Drink the Bitter Root: A Search for Justice and Healing in Africa

Gary Geddes. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-58243-788-0
In his latest travelogue, Geddes (Sailing Home) takes us on a dizzying spin through five sub-Saharan countries, asking why the international justice system and foreign aid have failed to bring peace to the region. Beginning in Rwanda and zigzagging through nearby Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Somaliland, Geddes encounters similar problems: poverty, sexual violence, genocide, kidnappings, and government oppression. In his search for answers, Geddes attends a hearing by the Gacaca (a traditional Rwandan court), meets an official from the International Criminal Court, and interviews child soldiers and rape and mutilation survivors, trying to probe the gap between the noble aims of international justice and aid organizations and the harsh reality of corrupt regimes, interminable bureaucracy, and foreign corporations exploiting ethnic conflicts in their resource grab. Although the book provides an overview of the region’s morass of internecine feuds, it lacks the historical context that would allow a real sense of the conflicts to emerge. Still, when Geddes reflects on “awkwardly elegant” camels crossing a desert road, a church piled with bodies, or a pair of AK-47s lying barrels crossed on the sand as their owners splash in the surf, these moments glow with the stark beauty and ugliness of rich, though poverty-stricken, lands. Agent: Don Sedgwick, Transatlantic Literary Agency (Canada). (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 12/01/2011
Show other formats
Hardcover - 232 pages - 978-1-55365-458-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-55365-969-3
Open Ebook - 241 pages - 978-1-61902-031-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-281-79440-6
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.