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Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide Paperback – 20 Mar 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; annotated edition edition (20 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844675424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844675425
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"A devastating account of the West's failure to act, in the face of clear evidence that a planned genocide was taking place." The Times "Melvern's Book is outstanding... Her research has been exhaustive and the clarity of her chronology is the most dfamning of all indictments against those who looked the other way in the years leading up to 1994." Robert Kirby, Mail & Guardian "The definitive account of the origins of the tragedy... essential." Choice "A meticulous reconstruction of how the genocide happened." New Internationalist "An epic and shaming story of culpability and missed opportunities... in the finest traditions of investigative journalism." 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. J. Henry on 27 July 2006
Format: Paperback
I was looking for a book which gave a clear and detailed account of the 1994 Rwandan genocide without falling into hyper-cynicism. This book suited my requirements perfectly.

Although complex, Linda Melvern provides the reader with concise information, pre- and post-1994 genocide, in an easy to understand style. I never felt lost or confused.

All those who know of the tragedy will be aware of the inhuman acts of violence which took place. Melvern does not gloss over this, and at one point I had to stop reading. However it is essential that readers know the actions of genocide perpetrators, especially as these actions were largely ignored by countries powerful enough to have intervened.

Melvern takes you through the years, months and days leading up to the genocide, highlighting the attitides and actions of the UN and other organsations/countries involved. Ultimately you are left to make up your own mind as to where responsibility lies.

A must-read for anyone keen to develop their knowledge in this area
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookbug on 25 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With this publication Linda Melvern has put forward for us an authoritative and definitive tool for detangling the complexities of the Rwandan genocide. Her sober, well-researched, easy-to-comprehend book allows the reader to easily identify the key figures in this horrific drama, their backgrounds, their ideologies and their involvement from start to end.
With simple language and a clean journalistic style she takes the reader deep into the core of the genocide planning and into the private offices and meetings of the UN, giving astounding insight into reports, missives and facts but never allowing the reader to relinquish his responsibility to evaluate them and come to an individual judgement on what occurred in this utterly shameful episode in modern history.
For anyone who feels that it is our duty to understand and above all REMEMBER how the modern, supposedly civilized world, in particular the UN, the US, the UK, Belgium, France and the Media failed and betrayed the Rwandan people and morally condemned itself - then this is the book to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Linda attended my University a few months ago to do a lecture on the Rwandan Genocide that I previously had little interest in and knowledge about. Her detailed book documenting the events that surrounded the genocide are incredibly precise and fascinating. She does an excellent job at documenting such tragic and important events in an accessible and easy format. This topic could be very confusing and complicated, however she is very straight-forward in her assessments. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of the event or journalism as a proffession.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gemini777 on 22 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my daughter as she was doing a dissertation on the Genocide in Rwanda as part of her International Relations degree. She found it covered much of what she needed to read and went on to get a BA 2:1 Hons
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
An Incredible Book 28 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
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.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent investigative reporting 7 Aug 2005
By Mike Kerrigan - Published on
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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Rwandan genocide of the spring and summer of 1994 has 9 Jan 2005
By Kaushik - Published on
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Information, Poor Presentation 12 May 2006
By Francois-Xavier Jette - Published on
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.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
How the world failed Rwanda. 23 July 2005
By Kevin M Quigg - Published on
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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