Rob Crilly spent years working in Africa as a freelance journalist, and war he covered most was in Darfur, in Sudan. Thousands of people were killed, and millions displaced, living in refugee camps to escape the fighting, and the deliberate targeting of their villages.
The narrative was clear - Arab tribes, supported by the Government, were persecuting black African tribes in a sustained assault that amounted to Genocide. Mia Farrow and George Clooney rallied to the cause, and helped mobilise international public opinion.
Through interviews and meetings with some of the main protagonists, including the now infamous Jospeh Kony, Crilly paints a much more complicated picture. Libya's support, the war between Sudan and Chad, Government support for proxy guerilla groups, including Kony's, and the inexorable incursion of the Sahara onto tribal lands gradually emerge as relevant. There are some real villains in this story, but the distinction between Arabs and Africans breaks down in to a multi-layered story of natural resource, religious and clan loyalties, and the power of a readily understandable international narrative.
This makes it sound hard going - it's not. Crilly writes like a journalist, and largely lets the people he interviews tell their own stories. It's a straightforward read, and certainly provides a more rounded view of a dreadful humanitarian problem. Crilly also has some practical ideas on what to do about it - and why it may still get worse.