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The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide Paperback – 13 Jun 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (13 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023110409X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231104098
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,721,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Gerard Prunier's new history of the Rwandan genocide casts this sad moment into the black and white relief of print and commits to memory the struggle of those Rwandans who fell victim to the atrocities of last year's tragedy. His book is a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives, and an important contribution to the work of understanding the complexities of modern conflict. The Boston Book Review

About the Author

A renowned analyst of East Africa, the Horn, Sudan, and the Great Lakes of Africa, Gerard Prunier is a Research Professor at the University of Paris and the author of DarfurA 21st Century Genocide; From Genocide to Continental War: The Congolese Conflict and The Crisis of Contemporary Africa.

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Abstract morals notwithstanding, even tragedies do not occur in a vacuum. Read the first page
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tim Stevens on 4 Aug 2004
Format: Paperback
If any interested person requires an 'in' to beginning to understand the complexities of this tragic and deeply disturbed region, then Gerard Prunier's book is probably where they should start. Whereas many commentators, including I regret Phillip Gourevitch, fail to grasp correctly the intertwined nature of the political and ethnic background to not only the Rwandan genocide of 1994 but also the subsequent wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Prunier negotiates the minefield carefully and considerately. The narrative he produces is indeed complex, but never convoluted, and at all times sensitive to the protagonists, and sensible to the needs of us all to understand the nature and origin of the crises in the region. In an age of UN impotence, Clinton's belated apology and the official French whitewash of their role in Rwanda, Prunier examines the role of international and foreign policy, as well as domestic Rwandan, Burundese and Congolese politics and ethnicity, in the shaping of the apocalypse of 1994. As DR Congo fights on, the Burundese peace process staggers forward, and the Rwandan government launches its own enquiry into the role of the French whilst continuing to execute genocidaires, one could do far worse than prepare oneself for present and future upheaval in the region by reading this excellent and accessible analysis by so skilled a political analyst and commentator.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RM on 12 Feb 2004
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I take my cap off to Gerard Prunier who has written a magnificently detailed history on the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Unlike many books on Rwanda which simply read like travel guides or personal accounts, this book contains a very thorough history of Rwanda, from the the late 19th century, to the Lake Kivu crisis of 1996/97.
All important historical figures, such as the first president of an independent Rwanda, Gregiore Kayibanda through to Jean Kambanda and the leader of the Tutsi guerilla group the Rwandan Patriotic Front, Paul Kagame. There is alot of information to take in, but it is a rewarding read which is never dull for a moment throughout the book. But then again, I happen to be particularly interested in this region of Africa! :-)
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Gerard Prunier explains in very readable detail the intricacies leading up to, during, and briefly after the genocide in 1994, starting with the German colonisation a hundred years before. The history is complex, there are no simple explanations except that the population of Rwanda is divided into two ethnic groups – the majority Hutus and the taller and different-looking gifted Tutsis said to have once migrated from lands further north. By 1994 the country was being run by the majority Hutus, with the danger of invasion by the Tutsi RPF from its bases in Uganda. The minority Tutsis, who happened to be in power in neighbouring Burundi, had ruled before. Now they were being largely subdued and many had fled during previous confrontations. A rapacious Hutu clique with links to President Habyaramina’s wife saw itself losing hold, firstly after the dramatic fall in price of coffee and other key commodity exports, secondly as a result of being threatened by the impending Arusha agreements that would accommodate the Tutsi opposition. They started a programme of demonising the Tutsis and those Hutus considered moderates. A combination of strong civil organisation, heavy population density, absence of places to escape to, coupled with a naturally compliant Hutu population, all favoured their message that eventually corralled Hutu communities into “bush clearing” (killing men) and “pulling out the roots” (women and children) using machetes massively imported by the government, and aided by the actions of better-armed militia and army forces. All it took was the assassination of President Habyaramina who, although providing an obstacle to Arusha, had a stabilizing effect on the situation.Read more ›
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Excellent account and analysis of origins of the genocide. Written in 1994 so too close to the genocide itself and to subsequent events to be scholarly about them. The author recognises this limitation.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Campani on 6 Sep 2000
Format: Paperback
The book contains most of tha data useful to get an idea of the event of the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and of the complexity involved in the whole area of the Great Lakes. The crisis is still there even if the media stopped talking about it. My point is that history is usually manipulated to charge events with passion and Mr. Prunier, tries to keep out of this game as well as possible. He does so - and this is an answer to to those readers who finds it a pitty not to express emotions in this case - because he is aware of the hot climate in which this event is being regarded. Scholars, journalists, people, press and governements draw from the history of Rwanda and from the stereotypes of Africa not to explain what (the facts) happened in 1994, but to impose their own opinion every time, to justify their position. We had enough of this! I really appreciate that Mr. Prunier does his best in not participating to the emotional game. We need to set out the facts in a clear way, this is the only way to discuss. I can understand that it might be hard for someone, expecially for rwandese whose family suffered in the massacres to accept this "cold observer from the outside", still I would like to ask these people to recall all the occasions in which precisely emotional arguments created trouble in that little state in the middle of Africa, and in the world's politics...
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