Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Strength in What Remains

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Strength in What Remains

A journey of remembrance and forgiveness

by Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2009, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2010, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

The Burundian Genocide
The 1993 Burundian genocide (which preceded the 1994 genocide in Rwanda) traces back to the end of Belgian colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s and the first Berudian genocide of 1972. Burundian history fits, like interlocking puzzle pieces, with that of its northern neighbor, Rwanda (map of Central Africa).

Like in Rwanda, Hutus make up about 86% of the population in Burundi, with only about 13% Tutsis (the remaining 1% are Twa pygmies). Unlike in Rwanda, where the Hutu majority took power, the small Tutsi elite in Burundi held onto government and military positions after independence. In April 1972, there was a bloody Hutu uprising which prompted an even more grisly retaliation by the Tutsi military. The Tutsis systematically killed Hutu intellectuals, politicians, and professionals as well as the insurgents. Estimates of the dead vary greatly, but most agree at least 100,000 people were killed, and maybe as many as 300,000.

Many Hutus fled Burundi for neighboring countries, including Rwanda where they were the majority in power. In Burundi, the Tutsi government maintained silence on the issue of ethnicity, even removing the labels of "Tutsi" and "Hutu" on identity cards (there are no physical differences to tell the two groups apart; the stereotype that Tutsis are tall and thin while Hutus are short, stocky, and broad-nosed does not hold).

Meanwhile, Tutsis who had fled Rwanda during the post-independence era were fomenting unrest under the guise of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in Uganda. They invaded Rwanda in 1990 and successfully held onto a bit of territory, prompting the Hutu military to retaliate against other Tutsis in the country.

Then in 1993, Burundians elected their first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye. On October 22, 1993, Ndadaye was assassinated, setting off a chain of violence. As Deo first heard the news from a fellow medical student, "President Ndadaye’s been killed, and they say he was killed by some Tutsis in the army, and now the war is going on, the Hutus are retaliating and killing every Tutsi all over the country." As many as 25,000 Tutsis were killed, and in 2002 the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi labeled the massacre a genocide.

Burundi’s civil war amplified the tensions between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, leading to the better-known Rwandan genocide. In April of 1994, the Hutu president of Rwanda and the Burundian president elected to replace Ndadaye, also a Hutu, were assassinated together when their jet was shot down. Over the next 100 days, as many as 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates were slaughtered in a stunningly well-organized campaign of terror.

Links to information about Deogratias (Deo) Niyizonkiza

This article was originally published in September 2009, and has been updated for the May 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice


Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy
by Monica Wood

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -