Synopses & Reviews
Richard Opio has neither the look of a cold-blooded killer nor the heart of one. Yet as his mother and father lay on the ground with their hands tied, Richard used the blunt end of an ax to crush their skulls. He was ordered to do this by a unit commander of the Lords Resistance Army, a rebel group that has terrorized northern Uganda for twenty years. The memory racks Richards slender body as he wipes away tears.”
For more than twenty years, beginning in the mid-1980s, the Lords Resistance Army has ravaged northern Uganda. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered, and thousands more mutilated and traumatized. At least 1.5 million people have been driven from a pastoral existence into the squalor of refugee camps.
The leader of the rebel army is the rarely seen Joseph Kony, a former witchdoctor and self-professed spirit medium who continues to evade justice and wield power from somewhere near the Congo~Sudan border. Kony claims he not only can predict the future but also can control the minds of his fighters. And control them he does: the Lords Resistance Army consists of children who are abducted from their homes under cover of night. As initiation, the boys are forced to commit atrocitiesmurdering their parents, friends, and relativesand the kidnapped girls are forced into lives of sexual slavery and labor.
In First Kill Your Family, veteran journalist Peter Eichstaedt goes into the war-torn villages and refugee camps, talking to former child soldiers, child brides,” and other victims. He examines the cultlike convictions of the army; how a pervasive belief in witchcraft, the spirit world, and the supernatural gave rise to this and other deadly movements; and what the global community can do to bring peace and justice to the region. This insightful analysis delves into the wars foundations and argues that, much like Rwandas genocide, international intervention is needed to stop Africas virulent cycle of violence.
The author is a veteran American journalist who went to college inMexico City, was based in New Mexico for twenty years, and has reported on international issues in conflict zones across the world,most recently in Afghanistan. He is the author of several previous books of journalism. In this one, he looks at the growing tensionsalong both sides of the US-Mexico border since the 9/11 attacks. Including material from extensive interviews with people involved atevery level, the book is divided into five parts, focused on migrants, the business of fear, the international gun and drug trade,border enforcement, and solutions. The author focuses throughout on the stories of people, and on the fact that in spite of politicalrhetoric, the problems and possibilities of the border are equal problems and possibilities for both countries.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
"Journalist Eichstaedt (Above the Din of War) heads to the southern borderlands to explore the ties binding Mexico and the United States and the barriers keeping them apart. By talking with ranchers, immigrants, border agents, and others on both sides of the line, he delves into the complicated issues of immigration and enforcement, made more volatile by the maelstrom of drug violence engulfing much of northern Mexico. He finds 'a deplorable lack of interaction, unfortunately fueled by fear and ignorance.' This distrust came to a head in the fight over Arizona's SB 1070, which dramatically expanded local police forces' mandate to detain undocumented individuals. Eichstaedt reports coming across a young man near death in the Arizona desert, giving him food and water, and driving him to the highway to be picked up by the border patrol actions now illegal in the state. The author's vignettes of his interactions with a diverse cast of characters are insightful and engrossing, yet despite his fieldwork on the border and over 20 years living in New Mexico, he seems to have never mastered Spanish, and the frequent misuse and misspelling of Spanish words, phrases, and names distracts from an otherwise powerful book. 40 color photos. Agent: Geri Thoma, Markson Thoma Literary Agency. (May) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
How do we balance border security and Americas need for a vital workforce while continuing to provide access to the American dream? Since the attacks of 9/11, the United States has steadily ramped up security along the U.S.-Mexico border, transforming Americas legendary Southwest into a frontier of fear. Veteran journalist Peter Eichstaedt roams this fabled region from Tucson, Arizona, to El Paso, Texas, meeting with migrants, border security advocates, and communities ravaged by cross-border crime. He rides with the border patrol and reveals the tragic situation that has evolved along the border. Eichstaedt finds that despite tens of thousands of border agents and the expenditure of billions of dollars, an estimated one million Mexicans and Central Americans continue to cross the border each year. These migrants fill jobs that have become the underpinnings of the U.S. economy. Rather than building more and better barricades, Eichstaedt argues that the United States must reform its immigration and drug laws and acknowledge that costly, counterproductive, and antiquated policies have created deadly circumstances on both sides of the border. Recognizing the truth of Americas long and tortured relations with Mexico must be followed by legitimizing the contributions made by migrants to the American way of life.
Every time you use a cell phone or log on to a computer, you could be contributing to the death toll in the bloodiest, most violent region in the world: the eastern Congo. Rich in conflict minerals”--valuable resources mined in the midst of armed conflict and egregious human rights abuses--this remote and lawless land is home to deposits of gold and diamonds as well as coltan, tin, and tungsten, all critical to cell phones, computers, and other popular electronics.
In Consuming the Congo, veteran journalist and author Peter Eichstaedt goes into these killing fields to find what is behind the bloodshed, hearing the stories of those who live this nightmarish reality. He talks with survivors of villages decimated by war and miners slogging knee-deep in muck, desperately digging up the gold, tin, and coltan on which Western culture depends. While these men work with picks, shovels, and iron bars, marauding militias and renegade army units who control the mines roam the jungles, killing and raping with impunity, taking their profits, and leaving villagers to a life of grueling manual labor, brutality, and disease.
Some five million Congolese have died unnecessarily, the worst loss of human life since World War II, yet the pillaging and bloodletting continue at a frightening pace. Consuming the Congo not only explores the violence suffered by the Congolese but also examines how we, as part of the problem, can become part of the solution.
About the Author
Peter Eichstaedt is a veteran journalist who has reported from locations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Albania, Somalia, the Sudans, Uganda, Kenya, eastern DR Congo, eastern Europe, and the Caucasus. He attended the University of the Americas in Mexico City and lived and worked as a journalist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for more than twenty years. He worked most recently as the Afghanistan country director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Kabul. He is the author of Above the Din of War, Consuming the Congo, Pirate State, First Kill Your Family, and If You Poison Us.