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Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide Hardcover – April 17, 2004
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a difficult read with all the acronyms for various parties that were involved in the on-the-ground genocide. Read morePublished on August 14, 2009 by Eternal Howl
Original interview on Small Wars Journal.com
"It is called The General's Book on Rwanda, and, right, the General is Rwandan Major General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who was the... Read more
A couple of years ago, I realized that I had not educated myself on the tragedy of Rwanda, so I picked up this book. Read morePublished on January 2, 2007 by Allan Brain