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The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur Hardcover – 3 May 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs,U.S.; 1 edition (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586484745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586484743
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.6 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,802,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Brian Steidle, a former US Marine, worked for the African Union where he served in Darfur. He has made several return trips to Africa and now gives lectures across America. Gretchen Steidle Wallace is Brian's sister and the founder of Global Grassroots, a non profit organization. Brian and Gretchen live in New Hampshire, USA. For further information, visit www.globalgrassroots.org.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an eyewitness account of the genocide in Darfur. In 2004, former marine, Brian Steidle, signed on with the Joint Military Commission (JMC) for a position as a Patrol Leader in the Sudan. The JMC was created to oversee conflict in central Sudan and monitor a ceasefire. His job was to consist of investigating ceasefire violations. Steidle accepted the position with the JMC totally ignorant of the area in which he would be working and its political issues and conflicts. By the time he arrived in the Sudan, a full blown genocide was in progress.

Steidle's role was that of reporting what he saw, and what he saw was a Sudanese government that stood idly by as innocent black African civilians, rather than rebel forces, were routinely killed and tortured by Arab civilians known as "Janjaweed" (the devil on horseback) with the seeming blessing of the Sudanese government based in Khartoum and the aid of its government troops. Frustrated by his watchdog role, Steidle carefully documented all that he saw in order to bear witness to this large scale genocide that was taking place and alert the world to it, as he was stationed where journalists were nowhere to be found.

His is a compelling birds-eye view of a regional conflict that degenerated into a full scale genocide of its native people. The shortcoming of the book is the author's ignorance of the area and its historical and political conflicts. Thus, nothing in the book is grounded into any particular context, causing it to be a somewhat one dimensional account. While the author's outrage is palpable, so is his ignorance. Still, it is a harrowing account of the suffering of the Sudan's black citizens and an indictment of the Sudanese government and the international community.
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By Misspuddleduck on 11 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What selfish and self centered authors these two are. I cannot believe what I read, or I try not to believe what I read. How can anyone just think of self, self, self glorification over genocide. I never finished the book.

I shall pray for those people suffering genocide whilst aid agencies sit 100-200 miles behind the firing line and then swoop in for glorification after the event.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the books that makes you think why you torture yourself by reading it. But you cannot stop reading it. It makes you question your own actions and think what can you do to change the world and make it a little bit better. It's a touching and shocking story that everyone should read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Compelling First-Hand Descriptions of the Darfur Crisis 10 May 2007
By John Uniack Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Former U.S. Marine Brian Steidle signed on to go to Darfur on an African Union ceasefire monitoring mission, but standing idly by while "African" civilians were massacred, mutilated, and raped by predominantly "Arab" tormenters in the service of the Sudanese Government was not what he had bargained for. In his eyes, he gained a small measure of redemption by meticulously documenting everything he saw, heard, and experienced, and then trying to stir the world's conscience, though this was certainly not his initial intention.

This book's greatest strength comes from the vivid and detailed descriptions of the author's often-harrowing experiences. The Devil Came on Horseback pulls no punches in describing the slow-motion tsunami that the Khartoum regime is inflicting upon its people. Steidle provides great descriptions of events and sequences of events, and these are supported by a very good map of Darfur, which enables the reader to follow the evolution of events on the ground.

What is often lacking in the book is a detailed analysis of the complicated social, cultural, and political context of the Darfur conflict and genocide, though in Part Three ("Genocide") he provides more of this kind of information than he does earlier in the book. His outrage and passion are palpable, but analysis is often lacking. A novel aspect of this volume is that the author is a military observer, but he unfortunately does not look very deeply at the political constraints or other factors that hinder the effectiveness of African Union forces. Steidle's military background would have given him an interesting vantage point from which to examine the pros and cons of peacekeeping forces led by the African Union as opposed to the United Nations, for example, but he never goes into much detail on these important issues.

Nevertheless, Steidle's first-hand witnessing of actual events in the Darfur tragedy is a valuable addition to the existing emerging literature on Darfur. This book is a great companion volume to works that focus on the social, political, and historical context of the Darfur humanitarian crisis, such as Gerard Prunier's The Ambiguous Genocide or Julie Flint and Alex de Waal's A Short History of a Long War.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A must read to understand Darfur 3 May 2007
By M. H. Bixby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur by Brian Steidle and Gretchen Steidle Wallace is the story of Captain Steidle's year as an observer with the African Union Mission in Darfur. The book is an earnest account of attacks Steidle witnessed and investigated, and the photographs section is particularly powerful. It's a must-read to understand what life on the ground for Darfuri civilians was like during some of the worst of the genocide in 2004. There are some very disturbing descriptions of attacks but there are also heartwarming moments of international (and local) understanding that will someday help end the crisis.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
GENOCIDE IN PROGRESS... 4 Jan. 2008
By Lawyeraau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an eyewitness account of the genocide in Darfur. In 2004, former marine, Brian Steidle, signed on with the Joint Military Commission (JMC) for a position as a Patrol Leader in the Sudan. The JMC was created to oversee conflict in central Sudan and monitor a ceasefire. His job was to consist of investigating ceasefire violations. Steidle accepted the position with the JMC totally ignorant of the area in which he would be working and its political issues and conflicts. By the time he arrived in the Sudan, a full blown genocide was in progress.

Steidle's role was that of reporting what he saw, and what he saw was a Sudanese government that stood idly by as innocent black African civilians, rather than rebel forces, were routinely killed and tortured by Arab civilians known as "Janjaweed" (the devil on horseback) with the seeming blessing of the Sudanese government based in Khartoum and the aid of its government troops. Frustrated by his watchdog role, Steidle carefully documented all that he saw in order to bear witness to this large scale genocide that was taking place and alert the world to it, as he was stationed where journalists were nowhere to be found.

His is a compelling birds-eye view of a regional conflict that degenerated into a full scale genocide of its native people. The shortcoming of the book is the author's ignorance of the area and its historical and political conflicts. Thus, nothing in the book is grounded into any particular context, causing it to be a somewhat one dimensional account. While the author's outrage is palpable, so is his ignorance. Still, it is a harrowing account of the suffering of the Sudan's black citizens and an indictment of the Sudanese government and the international community.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Darfur 22 Jan. 2008
By Britinus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you agree that these atrocities should not happen on our watch, but do not know the facts about what goes on when the news is focusing on celebrities, please read this book. A concerned global citizen took the time to report on the events that transpire in Darfur every day. There is also a documentary of the same name. Read and decide how to act. Let's hope that this book will be defunct soon because Darfur is no longer in turmoil.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Open your eyes and raise your voices 9 Sept. 2007
By Melissa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Last night I saw the film `The Devil Came On Horseback'. Through the efforts of Brian and Gretchen Steidle, I was able to sweat in the baking sun and travel the raw dirt roads of Africa to bear witness to outrageously evil and willful acts of violence. I was also able to sit and sob with the victims of these horrendous acts - those who had lost their homes, their families and some their very flesh during this still ongoing genocide in Darfur. I was given the opportunity to see their beautiful souls as well as their great and dire need. To say that `The Devil Came On Horseback' was a wonderful and awe-inspiring film may sound strange. But as I watched the stories of individual survivors and the atrocities they had suffered, I felt my own sleeping spirit rise and a deep desire to help these people with whom I now felt so connected. I felt alive and blessed, strong and powerful and more fully awake than I had in years. Ironically, I am able to empathize with some of the individuals in the film. I believe we all have faced tragedy and loss in our lives. We all have scars from our personal battles - we have all felt alone and scared. The people of Darfur are right now fighting for their very existence. Why? Because they had the audacity to be born on a particular piece of land that some insane people think they should own exclusively? And doesn't this all sound awfully familiar? Haven't we seen these same hideous events way too many times in the past? Did you have the nerve to be born brown or Jewish or female? We are born into our various shapes, colors and beliefs. We are all different and yet so very much the same. We cannot be silent and accept the torture and murder of our fellow humans. We must tell all those who seek to harm others and specifically now those committing genocide in Darfur - WE SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND IT IS NOT OKAY. YOU WILL STOP AND YOU WILL PAY. Please help open the eyes and raise the voices of everyone you know.
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