On an average night in northern Uganda, tens of thousands of children head for the city centers to avoid capture by the Lord';s Resistance Army (LRA). They find refuge on the floors of aid agencies or in the streets. In recent years, the civil society was almost completely destroyed by the LRA, itself made up almost entirely of kidnapped children. Piecing together what has been broken is proving to be a nearly impossible task. Polish journalist Wojciech Jagielski inserts himself into this hellish landscape and finds a way to speak of these children and their wounded world. In The Night Wanderers, Jagielski shows his readers the horror of children who have been abducted from their homes and forced to kill their own family members; children who, even after they have escaped the LRA, carry the weight of their own acts of murder on their young shoulders. Jagielski portrays Uganda through their eyes as well as his own. Carrying on the rich tradition of Ryszard Kapu?ci?ski, Jagielski digs himself deep into the Ugandan landscape and emerges with a compassionate, incisive, painful, magisterial account of a world that is just starting to pull itself out of the horrors of war. The original Polish edition of The Night Wanderers is shortlisted for the Nike Prize, considered to be the most prestigious literary award in Poland.
Each night during the civil war in northern Uganda, tens of thousands of children would head for the city centres, hoping to avoid capture by the Lord's Resistance Army - the infamous army led by Joseph Kony, itself composed largely of kidnapped children. The Night Wanderers masterfully evokes the post-war landscape of a country ravaged by decades of violence. It is a country of children who have been abducted from their homes and forced to kill their own family members; children who, even after they have escaped the LRA, carry the weight of their own acts of murder on their young shoulders. Through their stories, the author weaves the wider history of a beautiful but blood-soaked nation, from the end of British overrule through Idi Amin's brutal dictatorship up to today's precarious peace.
In Towers of Stone, award-winning Polish reporter Wojciech Jagielski brings into focus the tragedy of Chechnya, its inhabitants, and the war being waged there by a handful of desperate warriors against a powerful and much more numerous army. Jagielski's narrative is told through the lens of two men: Shamil Basaev, a hero to some, a dangerous warlord to others; and Aslan Maskhadov, a calculating and sober politician, who is viewed as a providential savior by some of his compatriots and a cowardly opportunist by the rest. Caught up in a war to which they owe everything and without which they could not live, the two fighters face enemy forces--and one another--in protean conflicts that prove hard to quell. Viewing the two men's personal story as a microcosm of the conflict threatening to devour a land and its peoples, Jagielski distills the bitter history of the region with forceful clarity.
In the great modern narrative nonfiction tradition of Ryszard Kapuściński, Burning the Grass is a literary masterpiece of true crime based on the April 2010 murder of Eugène Terre'Blanche, firebrand leader of the far-right AWB (Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging--the Afrikaner Resistance Movement), who espoused white Afrikaner rule even as it was ending in South Africa. It tells a universal story of small-town life where every face is familiar and people's immediate experience is hardly touched by national trends or ideologies. Jagielski intrudes on the intimate lives of the inhabitants to give us writing that jumps off the page for its immediacy, scope, and ambition. Never before has there been a book about South Africa like this.
A white Afrikaner runs the Blue Crane Tavern on the outskirts of Ventersdorp that caters to blacks, a failing enterprise that he clings to obstinately. A black African is a local politician from the township of Tshing who commutes to the Town Hall in the white town as an advisor to the local government, but who is never asked for his advice. Everyone knows Eugène Terre'Blanche--for his cruelty to the workers on his farm as much as for his leadership of the AWB. The Boardman family--outcasts for being of British descent in an Afrikaner world--are at the center of Jagielski's story, a family that is ostracized almost equally by their black and white neighbors.
Like Janet Malcolm in her true-crime narratives, or even Truman Capote in In Cold Blood, Jagielski uses death to enter into life, keeping our faces close enough to the pulse of it to let us smell the blood and know it as our own.
From the Trade Paperback edition.