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The Translator

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  3,259 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews
I am the translator who has taken journalists into dangerous Darfur. It is my intention now to take you there in this book, if you have the courage to come with me.

The young life of Daoud Hari–his friends call him David–has been one of bravery and mesmerizing adventure. He is a living witness to the brutal genocide under way in Darfur.

The Translator is a suspenseful, harro
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 21, 2010 Angie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
Let's get the controversial stuff out of the way first, shall we?

I feel that this book panders to soft-hearted Americans. There are numerous times Hari mentions how "good" the American people are. It is not that we aren't or that we are, or that Hari shouldn't be grateful (for, after all, Americans played a large part in saving his life and he now lives here), but this book as a whole doesn't read so much as a "memoir" as a causal glance backward, a highlight of a horrific scene here, a laugh th
Jun 25, 2008 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In late August, 2006, the National Geographic submitted this press release to news organizations: Paul Salopek, who was traveling in Africa to report on the culture and history of the Sahel [a semi-arid region between the Sahara Desert to the north and tropical forests to the south:] for National Geographic magazine, was detained by Sudanese authorities and on Aug. 26 charged with espionage in a North Darfur court in El Fashir, Sudan. National Geographic magazine vigorously protests this accusa ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Daoud Hari is a Zaghawa tribesman from the region known as Darfur in west Sudan. In 2003 his peaceful village life is shattered when government helicopters arrive, gunning down the villagers where they stand, followed by government-backed Arab militia on horses who murder, rape and burn their homes. The desired effect is achieved: the tribespeople are driven from their lands. Some make the long trek into neighbouring Chad, also Darfur territory, while others relocate, becoming "internally displa ...more
Jan 19, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is heartbreaking. It's hard to imagine anyone having to endure this kind of suffering. But, of course, that's why this book was written. Daoud Hari wants to help us understand.

I complain when I have a bad day, when I have to wait 6 minutes for the Metro instead of 2, or when a book I want from the library is checked out. But, c'mon, I don't have really bad days. After reading his book you'll see that you probably don't really have bad days either.
William Cuthbertson
Aug 21, 2008 William Cuthbertson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, darfur, sudan
Daoud Hari has written a painful, unglossed but also celebratory novel of the Darfur region of Western Sudan, and with his understated approach, genuine character, and very unexpected humor, reminds us that Darfur was a place well before it was a tragedy.

This approach allows Hari to engage his readers on a personal level: he asks them to consider their response to losing their cities and their children; he reminds them of the simple connecting power of cellular telephones, and the vital necessit
I've borrowed this book from my office's library.

Although its fun games during the launch, i've sceptically thought that this library will only loaded by some work field reports and thesis from the interns whom have their studies here. Then a few months ago, Perang Eropa III by P.K. Ojong was laying on the desk of someone which then said it was one of the library collection.

Darn!! I straight out went upstairs, to the library and facinated by the lines of fine books in its shelfs. Not just book
Thomas Holbrook
Dec 22, 2014 Thomas Holbrook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memior, non-fiction
Finding accurate descriptors to relate this snapshot of a place and time as foreign to my experience as imaginable is a challenge. Heart-rending – there are moments detailed in this account of the war(s) in Sudan that left me feeling as if the oxygen had been sucked out of the room. Humorous – Mr. Hari’s gentle, welcoming spirit, tongue-in-cheek wit and “Gift of Gab” shine through on nearly every page. Frightening – to witness the rapid destruction of an ancient culture, even from the remotenes ...more
Jun 26, 2011 Jimmy rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The horrors of Darfur. Why do such things happen? And they have continued to happen throughout my life. The world just can't seem to prevent them.

The scene that was hard to shake out of my mind was when the author and a group of BBC reporters come upon a massacre of over 80 men and boys. They were hacked to death by machetes, so body part are everywhere. The reporters break down and cry. Some have to leave and seek professional help to deal with what they have just found.

European colonialist c
This is a difficult book to rate. While the structure is less than perfect, the story is powerful. The author talks about the internal war in Sudan where the Arab government has been killing the non-Arab citizens. The conflict was determined to be genocide and the President of Sudan indicted by the ICC. Hari tells about the war through his own personal experience, first as a young man returning home after years of working in other surrounding countries and then as an interpreter for reporters (N ...more
May 09, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, africa, sudan
How does anyone survive? Nothing is hospitable neither the inhumane climate nor the "human" society.

Daoud had a short adult life before this war. He got an education and saw some of the world through restaurant work. He spent some time in the prison systems which was merely prologue for what was to come.

Most teenage males are recruited by one army or another, and they join for a meal. For those with skills like driving, mechanics or languages, choices are more complex. They can join an army, a g
May 24, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, simply written and compelling book. Something hard to rate but good for everyone to read. Here is an excerpt:

"It is interesting how many ways there are for people to be hurt and killed, and for villages to be terrorized and burned, and for children to die in deserts, and for young mothers to suffer. I would say that these ways to die and suffer are unspeakable, and yet they were spoken: we interviewed 1,134 human beings over the next weeks; their stories swirled through my near-sleeples
Feb 11, 2008 Shawnee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2008
Daoud Hari is from Darfur and as war came to his village his family encouraged him to fight not with a gun but with his education. With his ability to translate, Daoud worked to help as many journalist and government officials as possible tell the story of what was happening to his people and his country despite the very real threat to his own life. Yet I doubt that any reporter could tell the world the heartbreaking truth of the genocide that has and is occurring in Darfur as eloquently as Daou ...more
Nov 28, 2013 Bronwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The translator, Daoud Hari takes humanitarians and journalists into Darfur, using every skill and contact he has to keep them alive to tell of what they see. In the same way he takes the reader through the chaos and violence, and you must trust something of yourself to him as you follow Hari through the harrowing scenes of war. Fortunately his voice is warm with humour and he notices beauty wherever it can be found - the bright colours of clothing, bird song, family bonds and human kindness. Thi ...more
Dec 12, 2009 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio book, which is brilliantly read by Mirron Willis. The book conveys in the rawest terms the violence and human tragedy of Darfur. Hari helps us understand the ways of life in Darfur, both before the genocide, when he lived a traditional tribal life with his family, and after, when government troops and their allies lawlessly spread death and destruction and created refugees, living in squalid camps in Chad, of the survivors. This story also demonstrates how difficult it is ...more
This is an intriguing book - simple prose that belies the horror of what's described, namely the many acts that add up to genocide. Hari manages to retain love, compassion and integrity despite the devastating consequences of civil conflict, the complete loss of humanity and the collapse of moral reason and action. Hari has experienced much, and survived, and through his commitment of bearing witness relentlessly works to ensure the world knows the truth of Darfur. All this for the simple hope t ...more
Tariq Mahmood
The book starts off very well, with a lot of details of the rural life of Sudan with a good description of the Arab and African native populations living side by side. The absolutely horrifying details of atrocities by the Sudanese and Arab militias made me cry. Ethnic cleansing is not an African issue as it has happened in Europe repeatedly as well. So there is a real purpose in the author's story which comes across well, until the long and tedious passages which detail his own incarceration by ...more
Nov 04, 2008 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this book. All that I can think is - how can we human beings be so terrible?! And yet there are some, a few, that show we needn't continue behaving so badly. Some humans are capable of great courage, bravery and compassion. This book shows both sides. How can the trend be turned so that despicable behavior is no longer so easily accepted? Is it through education? Or is compassion genetically imprinted in just some of us? I have no answers. Genocide has occured and is continuing t ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Kerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in war zones or translation issues
This book put a whole new perspective on the position of a translator in a war zone. In particular, the skills and challenges that a native speaker faces dealing with outsiders, international journalists, rebel groups, the army and border crossings.

I really enjoyed this account of one man's experience becoming and serving as a translator in Darfur. His own account of the suffering and impetus for his decisions is really compelling. This is a quick read and insightful without being too arduous t
daoud is from darfur in the sudan. once his village is raided and many of his family members killed, he flees to a refugee camp. it is here that he finds work translating for journalists traveling to darfur.

this is a story that must be told. and it is told beautifully here. there are lines that ring true yet are so simply stated. i felt the tragedy of this area of the world, but i didn't feel overwhelmed by the violence and grief. daoud states the events simply yet eloquently.

Oct 17, 2008 Paige rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A definite MUST-READ. This book totally moved me and motivated me to be a better, more proactive person. I definitely reccommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the conflict in Darfur or anyone at all interested in what is happening NOW in our world.
Oct 14, 2013 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Saving Darfur

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.)

Daoud Hari was born to the Zaghawa tribe in Darfur, the westernmost region of Sudan. At the age of 13, Daoud’s father sent him to live in the city of El Fasher, located in North Darfur, to further his education – and distance his youngest son from the Sudanese military raids that were just beginning to foment the genocide in Darfur. Upon completion of his studies, Daoud t
Jan 04, 2017 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book a 3.5 if I could because it is interesting but vague, too general. The situation is tragic but this book only gives an overview of the issues in Darfur.
Ramesh Prabhu
Oct 05, 2014 Ramesh Prabhu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tells it best:

"The Witness Next Door"

Published: May 14, 2007

One of the most unusual people in New Jersey these days is a tall 34-year-old black man named Daoud Hari. Others may lose their tempers at traffic jams on the turnpike, but he’s just glad he’s no longer being tortured.

Mr. Hari has just arrived in the U.S. from Chad and Darfur, where he says he was beaten and told repeatedly he was going to be executed. He is one of just a h
David Kessler
The story of genocide taking place in Darfur by Sudanese troops and a government which wished to take over the land for their political gain. A very sad story.
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
First and foremost -- my sincere thanks to Librarything and to Random House for selecting me to read this book. I started it this morning, stopped at page 94, then cried for a little while, then picked it back up again to finish it.

I think that the majority of people living in the US are aware that acts of genocide are occurring throughout the globe, but they often tend to disassociate themselves from these events because they are so far away and frankly, we have a lot of problems right here at
Aug 20, 2008 coffeedog rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Translator: A Tribesman s Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari, as told to Dennis Burke and Megan M. McKenna, 2008, Random House.[return][return]If The Translator simply reported firsthand on the situation in Sudan, it would already be an excellent, highly recommended book, but Daoud Hari s uniquely penetrating, concise eyewitness account puts this book in an even higher category: this is a necessary book. If you read no other book this year, at least read this one; if you read 100 other books, re ...more
Mar 31, 2008 Ercildoun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is what it's about (from Book Haven)

In 2003, fighting broke out in Darfur as a result of the government's systematic campaign to move non-Arab Sudanese in Darfur off of the oil-rich land. Sudanese government forces and armed militia (known as "Janjaweed") began attacking civilians who are members of the same ethnic groups as the rebels. Countless villages have been destroyed. The rape of women and young girls is used as a tool of war. Hundreds of thousands have died, and over two million pe
Kyle Newton
In my English class I did a paper on Sudan and especially the genocide in Darfur and I read this book for some background on this subject. The book is told by Daoud Hari, and translator from Darfur. He tells of the accounts of his life in Darfur. For Example, he tells the story of the day his village was attacked by the Janjaweed. He explains how he and many others from his village escape. They escaped through the mountains to het to the boarder of the country Chad. Hari states many times that m ...more
Sep 16, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Translator is written by Daoud Hari, who is a man from Darfur whose village was attacked by the Sudanese government. He escaped into Chad, and worked with various reporters as a translator and a guide. He took them into Sudan to interview the people. Many times he almost lost his life, and miraculously was spared. A few of those times he was actually saved by the reporter who he was translating for.
A big part of the book goes into detail about the last time he was taken as a prisoner. Many
Mar 02, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa-books
When the life you’ve always known is destroyed, there are but two choices before you. Refuse to give up what has been lost, or somehow seek out something new to shape your life around. This is a hugely courageous story of the latter.

Others have detailed the plot of this memoir of survival and humanity during the opening years of the genocide in Darfur, so I won’t go into that again. This book was my introduction to the genocide and, while it lacked depth of historical or political context of th
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“You have to find a way to laugh a little bit each day despite everything, or your heart will simply run out of the joy that makes it go.” 8 likes
“They are among the three hundred million Africans who earn less than a dollar a day, and who are often pushed out of the way or killed for such things as oil, water, metal ore, and diamonds.” 4 likes
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