Title: First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army
Author: Peter Eichstaedt
Pages: 336 pages (paperback)
Brief Summary – This book follows an American journalist through Northern Uganda. He is looking at the issues related to Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army – including how it affects the local communities, a look at the refugee camps, the impact on children taken as “soldiers” and “brides”, and what’s being done to stop the problems.
Detailed Summary – I’m not going to go through each chapter or the history, because it’s all there in the book. However, what I really did appreciate was all the real stories from different people. There were stories about child soldiers who returned to their communities and were shunned. There are stories about the communities that have been displaced to live in refugee camps, where there lives may be much worse than ever before – where they can only leave the camps during daylight to walk for hours and attempt to grow enough food in small patches to feed their family – making sure to return before sunset, There were stories about the war “brides” who are currently raising the babies of their captors. It included stories of international pressure, complex international borders, corrupt politics and horrible atrocities. This book is not for the light-of-heart but does do a good job in trying to explaining all aspects of the story.
Final Thoughts – A very emotional book, but very detailed as well. Great read if you want a history of the issues related to the LRA in Northern Uganda, as well as what the current (2009) situation is on the ground.