An Oral and Documentary History of the Darfur Genocide
by Samuel Totten
December 2010, 556pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35235-5
$115, £86, 96€, A165
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35236-2
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The atrocities in Darfur are a human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands have died and millions have fled their homes. In mid-2008, the International Criminal Court filed ten charges of war crimes, three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, and two charges of murder against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Al-Bashir is still in office, and the violence against black Africans in Darfur continues.

An unquestionably important, oral-history collection presents the first-person stories of survivors of the genocide in Darfur, a region in western Sudan where the Sudanese government is accused of abetting the murder of an estimated 400,000 persons.

The genocide in Darfur erupted in 2003 but its seeds had been planted years before. Following years of attacks on their villages, livelihoods and persons, as well as political and economic disenfranchisement by the Government of Sudan, the black Africans of Darfur rebelled. In retaliation, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had his troops and an Arab militia, the Janjaweed, carry out a scorched earth policy that resulted the in killing of noncombatants, men, women, children, and the elderly. In the process, females of all ages were raped, hundreds of villages were burned to the ground, and over two million people were forced from their villages. By mid-2007, estimates of those who had been killed or had perished due lack of water, starvation, or injuries, ranged from a low of 250,000 to over 400,000.

This two volume set presents the harrowing stories of survivors of this genocide, and includes a collection of official documents delineating the international community’s reaction to the crisis in Darfur. The author has interviewed two dozen Sudanese refugees who fled their homes and made their way to the neighboring country of Chad, recording their experiences prior to the war, during various genocide events, and following their escape. Those interviews comprise Volume One. In Volume Two, the author has selected critical documents issued by the United States, the United Nations, and the International Criminal Court, each of which presents critical insights into how the international community viewed the scorched earth policy and atrocities and how it reached to such. An Oral and Documentary History of the Darfur Genocide is an invaluable record of how easily a powerful government can turn against a country’s weaker minorities.

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Samuel Totten is professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. He served as one of the 24 investigators with the U.S. State Department's Darfur Atrocities Documentation Project in Chad during the summer of 2004. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including the Greenwood Press titles Dictionary of Genocide (2007) and First-Person Accounts of Genocidal Acts Committed in the Twentieth Century (1991). He is also the coeditor of Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal.

Reviews

"Its unfailing objectivity and rich documentation make it a landmark subject reference."—Library Journal, May 1, 2011

For this impressive work, genocide scholar Totten conducted interviews with refugees and painstakingly researched the nearly decade-old genocide in Darfur as a means of training a historical lens on the topic from the viewpoint of the people living it. . . . This collection makes a good, convenient primer on the topic of the genocide in Darfur."—Choice, June 1, 2011

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