First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army

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9781613748091: First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army
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First Kill Your Family is the only book published in American to reveal the full story behind the rise of Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. After savaging northern Uganda for twenty years and slaughtering thousands and mutilating many more, Kony fled in 2006 to some of the most remote territory in Africa. In a largely inaccessible region bordered by the failed states of South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Congo, Kony and his cult-like army of child killers continue to terrorize local populations. Most recently, they've turning the the wholesale slaughter of elephants in the jungles of northern Congo to fund their army. 

The leader of the rebel army is the rarely seen Joseph Kony, a former witch doctor 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 Lord's Resistance Army consists of children who are abducted from their homes under cover of night. As initiation, the boys are forced to commit atrocities--murdering their parents, friends, and relatives--and the kidnapped girls are forced into lives of sexual slavery and labor.
 
Eichstaedt takes readers into the war-torn villages and refugee camps, talking to former child soldiers, child "brides," and other victims. He examines the cult-like 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 war's foundations and argues that, much like Rwanda's genocide, international intervention is needed to stop Africa's virulent cycle of violence.

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About the Author:

Peter Eichstaedt is the winner of the 2009 Colorado Book Award for First Kill Your Family and the winner of the 2015 International Latino Book Award for The Dangerous Divide. He has reported from locations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Albania, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, eastern Europe, and the Caucasus. His most recent book is Borderland, a thriller about a journalist who sacrifices everything as he tracks the U.S.-Mexico borderlands for the killers of his father and uncovers a cabal of corrupt DEA operatives controlled by a man poised to win the White House. His books include The Dangerous Divide: Peril and Promise Along the US-Mexico Border;  Above the Din of War; Consuming the Congo; Pirate State; and If You Poison Us.

From Publishers Weekly:

Eichstaedt (If You Poison Us) offers a heartfelt if sometimes lopsided look at the consequences of prolonged civil war. Northern Uganda has been under siege by the rebel group the Lords Resistance Army, or LRA, for 20 years, leading to death tolls rivaling those in Darfur, Sudan, which has garnered considerably more media attention. The LRA is known for employing brutal techniques, including mutilating community members who inform on them, kidnapping children to serve as male child soldiers or female brides, sex slaves for rebel soldiers. Interviewing victims of these crimes, as well as perpetrators, government officials and non-governmental actors, Eichstaedt weaves a story of a decimated culture caught between merciless violence and the chaos of refugee camps. The result is a close analysis of this underreported crisis, which has only recently shown signs of abating. However, some of Eichstaedts conclusions seem uninformed at best, including his one-sided look at religious views in Uganda, which prompt his remark, There is no moral center of gravity here, no spiritual compass that one can hold against the horizon to escape the clamor and chaos. (Feb.)
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