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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  17,728 Ratings  ·  1,267 Reviews
In April of 1994, the government of Rwanda called on everyone in the Hutu majority to kill everyone in the Tutsi minority. Over the next three months, 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler's war against the Jews. Philip Gourevitch's haunting work is an anatomy of the killings in Rwanda, a vivid history of the genocide's ...more
Paperback, 356 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Picador (first published September 30th 1998)
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Brendan
Nov 01, 2016 Brendan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bill Clinton & Maddy Albright
To be honest, Gourevitch's book doesn't sound inviting. What book about genocide could? And its title alone suggests a kind of vicious, heart-stopping sadness that many of us would prefer to turn away from. Which may, in fact, be the point. Either way, Gourevitch's writing won't let you turn away. He tells the story of the Rwandan genocide in a prose so wonderfully crafted and infused with anger and insight as to be nearly hypnotic. From the opening pages, the young reporter confronts his own ...more
Melissa
Nov 04, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
When I would tell my friends about how great of a book this is, I got a lot of, "I can't read that, it's too upsetting." This came from my progressive, non-profit sector, CSA share-owning friends. And I know what they mean. But seriously, you should read this book anyway.

And not just because it's important to understand the things that have gone on in this world during our time (and before) in order to change the future. Also because Gourevitch discusses some things in this book that I've never
...more
Heidi
Jun 24, 2008 Heidi rated it it was amazing
This is not an easy book to read. But Gourevitch takes a tragedy about which most of the world knows very little -- the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis in 1994 -- and he thoroughly explores it, and along the way he humanizes it. This is a story about genocide, about war and politics, yes, but moreover it's a story about the people who lived through the horror of genocide, and those who died. Gourevitch talks to anyone who will tell him their story, it seems: survivors of the genocide, military ...more
orsodimondo
NON VI DIMENTICHEREMO
Questa non è solo una storia africana.
Non è solo una lotta tra hutu e tutsi.
È una storia che riguarda l’umanità intera.
Perché non esistono essere umani più umani degli altri.

Nel più piccolo paese dell’Africa, il Rwanda, in un territorio inferiore a quello della Lombardia, in un paesaggio che a volte ricorda le Langhe altre la Svizzera, tra il 6 aprile e la metà di luglio del 1994 si è consumato il genocidio più cruento e rapido della storia dell’umanità: si calcola che in
...more
Chrisiant
Sep 21, 2007 Chrisiant rated it really liked it
I read this book while volunteering in Burundi, a country that has experienced a parallel civil conflict to that of Rwanda, but with much less international attention.

The book is full of chilling stories, exposing both the horror of the actions of the Rwanda orchestrators of the genocide, the willing and complicit participants in carrying out the genocide, and the willful inaction and facilitation of the conflict by international actors, including the U.S. government.

Most striking to me was th
...more
Ioana
It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere. ~ Primo Levi

How do you "rate" a book about genocide? On the merits of the reporting? On its "balanced" or "just" interpretation of history? On its tone or political slant? On the first-hand accounts presented? On your personal horror at both reading about what happened, and at probing the limits of your own ignorance? (How did I not know this?!)

The 5 stars is first an
...more
Irene Mcintyre
Realized I'd only read half of this so I'm finishing it this weekend. I feel like it was an experiment. But ppl call me a "conspiracy theorist." To me this was planned on high though. Very scary.

Excerpt from the book:

Even if not taking sides were a desirable position, it is impossible to act in or on a political situation without having a political effect (speaking about humanitarian aid organizations assisting the "refugees" [Hutu powers in exile aka genocidars] in the D.R.C.) The Humanitarian
...more
Pink
Jul 12, 2016 Pink rated it it was amazing
This was fantastic. A blending of superb writing and journalistic skills, to tell both the individual and national stories of the Rwandan genocide. I was marking sections in my book to quote from, but I ended up with 20+ passages. It answered all of my own questions of how it happened, why international governments or agencies didn't step in to help and what happened afterwards. Essential reading.
Dan
Aug 07, 2008 Dan rated it it was amazing
Although I read this book only recently, over a decade after the events of the genocide in Rwanda I think that time has only reinforced and strengthened the impact of this book. While I cannot claim to have been old enough to be properly plugged into the political landscape during as the events were unfolding, it is indeed damning that I could have come away from all of the news coverage that the genocide eventually produced with such a deeply flawed understanding of the massacre.

“We wish to inf
...more
Jennie
Aug 24, 2008 Jennie rated it really liked it
How can you call a book about genocide great? It was informative and powerful. Tragic and very very sad. It made me so angry at times I had to put it down for fear I would throw it across the room. This book had me so frustrated with the politics involved that I just want to scream in frustration.
I have to add some of the most powerful, to me, statements made in this book:
"In May of 1994, I happened to be in Washington to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, an immensely popular to
...more
Hana
I read this book about the Rwandan genocide several years ago, thought about it again as I was reading The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan, and picked it up to reread when I was pondering the current crisis in Syria and Iraq.

What triggers genocide? What leads once-peaceful peoples to willingly, enthusiastically participate in mass murder, rape, and other unthinkable atrocities? Like Yasmin Khan, Philip Gourevitch focuses on a detailed analysis of what was happeni
...more
DoctorM
The Rwanda genocide of 1994 took place while I was moving between teaching jobs--- something horrible and ghost-like on a television screen. It always had that air of Stalin's old line that "one person's death is a tragedy; a million deaths are only a statistic." Philip Gourevitch's "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families" makes the deaths--- yes, almost a million in a hundred days or so ---into tragedy: the tragedies of individuals, of a nation, of the so-called ...more
Jimmy
Mar 18, 2016 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
In April of 1994, the government of Rwanda called on everyone in the Hutu majority to kill everyone in the Tutsi minority. Over the next three months 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler's war against the Jews. Philip Gourevitch's book is a history of the genocide's background, a horrible account of what happened, and what it meant to survive the aftermath.

Belgians dispatched scientists to Rwanda when it was a colony. They measured Rwandan cranial c
...more
GoldGato
Oct 09, 2012 GoldGato rated it really liked it
"God no longer wants you." So spoke a local pastor, a man of religion, as he ordered the massacre of 2,000 of his Tutsi neighbours and friends. The mass killings that took place in Rwanda in 1994 stand as the most hideous since Hitler and Stalin, yet they were aided by the French government, who supported the maniacal Hutu Power government. This book tears apart the excuses given by the Western powers as to why they didn't interfere, why they just let more than 800,000 Tutsis be obliterated with ...more
Rikelle
Feb 05, 2009 Rikelle rated it really liked it
How do you rate a book that is about something so absolutely horrible. When I was younger I remember reading books on the holocaust and thinking this could never happen again. How naive I was. Not only has it happened again, it continues to happen and the world barely notices. I have read books about the Rwandan genocide from the victim's point of view. Those books give you the horrible gut wrenching emotional side of it. This book helps you understand the political side of it. My only gripe is ...more
Bryce
Feb 01, 2016 Bryce rated it really liked it
I admit that I did not know much about Rawanda's genocide before reading this book. I was a preteen when it occurred ibn the early 90s and global news wasn't really one of my life priorities.

So I learned so much from this account. All of it tragic and frustrating and hopeless. It made me ashamed of my country, for the United States' aggressive refusal to respond to a genocide. It made me wonder at the people of Rawanda, that they could be less into participating in a slaughter of nearly a milli
...more
stephanie
possibly one of the best books i've read on rwanda. horribly depressing, horribly great, just.

absolutely wonderful work. i put it second to The Age of Genocide only because that is possibly the end all book on genocide, because of it's breath, scope, and wonderful, wonderful history.

but this is maybe the best book on rwanda i've read. and read again. and again.
Tenzing
Oct 10, 2007 Tenzing rated it really liked it
Here's the review of this book I put on my blog:
On the flight home I read Philip Gourevitch’s ` We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families’. In spite of many accolades for the author, I didn’t like his writing. However, the book is worth reading as a disturbing reminder of the violence and cruelty man is capable of committing in the name of such recently constructed ideas as ethnicity and nationalism. This sort violence is perhaps among the most serious problems faci
...more
Andy
Jan 27, 2009 Andy rated it it was ok
I think too many people will find it easy to rubber-stamp a favorable opinion on this book and talk about how terrible the Rwandan genocide was and how this account really brings it to life. This overlooks the fact that this is honestly not a well-written book; just because it is a book about a historic atrocity still insufficiently understood by the West does not make it good.

The biggest shortcoming is that the book does not look deeply enough into the motives of the killers. The biggest takea
...more
Mikey B.
Feb 14, 2013 Mikey B. rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, journalism
Informative...

The second part of this book is better than the first. Although interesting, the first part seems detached and meandering; a nice set of interviews - but for the most part they seem to be after-the-fact interviews.

The second part becomes more unified and emotional. It is concerned more with the here and now; of how Rwanda is 'coping' with the genocide (indeed, if it can ever hope to do so). Sometimes I feel the author is painting a 'rosy' picture of Rwandan president Paul Kagame.
...more
Sumit Singla
Gruesome. Horrific. Visceral. Disturbing. And even harrowing. These are some of the adjectives that come to mind when I think back about this book. I wish this had been fiction, and not cold, hard fact.

However, the truth remains that nearly a million HUMANs were pretty much hacked to death by other HUMANs, over a period of a 100 days. Imagine an orchestrated ethnic cleansing involving 10,000 murders a day. That's more people than 11 Airbus a380s can accommodate.

Staggering. And even after readin
...more
Jack
Mar 31, 2008 Jack rated it it was amazing
This is a devastating book. It gives a few family narratives in the context of genocide and hits your soul with the sadness of friends and neighbors and families killed by friends and neighbors and family. The book does a descent job of giving some causalities to the genocide without necessarily falling into justification. It also works with the tensions of justice and reconciliation wondering how the post genocide RPA government can navigate between the lines of justice and stability, between ...more
Bonnie Brody
Mar 07, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it it was amazing
I read this book with my heart in my stomach. At the same time I could not put it down. For anyone interested in understanding the history of Rwanda, the genocide that occurred there, the colonialization that pitted the Hutus against the Tutsis and the artificiality of separating these two groups, this is a brilliant and essential book.

I learned about how the Rwandan population was arbitrarily separated into two groups - the Tutsis and the Hutus - by the Belgians. They are actually the same race
...more
Danielle
Mar 22, 2010 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very comprehensive, approachable history, documentation, and aftermath of the genocide (let's call it what it is) in Africa, and specifically in Rwanda. One of the most engaging tactics employed by the author are his notes from interviews with both key political figures and everyday citizens. Hearing accounts first hand from those at the heart of the matter is very impactful. Also, the author doesn't fail to point out all sides of the situation, holding everyone accountable. There is a ...more
Clare
Nov 09, 2007 Clare rated it it was amazing
just to get it out of the way up front, this book blew me away. it is extremely difficult to get through, both because of the gruesomely accurate description of the genocide as well as the length and density of the writing. but i think gourevitch did a great job of painting a "big picture" of the issues that led to such an event and brilliantly told some stories that have left me in awe even to this day.

what i kept seeing come up again and again was the idea that as horrible as this genocide was
...more
Tim
Sep 11, 2011 Tim rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A first hand examination of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Gives a number of survivor stories, a thorough look at the country in it's aftermath (up to 1998). An excellent view of the international communities role in the genocide, it's inaction, and the debacle of humanitarian aid which aggravated the situation and wound up giving money and supplies to many of the Genocidaires. It did not seem to be as explanatory of the causes of the genocide or the organization and planning and execution. These ...more
Andrea
Jan 19, 2013 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, rwanda
One of the first in-depth analyses of the genocide, it is impossible to read and remain indifferent to what Rwandans have endured. It is also impossible to imagine that much of the world did just that -remained indifferent - before, during, and after the massacres.
But, readers, if you are planning to read this account (precise, incisive, and poignant) you have probably already vanquished indifference, and your obligation to remember can start here.
Linda
Aug 19, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-events
Heavy read!
Alice Lippart
A highly enlightening book, one I think everyone should read.
Carolyn
Jun 02, 2016 Carolyn rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch had moments of poignancy, excellence, and ingenuity, but I felt that between these moments, pages, or chapters of great writing, there was too much that wasn't satisfying, on topic, or succinctly written. Gourevitch spent a lot of time detailing surrounding countries' history (Zaire/DRC, Burundi, Uganda etc.), and the political background of Rwanda, specifically the 1960s-1993, sometimes repeating inform ...more
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Gourevitch was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to painter Jacqueline Gourevitch and philosophy professor Victor Gourevitch, a translator of Jean Jacques Rousseau. He and his brother Marc, a physician, spent most of their childhood in Middletown, Connecticut, where their father taught at Wesleyan University from 1967 to 1995. Gourevitch graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, ...more
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“Denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.” 61 likes
“The West's post-Holocaust pledge that genocide would never again be tolerated proved to be hollow, and for all the fine sentiments inspired by the memory of Auschwitz, the problem remains that denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.” 16 likes
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