Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda: A Journalist Reports from the Battlefields of Africa

Scott Peterson, Author Routledge $27.95 (357p) ISBN 978-0-415-92198-5
Peterson files this report from the front lines of three of Africa's most virulent wars of the 1990s. It has the immediacy and vividness of eyewitness testimony, because Peterson, who was reporting from Africa for London's Daily Telegraph, was present at the scenes of battle, recording his impressions as the carnage went forward. His reporting is visceral and close to the ground: ""in the dust and the sweat, and the laughter mixed with misery that permeates the flavor of war in Africa."" In Somalia, he observed how clan hatreds, combined with grossly excessive arms shipments from the developed nations, resulted in an explosion of anarchy and violence. The U.S. comes in for a substantial share of blame for its ill-considered, violent and ultimately disastrous intervention. In the Sudan, Peterson witnessed what he calls an apocalyptic civil war in which neither side was strong enough to win or weak enough to lose. Rwanda was even worse; at the height of the Hutu war of extermination against the Tutsis, one murder took place about every two seconds for an entire month. In his firsthand account of these genocidal conflicts, Peterson neither flinches from the appalling bloodshed nor closes his mind to the many scenes of generosity and honorable conduct he also witnessed. The author's purpose is made clear in the book's introduction: the catastrophic wars of Africa, ""largely unrecorded, ...require exploring for what they tell us about the human capacity to conduct evil, and also to survive it."" With tribal, ethnic and religious conflicts now so pervasive, the lessons Peterson communicates about Africa should claim the attention of everyone trying to make sense of today's world. 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Open Ebook - 978-0-203-90294-3
Paperback - 357 pages - 978-0-415-93063-5
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