted on the innocent (and perhaps not so innocent).
He pulls no punches when it comes to the involvement of Europeans (particularly France and Belgium), Americans and in particular, the UN. Though loath to criticize individuals (save a few), he points out with righteous anger the systemic failings in UN policy and execution which have, through inefficiency and a sometimes callous disregard for the charges in their care, resulted in over a million deaths and the displacement of many more. He does not, however, tar everyone with the same brush.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Accross the Red River details Jennings' days in Rwanda, Burundi and (the then) Zaire as a journalist for Reuters and the BBC. While this is a must read for any journalist because of the apt way in which Jennings paints the 'scene', it is a excellent read for anyone interested in the region because with wit and charm, he manages not only to explain what was going on in these countries, but to also to give a very real flavor of what it's like to be in these places, during intense times, and trying to cover situations that are daunting (at best) and dangerous (at worst). One of the interesting things the book sheds light on is how a journalist in the field weighs information, and makes decisions about how to write, and what to write when writing at all can put him/her in jeopardy with the forces in the country they are working in. It is a great page-turner, and in spite of the sometimes weighty subject matter, i found myself chuckling at Jennings' observations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Foote on March 12, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a grad student of international relations I have read much about the nation state and human rights. However, Jennings puts the charnel house into very basic terms. Something that most academic texts papers over. I am glad to see that such an account is out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was an incredible read. It follows the author, journalist Chris Jennings, through his times in Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo during what must have been the darkest days these countries would ever have seen. As well as giving the reader the facts on what went on throughout the nineties, Jennings also goes into the history of the conflicts, clearly demonstrating that European colonialism has a lot to answer for. The book will at times make you cry and at times make you laugh. Jennings obviously found that the best way, if not the only way, to live through what he saw was to keep his sense of humour alive. There are harrowing accounts of unthinkable attrocities, but don't let that put you off. Reading this book will put your problems in perspective and hopefully disturb and shake up your 1st world pettiness.
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