Blood Papa: Book summary and reviews of Blood Papa by Jean Hatzfeld

Blood Papa

Rwanda's New Generation

by Jean Hatzfeld

Blood Papa by Jean Hatzfeld X
Blood Papa by Jean Hatzfeld

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Book Summary

The continuation of a groundbreaking study of the Rwandan genocide, and the story of the survivor generation.

In Rwanda from April to June 1994, 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by their Hutu neighbors in the largest and swiftest genocide since World War II. In his previous books, Jean Hatzfeld has documented the lives of the killers and victims, but after twenty years he has found that the enormity of understanding doesn't stop with one generation. In Blood Papa, Hatzfeld returns to the hills and marshes of Nyamata to ask what has become of the children? Those who never saw the machetes yet have grown up in the shadow of tragedy.

Fabrice, Sandra, Jean-Pierre, and others share the genocide as a common inheritance. Some have known only their parents' silence and lies, enduring the harassment of classmates or the stigma of a father jailed for unspeakable crimes. Others have enjoyed a loving home and the sympathies offered to survivor children, but do so without parents or an extended family.

The young Rwandans in Blood Papa see each other in the neighborhood - they dance and gossip, frequent the same cafés, and, like teenagers everywhere, love sports, music, and fashion; they surf the Web and dream of marriage. Yet Hutu and Tutsi children rarely speak of the ghosts that haunt their lives. Here their moving first-person accounts combined with Hatzfeld's arresting chronicles of everyday life form a testament to survival in a country devastated by the terrible crimes and trauma of the past.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Readers approaching it without prior knowledge of the genocide or Hutu-Tutsi relations will have a hard time fully understanding it, but those who have context will find this an illuminating update." - Publishers Weekly

"An honest, often hopeful book featuring subjects who speak with candor, hiding nothing. Several of the interviews include descriptions of the bloodshed, but Hatzfeld does not focus on the violence. An excellent choice for readers and researchers interested in reconciliation and the psychosocial impact of genocide." - Library Journal

"Hatzfeld's work is of great importance to understanding the Rwandan tragedy - and to the study of genocide generally." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Jean Hatzfeld

Jean Hatzfeld, an international reporter for Libération since 1973, is the author of many books, including Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak and The Antelope's Strategy. He lives in Paris.

Joshua Jordan is a lecturer of French language and literature at Fordham and Columbia University and received the French Voices Award in 2016 for his translation of Aberrant Movements: The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze by David Lapoujade.

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