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When The Hills Ask For Your Blood: A Personal Story of Genocide and Rwanda [Kindle Edition]

David Belton
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Into the heart of a genocide that left a million people dead

6 April 1994: In the skies above Rwanda the president’s plane is shot down in flames.

Near Kigali, Jean-Pierre holds his family close, fearing for their lives as the violence escalates.

In the chapel of a hillside village, missionary priest Vjeko Curic prepares to save thousands of lives

The mass slaughter that follows – friends against friends, neighbours against neighbours - is one of the bloodiest chapters in history

Twenty years on, BBC Newsnight producer David Belton, one of the first journalists into Rwanda, tells of the horrors he experienced at first-hand. Now following the threads of Jean-Pierre and Vjeko Curic’s stories, he revisits a country still marked with blood, in search of those who survived and the legacy of those who did not. This is David Belton's quest for the limits of bravery and forgiveness.

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Product Description


"David Belton has written something very special, a work of non-fiction that has a novel's power to move, enchant and challenge. This elegantly-written book is much more than a history, a work of lyrical beauty that will stand as a memorial not just for those who died in the genocide but to those of us who struggle to make a difference." -- Tim Butcher, author of BLOOD RIVER "Complex, compassionate and scathing... Much of the writing ... has a literary power that lifts it above normal journalistic or non-fiction practice: Jean-Pierre's confinement in his mud-walled hole has shades of Beckett, and both Odette and Curic seem like Brechtian heroes." Giles Foden "Belton excavates the truth and layers the political, social and military dimensions of the conflict onto three peoples' stories, to produce a book that is both illuminating and profoundly moving." -- Aminatta Forna Independent "Brings the story right up to date, confronting the dilemmas and tensions that lie not far below the surface ..." Observer "Extraordinary. Lays bare the unspeakable with calm and human clarity. Remarkable." Emma Thompson

Book Description

A moving, personal account of the Rwanda and its genocide twenty years on, and an introduction to Vjeko Curic, a modern-day Schindler who saved thousands of lives.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1627 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (30 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FM12JYC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #193,388 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

David Belton has been writing and making films since the early 1990s. At BBC Newsnight he travelled across the globe reporting from many of the world's trouble spots. In 1994, he reported from Rwanda during the genocide and, years later, it inspired him to co-write the story for Shooting Dogs, the award-winning feature film starring John Hurt and Hugh Dancy. He went on to direct many documentaries including the Bafta-winning Power of Art series and and dramas including Ten Days to War, starring Stephen Rea and Kenneth Branagh. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his film for American television, The Amish. When the Hills Ask For Your Blood was written during many return trips to Rwanda between 2008-20013. It is his first book.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I met David Belton at kids cricket. He mentioned he had been to Rwanda. I wanted to ask him questions, but genocide isn't exactly light, village green conversation.

Thank goodness for this wonderfully written book. What David covers and expresses so eloquently is beyond any conversation we could possibly have had. The personal stories of others involved in the dark days of Rwanda's genocide works brilliantly with David's own experiences as a BBC reporter there in 1994. The horror of what happened, why it happened and the future, is explored in a way that is accessible, riveting, vivid, brutal and shocking. I think this book will be appreciated by those who know the story well, and also to those like myself who remember the Rwanda genocide as just a passing news item in the mid 1990's.

I couldn't recommend this book enough and also the film 'Shooting Dogs' which was written by David. The combination of the two gives an incredible insight into what happened in Rwanda, and also the potential of us human beings to be be both barbaric and incredibly selfless and brave.

Definitely puts cricket in perspective.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I did not expect such a powerful and personal account of the survivors of genocide to be such a riveting read. This account weaves individual stories with the author's own experiences of visits to Rwanda and addresses every facet of the terrible times the country experienced together with how the people subsequently emerged and dealt with their traumatic past. Very touching and humbling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping... 26 Feb. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David Belton has written a very powerful and gripping book. It reads like a novel. I was turning the pages wanting to find out what was going to happen to the characters. It is beautifully written too - the country and the people really came alive to me - and I found myself very moved by his descriptions of the characters who populate the story. The book takes the story up to the present day which I was really glad about. I didn't want to read a story just about the genocide - I wanted to know what's happened in Rwanda since and the second half of the book answers that in a fascinating way and intriguing way. I highly recommend this book for people who want a page-turning read about a story that is as important today as it was twenty years ago
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When English people are asked to give gross instances of man's inhumanity to man, we immediately think of the six million Jews who died in Hitler's gas chambers in the Second World War. But how many of us remember the genocide of more recent times in the small African country of Rwanda, where in 1994 the Hutu majority rose up and slaughtered the Tutsi minority? David Belton covered the climax of the war for BBC television's Newsnight and saw the piles of bloodied bodies, the smashed skulls of little children swung by their legs against house walls, and the floating corpses jamming the waterways. Now, 20 years later, in When the Hills ask for your Blood, he revisits his time in Rwanda and graphically and movingly describes what happened.

In the chaos and terror of war where neighbour killed neighbour in this predominantly Christian country, the only chance a Tutsi stood was to flee or to hide until danger had passed. Belton tells the harrowing story of one young couple who separately followed these courses of action. This narrative told with great empathy is interwoven with another story, that of V Curic, an energetic and charismatic Bosnian priest, a Franciscan who found his freedom living and working among the poor in Rwanda. Ten years on when the war broke out, he had already seen some successes in his ambitious building programme. Now he wasn't going to abandon the people who needed him, and proved to be man of great courage in war, as Belton witnessed first hand.

This beautifully written and lyrical book stands to be a classic of our time, a requiem for all those who died in the genocide, and a lasting tribute to a man who really did make a difference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book. 24 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A harrowing story well told through the eyes of a compassionate observer. The observer clearly became more than just a professional recorder of this genocide, returning to find the brave and holy men who sacrificed so much for their fellow man. Within this account of Man's inhumanity to Man, is a transcendent story of Man's equal capacity for goodness and compassion. It's an important book which, along with other accounts of tragic episodes in 20th century history, should be compulsory reading for all students around the world. Perhaps then one could entertain a slight hope that the Rwandan tragedy might be a genocide to end all genocides. Peter F.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, intelligent, humbling. 18 Feb. 2014
Captures the full horror of the genocide with incredible sensitivity. Shows us just how far normal people can be pushed - into both savage cruelty and selfless heroism - by situations beyond their control. This book, and the people and stories within it will stay with me for a long time.
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This is a well constructed and beautifully written account of an appalling period in the lives of all Rwandans and of four people in particular; the author a BBC producer, a Bosnian Jesuit priest and a Rwandan couple. The scope of the book is broad, taking us from the midst of the genocide in 1994, back to Rwanda and on to the Balkans in 2004 and 2013.
But the pace of the book never flags; it is indeed a page turner. The individual stories are cleverly interwoven to provide a very personalised description of an horrific period in Rwandan history. The book graphically describes and clarifies for us the madness which gripped the country for a few ghastly months in the spring of 1994. It is a deeply moving book, written by a man who not only was there but who has an eye for detail and a crystal clear memory of events which are obviously engraved on his mind. He clearly has a deep affection for the country and its people, but he does not shrink from describing the effect the barbarism and brutality have on him and the other protagonists.
However, the theme which runs through Belton’s admirably coherent account is the resilience and astonishing courage shown by some human beings in the face of dreadful horror. Although his own is modestly played down, he does not flinch from describing the fear he faced.
This is a remarkable book and I commend it to Amazon customers without reservation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing
David Belton. Harrowing.
When The Hills Ask For Your Blood.
April the 6th 1994 is a date all Rwandans will remember, the presidents plane was shot out of the sky killing... Read more
Published 5 months ago by tom elder
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
exceptional story, heart-breaking at times
Published 6 months ago by Margaret Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
utterly fantastic
Published 8 months ago by The Dowager
5.0 out of 5 stars Read It!
A very powerful and moving book, that gives an insight into Rwanda's more recent history.
Published 10 months ago by Lizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
A fascinating read that gives clarity and insight into the Rwandan massacre. Bewildering, compelling, this book has stayed with me for weeks after finishing it.
Published 13 months ago by WendyG
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
I hope this book finds the wider audience it deserves. I found it compelling and deeply involving. David Belton has managed to construct an entirely authentic and gripping account... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Garton
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
A insight first hand of the hard to understand genocide in Rwanda, in the blur,speed and confusion at the time, it was hard to grasp the reason,s behind the Genocide, this book... Read more
Published 13 months ago by kirstie anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book about the Rwandan genocide
I've read a fair bit about the Rwandan genocide. Many books focus on the failure of the Rwandan state, the preparation for genocide and the failure of the international community. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Oli Broom
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and beautifully written
Do not be put off by the subject matter. This is an enlightening and highly accessible personal journey around the Rwandan Genocide. Part historical novel and beautifully written. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Spencer Skinner
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
Beautifully written, wonderfully descriptive and moving. It's informative, inspiring and thought provoking. I felt it ended on a note of optimism.
Published 14 months ago by Mrs JL Harris
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