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Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide Hardcover – April 17, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1st edition (April 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859845886
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859845882
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Linda Melvern’s work on Rwanda is in the finest traditions of investigative journalism. Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide extends her previous book, A People Betrayed: the Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide, a brilliant investigation into the tragedy for which the ‘international community’ was itself responsible. With testimony from witnesses and access to documents previously unseen, she tells an epic and shaming story of culpability and missed opportunities.”—John Pilger

About the Author

Linda Melvern is a widely published investigative journalist. She is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and was a consultant to the Military One prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda. Her previous books include The Ultimate Crime and A People Betrayed.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Linda Melvern's book is an exemplary accomplishment. It is the product of much research and investigation.
There are no winners, although certainly heroes and villians. Melvern lays a political (geographical) and cultural background from which genocide emerges...all the signs and symptoms.
She exposes the United Nations headquarters, the United States and other powerful nations as consummate and self-interested cowards. And France fares far worse...actively supporting Interahamwe militias. UNAMIR under the leadership of L General Romeo Dallaire tried in vein to get a couple of hundred additional soldiers who may well have averted the genocide. He was ignored. Dallaire also reported in detail plans being made in preparation of a genocide to the UN. He, again, was ignored and had to watch the genocide happen, hands tied.
Melvern presents her material methodically. This book will enrage and infuriate you. I think that is the best compliment that can be given to her and her impressive book. I'm confident you will want to know more about the subject after reading this.
If you type "ICTR" in Google's search box you can follow the trials of the Genocidaires.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mike Kerrigan on August 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Melvern's book is a deeply researched work that provides a detailed account of the events leading up to and throughout the Rwandan genocide. Her work with the International Criminal Tribunal clearly comes through in the book. This is both good and bad.

It's good because of the level of detail she provides and her strong ability to reconstruct events using an extensive collection of sources. Unfortunately the book sometimes reads like a report for the tribunal; it documents the people involved in orchestrating a particular crime and its details, but in a sterile way that doesn't seem to tap into the human emotions that the murders should evoke. Also, her familiarity with the people she documents caused the easy usage of a multitude of names in the book that were difficult for this reader to separate without a lot of page-flipping to recall their place within the story.

That said, this book won't disappoint anyone looking to understand the origins and events of the Rwandan genocide. The author does an excellent job of showing the failures of the Western response to the crisis without deflecting blame from the central characters within Rwanda who spent years planning and executing the genocide.

This book is probably the perfect compliment to `We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.' This book is less detailed than Melvern's work, but focuses on documenting the genocide through the stories of survivors and thus provides more of a human element.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kaushik on January 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
spawned a rich and growing literature. This account, focused mostly on events on the ground, offers little new information about the international context and, unfortunately, covers only the first chapter of these grim events, ending with the July 1994 military victory of Paul Kagame and his Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front and the start of a chaotic exodus of hundreds of thousands of Hutus to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite these shortcomings, Melvern, a journalist who has written before about Rwanda and the UN, provides an authoritative account. Breaking new ground, she documents the extensive preparation for the genocide by extremists within the government of President Juvénal Habyarimana going back at least to 1991. When the genocide began, they had bought and distributed the equivalent of one machete for every three Hutu males and, with breathtaking cynicism, manipulated the media and state institutions to stoke anti-Tutsi passions to a fever pitch.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Francois-Xavier Jette on May 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I agree 100% with the review by Mike Kerrigan, but I am a little more severe than him in my rating of the book. The book truly reads more like a factual report of who said what to whom in what location and at what time of the day than like a telling of one of the most important historical events of the last few decades.

I definitely liked the fact that the book was loaded with information, but I would have liked it to be presented differently for an easier reading. For instance, the emphasis seems to be more on who said what than on what actually happened, which makes it difficult to understand the sequence of events; too many names are constantly mentioned and one gets lost and has to flip back frequently. Another thing that forces you to flip back often is the fact that the author often skips back and forth in time and place.

All in all, if you are familiar with the whole episode, you will most likely enjoy the level of detail of this book and appreciate learning who made which decisions. However, if what you want is a good and thorough introduction into the Rwandan genocide, this book is probably not the best as it might cause too much confusion, I would recommend Dallaire's book instead.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on July 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Indeed the world did fail Rwanda as the author points out in the book about the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda. First off, Egypt and France sell huge quantities of arms to a government in a civil war. The French even send military advisers to train the Hutu Power militias. This advisory team has the intials C.R.A.P., something easily indentifiable with the French. The British and Americans downplay the fact that a genocide is about to occur and even urge no U.N. peacemakers be sent to the country. Boutros Ghali-U.N. Secretary General and one of those who earlier sold weapons to the Rwandan Hutus downplays the possibility of large scale killings and genocide. When the genocide does occur, they are in disbelief and don't react for two months while 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus are killed. Finally when the bankrupt Hutu Power regime is in its last gasp, the French send humanitarian assistance to the Hutus.

As the author shows, there is plenty of blame to go around. The Americans and British prevented help from being sent to prevent a genocide. The French supported a genocidal regime, and in my opinion don't even deserve to be on the Security Council. Hutu Power hopefully has been consigned to the dustbin of history. The U.N. is a paper tiger with feckless authority. The world did indeed turn its back on 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda. A good read about a tragic event.
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