Ruth Gonzales, a reader of this blog, recently contacted me with a great idea about recommended books for people interested in learning more Darfur, Rwanda, and the history of genocide. She also very generously sent a list of recommended books to me, which I have been hoping to compile for some time but of course never got around to. So keep an eye out on the recommended reading list in the sidebar as I add many new books to check out. And big shout out to Ruth for all the work and energy on this!
Of the books on there, many of them I personally have not yet read. I have mentioned Not on Our Watch before, the quintessential advocate’s guide to Darfur complete with suggestions, tools, and calls to action. For the avid scholar, anything by Alex de Waal is recommended. He is THE recognized expert on Darfur and Sudan, although he raises some interesting questions about the advocacy movement, particularly celebrity activism. For a history of genocides, Samantha Power’s A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide is a must-read, although personally sometimes the style of writing is too journalistic for me – ie. policy-makers are damned if they do, damned it they don’t. However, it is definitely the best compiled history of genocides I have encountered yet.
In terms of gut-wrenching, emotive writing, I would point to either Dallaire or Philip Gourevitch’s accounts of Rwanda. The Philip Gourevitch book, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, sparked my interest in human rights and preventing mass atrocities. It is really well-written, mixing anecdotes, interviews, and well-researched histories of the conflict and country. Highly recommended.
I would love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on recommended reading. Please send me an email with suggestions and ideas. And thanks to Ruth once again!
UPDATE: Check out the Comments section for some more good recommendations!