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How de Body?: One Man's Terrifying Journey Through an African Warby Teun Voeten
Synopses & Reviews
In 1998, acclaimed photojournalist Teun Voeten headed to Sierra Leone for what he thought would be a standard assignment on the child soldiers there. But the cease-fire ended just as he arrived, and the clash between the military junta and the West African peace-keeping troops forced him to hide in the bush from rebels who were intent on killing him.
How de Body? ("how are you?" in Sierra Leone's Creole English) is a dramatic account of the conflict that has been raging in the country for nearly a decade-and how Voeten nearly became a casualty of it. Accessible and conversational, it's a look into the dangerous diamond trade that fuels the conflict, the legacy of war practices such as forced amputations, the tragic use of child soldiers, and more. The book is also a tribute to the people who never make the headlines: Eddy Smith, a BBC correspondent who eventually helps Voeten escape; Alfred Kanu, a school principal who risks his life to keep his students and teachers going amidst the bullets and raids; and Padre Victor, who runs a safe haven for ex-child soldiers; among others.
Featuring Voeten's stunning black-and-white photos from his multiple trips to the conflict area, How de Body? is a crucial testament to a relatively unknown tragedy.
"There are few, if any, journalists I admire as much as Voeten. His narrow escape from the rebels in Sierra Leone is one of the most harrowing tales I've heard in a long time. He writes with compassion and understated dignity about a complicated civil war that has taken thousands of lives and nearly cost him his own." Sebastian Junger
"Teun Voeten has rendered a powerful portrait of the people of Sierra Leone — their extraordinary strength and forgiveness — that leaves the reader both amazed and hopeful at the resiliency of the human spirit." Scott Anderson, war correspondent and author of The Man Who Tried to Save the World
"Exhilarating... his audience will feel the same tension Voeten experienced when he was hiding away from rebels bent on killing all foreigners in their path. A heroic portrayal of an overlooked, blood-soaked corner of the world." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[A]n exciting adventure that educates the West to one of the many wars about which we cannot afford to be indifferent." Vernon Ford, Booklist
About the Author
Teun Voeten studied cultural anthropology in the Netherlands, after which he started to cover the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Rwanda, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Haiti, and Columbia. His work has been published in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Granta, and has been used by organizations such as the United Nations, the International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Human Right Watch. He divides his time between New York and Brussels.
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