From Publishers Weekly
This book features the testimony of 10 friends from the same village who spent day after day together, fulfilling orders to kill any Tutsi within their territory during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. While their anecdotes are shocking at first, they detail how an ordinary person with an everyday life in a farming village can be transformed into a killer. As one man explains, "if you must obey the orders of authorities, if you have been properly prepared, if you see yourself pushed and pulled, if you see the killing will be total and without disastrous consequences for yourself, you feel soothed and reassured." A reporter for Paris's Libération
, Hatzfeld has a remarkable ability to pry into the killer's memory and conscience. One Hutu tells how "a pain pinched his heart" when confronted with an old Tutsi soccer teammate he was obligated to kill. Others describe the regrets or nightmares they have now that the genocide is over (and they are in prison). But for the most part, the interviews reveal the killers' naïve expectations for forgiveness and reconciliation once they are released. Hatzfeld offers an analysis of the psychology of the perpetrators and how the Rwandan genocide differs from other genocides in history. Steering clear of politics, this important book succeeds in offering the reader some grasp of how such unspeakable acts unfolded. Agent, Valerie Borchardt at Georges Borchardt Inc.(June)
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French journalist Hatzfeld, the author of several books on war atrocities, offers a close-up look at the thoughts, motivations, and regrets of 10 of the Hutu killers who participated in the slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors. An estimated 500,000 Tutsis were murdered in May and April of 1994 when ethnic tensions were whipped into a frenzy following the death of Rwandan president Juvenal Habayarima, a Hutu. Now imprisoned for their participation in the slaughter, the 10 men Hatzfeld interviewed offer incredible accounts of how they moved from ordinary lives, albeit ones filled with simmering tensions with their Tutsi neighbors, to the ragtag army employed to kill with machetes. Some recall the coercion needed to secure their participation, while others were eager for the task. Many recall the methodical nature of the slaughter and the bloodthirstiness of some of their compatriots as they made sure that no man, woman, or child was spared. A killer recalls looking into the eyes of his victims and the stares that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Chilling and thoroughly absorbing. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved