About the book
In April-May 1994 in Rwanda, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred by their Hutu fellow citizens - more than 10,000 a day, mostly being hacked to death by machete. Jean Hatzfeld reports on the results of his interviews with nine of the Hutu killers, all of whom are now in prison, some awaiting execution. Hatzfeld elicits extraordinary testimony from these men about the genocide they perpetrated. Each describes what it was like the first time he killed someone, what he felt like when he killed a mother and child, and how he reacted when he killed a cordial acquaintance. Each reflects on his feelings of moral responsibility, his guilt, remorse, or indifference to the crimes. Since the Holocaust, it has been conventional to presume that only depraved and monstrous evil incarnate could perpetrate such crimes, but it may be, Hatzfeld suggests, that such actions are within the realm of ordinary human conduct. To read this disturbing, enlightening and very brave book is to consider the foundation of human morality and ethics in a new light.
Weaving in concise background detail to the massacre, his writing never strays into cheap polemic. The matter-of-fact detail of the slayings threaded into the cadence and minutiae of a normal day in the life of the killers is sufficient to empower this chilling reportage.
Hatzfeld transcends cultural divides to provide and insightful exposition of human morality
and emotion... Highly insightful reads, which will leave you with an overwhelming sense of
guilt for what cannot be undone, and a suspicion for your fellow man
Chilling work of oral history.