cover image The Devil Came on Horseback

The Devil Came on Horseback

Brian Steidle, Gretchen Steidle Wallace, , read by Jeff Cummings. . Blackstone Audio, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4332-0003-8

Though Cummings seems younger and more naïve than the narrator of this appalling history, he does convey the growing disbelief and revulsion that former Marine Captain Steidle feels during his six months as an African Union observer of the Darfur genocide. In ever-rising tones, Cummings conveys Steidle’s developing incredulity, frustration, horror and impotence as he witnesses and actually photographs the janjaweed arrive on horseback to systematically rape, torture, murder and mass slaughter 200,000 men, women and children, then loot and torch one village after another. Every day the unarmed AU observers interview the victims and the perpetrators, but their mandate is to observe and report on each infringement of the so-called cease-fire; they can in no way interfere—no matter how horrific the crime. What is hardest for Steidle (and listeners) to stomach is the utter complacency of the U.N., the U.S. and the world’s other powers mutely observing what can only be called genocide. (On April 16, 2007, Sudan finally approved the deployment of attack helicopters and 3,000 U.N. peacekeepers.) Simultaneous release with the Public Affairs hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 26). (Apr.)