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Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak Paperback – April 18, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
While the book grants some real perspective, and I'm glad that I read it, I have two major criticisms: Hatzfeld could definitely have fixed one and perhaps not the other. First, the book is choppy. Hatzfeld interviewed the Hutu killers in a Rwandan prison, and he interviewed with each one individually. However, the book is organized by themes, so the author presents a chapter entitled "The First Time" and there includes a couple of paragraphs from each prisoner describing their first killing. While this gives effectively expresses the variety of experiences, constantly jumping back and forth between the ten interviewees leaves the reader little opportunity to get to know any of them. Uninterrupted histories from each prisoner (a la Studs Terkel) would have allowed more of an opportunity to get to know each and understand them better as people.
Second, the prisoners seem so guarded that it is unclear how often we are hearing genuine insights. Of course we would expect these prisoners to be guarded, not wanting to risk damaging their chances of clemency.Read more ›
The book is not as graphic as others I've read, but there are new horrors here, such as the fact that the men continually refer to the killings as "work," and even today they seem to have almost no empathy for their victims and survivors. For most, confession and seeking forgiveness from survivors seem to be merely the means to get out of prison as quickly as possible.
One killer told Hatzfeld, "I think the possibility of genocide fell out as it did because it was lying in wait--for time's signal, like the plane crash, to nudge it at the last moment. There was never any need to talk about it among ourselves. ... We knew full well what had to be done, and we set to doing it without flinching, because it seemed like the perfect solution." After reading this book, I was left believing that all the evil that came out in 1994 is still there, lying dormant.Read more ›
There have been innumerable books and documentaries of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda -- a highly controversial, long-obfuscated and often-misunderstood atrocity... However, very few of these accounts relate the actual perspectives or testimonials by ordinary Rwandans. Though several survivors have actually written testimonials of their experience, not one of them has yet been translated into English!!(eg. Yolande Makagasana's memoir in French), once again revealing the shameful Western ethnocentric attitude to this atrocity (Imagine for example if available accounts of Holocaust survivors had never been translated from German!) Hatzfeld's collection of testimonials therefore offers us a perspective that is completely lacking in the morass of publications about Rwanda, many of them written by journalists, academics or political attachees, who spent less than a month in the field in Rwanda... (And of course, who stayed at fancy White accomodations like the revamped Hotel Milles Collines during their visit... ) It offers a crucial and critical intervention necessary for understanding the human impact of the genocide in Rwanda...
Moreover, in this collection Hatzfeld presents us with the perspective of the KILLERS during the genocide. Imagine if the Holocaust was recounted from the perspective of the Gestapo or concentration camp personnel! Simply RIVETING reading.
In the complementary reading "Into the Quick of Life," Hatzfeld offers us survivors' perspectives. Instead of focusing on great saviours (eg.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Filled in a lot of background details.
Scariest info for me was that there really was no hatred, people were just so easily led and manipulated, that people could say 'you... Read more
I saw a documentary about the genocide and wanted to learn more about it so I purchased this book. It was a very informative book with photos. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jill T
To paraphrase Hatzfeld, there are no clear physical demarcations of a Tutsi person. How then, were the Hutus so effective in genocide? Read morePublished 8 months ago by G R Cavanaugh
It was pretty good. I liked the interviews of the prisoners but wish it had more from the survivors. Pretty good.Published 13 months ago by Danny B.
Disturbing but an interesting read for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the Rwandan genocidePublished 14 months ago by Caroline Wolber