Drink the Bitter Root: A Search for Justice and Healing in Africa

Drink the Bitter Root: A Search for Justice and Healing in Africa

by Gary Geddes
     
 

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Drink the Bitter Root is an international story about the ethical and environmental footprint world nations are leaving in Africa in their determined efforts to destabilize and loot the continent. In the spirit of Robert Kaplan and Samantha Power, Gary Geddes sets out in search of justice, healing and reconciliation. He begins his journey at the

Overview

Drink the Bitter Root is an international story about the ethical and environmental footprint world nations are leaving in Africa in their determined efforts to destabilize and loot the continent. In the spirit of Robert Kaplan and Samantha Power, Gary Geddes sets out in search of justice, healing and reconciliation. He begins his journey at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, then travels to Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland, crossing Lake Victoria and the Great Rift Valley, where human life began.

Geddes’s quest takes the form of an intimate personal travelogue. Although he confronts the dark realities of abduction, rape, mutilation and murder, drawing on painful encounters, interviews and adventures that occur along the way, Geddes also brings back amazing stories of survival and unexpected moments of grace. His poet's eye and self-deprecating humor draw us ever more deeply into the lives of some amazing Africans, while never forgetting the complicity we all feel in the face of tragic events unfolding there.

In the words of author and Africanist Ian Smillie, Drink the Bitter Root is not only poignant, literate and funny, but also “a deeply textured journey without maps into the unexplored rifts of sub-Saharan Africa, the human experience, and the psyche. It’s also the masterful handling of a full palette.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his latest travelogue, Geddes (Sailing Home) takes us on a dizzying spin through five sub-Saharan countries, asking why the international justice system and foreign aid have failed to bring peace to the region. Beginning in Rwanda and zigzagging through nearby Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Somaliland, Geddes encounters similar problems: poverty, sexual violence, genocide, kidnappings, and government oppression. In his search for answers, Geddes attends a hearing by the Gacaca (a traditional Rwandan court), meets an official from the International Criminal Court, and interviews child soldiers and rape and mutilation survivors, trying to probe the gap between the noble aims of international justice and aid organizations and the harsh reality of corrupt regimes, interminable bureaucracy, and foreign corporations exploiting ethnic conflicts in their resource grab. Although the book provides an overview of the region’s morass of internecine feuds, it lacks the historical context that would allow a real sense of the conflicts to emerge. Still, when Geddes reflects on “awkwardly elegant” camels crossing a desert road, a church piled with bodies, or a pair of AK-47s lying barrels crossed on the sand as their owners splash in the surf, these moments glow with the stark beauty and ugliness of rich, though poverty-stricken, lands. Agent: Don Sedgwick, Transatlantic Literary Agency (Canada). (Jan.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Drink the Bitter Root

"[Geddes chronicles] incredible stories of survival of genocide. But he also turns a critical eye toward the lingering shadow of colonialism and the Cold War as well as the Western government and commercial interests that continue to motivate the kind of unrest that has led to ethnic violence . . . Geddes is unsparing in his look at human weakness, including his own, in a search for redemption in the face of violence." —Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619020313
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
01/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
550 KB

Meet the Author

Gary Geddes is an internationally-acclaimed travel writer who has been compared to Bruce Chatwin, Michael Ondaatje and William Least Heat-Moon. He has written and edited over thirty-five books, which have sold close to half a million copies in seven languages, and won a dozen literary awards. His memoir Sailing Home (2011) and his travelogue Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things were both Canadian bestsellers.

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