A Time for Machetes

A Time for Machetes

4.02 (1,571 ratings by Goodreads)
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In April-May 1994, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred by their Hutu fellow citizens - about 10,000 a day, mostly being hacked to death by machete. Jean Hatzfeld reports on the results of his interviews with nine of the Hutu killers, all of whom are now in prison, some awaiting execution. Hatzfeld elicits extraordinary testimony from these men about the genocide they perpetrated. Each describes what it was like the first time he killed someone, what he felt like when he killed a mother and child, and how he reacted when he killed a cordial acquaintance. Each reflects on his feelings of moral responsibility, his guilt, remorse, or indifference to the crimes. Especially since the Holocaust, it has been conventional to presume that only depraved and monstrous evil incarnate could perpetrate such crimes, but it may be, Hatzfeld suggests, that such actions are within the realm of ordinary human conduct. To read this disturbing, enlightening and very brave book is to consider in a new light the foundation of human morality and ethics.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 134 x 215 x 19mm | 280g
  • Profile Books Ltd
  • Serpent's Tail
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Main
  • 1852428821
  • 9781852428822
  • 2,604,151

Review quote

?Hatzfeld has harvested a unique set of avowals that forces us to confront the unthinkable, the unimaginable... To make the effort to understand what happened in Rwanda is a painful task that we have no right to shirk - part of being a moral adult. Everyone should read Hatzfeld's book.? Susan Sontag, from her Preface ?Hatzfeld's harrowing documentation of the voices of Rwandan killers reminds us once again how perfectly human it can be to be perfectly inhumane? Philip Gourevitch ?Only Primo Levi gets closer to what genocide means? Venue ?Weaving in concise background detail to the massacre his writing never strays into cheap polemic. The matter-of-fact detail of the slayings threaded into the cadence and minutiae of a normal day in the life of the killers is sufficient to empower this chilling reportage.? The Glasgow Herald ?Chilling work of oral history... The shock of personal understanding is what makes A Time for Machetes important, bringing home the rude realisation that these people did not start out as evil ideologues or trained killing machines. They were simply told to go and kill - and they did? Irish Independent
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About Jean Hatzfeld

Born in Madagascar in1949, novelist and journalist Jean Hatzfeld worked for several years as foreign correspondent for French daily newspaper Liberation, covering both the conflict in Yugoslavia, where he was wounded by machine-gun fire in 1992, and the Rwandan genocide. He lives in Paris. 45
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Rating details

1,571 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 34% (534)
4 41% (639)
3 20% (321)
2 4% (62)
1 1% (15)
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