1st Edition

Me Against My Brother At War in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda

By Scott Peterson Copyright 2000

    As a foreign correspondent, Scott Peterson witnessed firsthand Somalia's descent into war and its battle against US troops, the spiritual degeneration of Sudan's Holy War, and one of the most horrific events of the last half century: the genocide in Rwanda.  In Me Against My Brother, he brings these events together for the first time to record a collapse that has had an impact far beyond African borders.In Somalia, Peterson tells of harrowing experiences of clan conflict, guns and starvation.  He met with warlords, observed death intimately and nearly lost his own life to a Somali mob. From ground level, he documents how the US-UN relief mission devolved into all out war - one that for America has proven to be the most formative post-Cold War debacle.  In Sudan, he journeys where few correspondents have ever been, on both sides of that religious front line, to find that outside "relief" has only prolonged war.  In Rwanda, his first-person experience of the genocide and well-documented analysis provide rare insight into this human tragedy.Filled with the dust, sweat and powerful detail of real-life, Me Against My Brother graphically illustrates how preventive action and a better understanding of Africa - especially by the US - could have averted much suffering. Also includes a 16-page color insert.

    I: Somalia; One: Laws of War; Two: “City of the Insane”; Three: A Land Forgotten by God; Four: “Club Skinny—Dancers Wanted”; Five: “Camp of the Murderers”; Six: The Fugitive; Seven: Bloody Monday; Eight: Mission Impossible; Nine: Back to Zero; II: Sudan; Ten: Divided by God; Eleven: War of the Cross; Twelve: The False Messiah; Thirteen: Darwin Deceived; III: Rwanda; Fourteen: A Holocaust; Fifteen: “Dreadful Note of Preparation”; Sixteen: Genocide Denied; Seventeen: In Perpetuum


    Scott Peterson is currently the Middle East correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, and is based in Amman, Jordan. He covered Africa for The Daily Telegraph of London and his photography regularly appears in Time, Newsweek, Life, The New York Times Magazine, and Harper's.

    "Peterson shows very clearly how and why the Somalia expedition went wrong -- this is as succinct and gripping an account as I've read of the debacle. It is a classic portrait of an army in its pomp -- ignorant, arrogant, and ripe for the humiliation that it suffered." -- Alex Renton, Evening Standard
    "Scott Peterson's eyewitness accounts of the wars in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda highlight not only the plight of the innocent victims, but his own attempts to live with the 'sickly sweet smell of death'. This relentless read is also a diatribe against those who perpetuate was, but sense of hope as he looks to a future that may, some day, bring peace." -- Shaunagh O'Connor Herald-Sun:Australia
    "In the 19902s, Africa was 'the laboratory of war' that would, in Scott Peterson's words, 'renew our understanding of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: war, famine, pestilence and death'. Reporting and takin gphotos for the international press, as the unnerving study shows, Peterson 'never once wrote a story about democracy' in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda, but witnessed genocide in which'the killing was allowed to rage unchecked, then to burn itself out', while the world watched impotently." -- Tony Maniaty, The Weekend Australian Review
    "The appalling tragedies of Somalia, the Sudan, and Rwanda during the 1990s told with breath-stealing intensity by war correspondent Peterson...Just as Peterson intends, these exposures to war in Africa 'tear at your heart, and make you angry, very angry'." -- Kirkus Reviews
    "In chapter after chapter, the reader is drawn into the text, vicariously bearing witness to manifold crimes against humanity and also learning about the complexities of seeking solutions...poignant portraits of suffering...A terribly important book."
    "In Me Against My Brother Peterson reports from the killing fields of Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda. It is gripping stuff...This is a disturbing book. It should be required reading for all those charged with crafting America's African policy."
    "While Clinton and U.S. policyholders struggle to try to find ways to make Africa relevant to Americans, Peterson goes for the jugular. In dissecting how poverty, hunger, and vengeance plunged Africa's people into the depths of hell, he has also exposed the potential vileness in all of humanity. Perhaps understanding what led to clan warfare in Somalia, religious war in Sudan, and genocide in Rwanda will frighten us into making sure brothers never turn against brothers in our own homes." -- The Boston Book Review
    "These are tales of war and war crimes, of food shortages and international relief efforts, of devastating terror and astonishing resilience. Peterson thoughtfully assesses the consequences of UN intervention in Somalia (and failure to intervene in Sudan and Rwanda); he offers nuanced analysis of the argument that international food aid has extended war in the Sudan, and suggests Western nations alternate between arrogance and indifference in their dealings with Africa. A worthy new contribution to the study of disruption in the developing world as a counterweight to dreams of a new world order." -- Booklist
    "It has the immediacy and vividness of eyewitness testimony...His reporting is visceral and close to the ground...Peterson neither flinches from the appalling bloodshed nor closes his mind to the many scenes of generosity and honorable conduct...With tribal, ethnic and religious conflicts now so pervasive, the lessons Peterson communicates about Africa should claim the attention of everyone trying to make sense of today's world." -- Publishers Weekly
    "The appalling tragedies of Somalia, the Sudan and Rwanda during the 1990s told with breath-stealing intensity by war correspondent Peterson. . . . Just as Peterson intends, these exposures to war in Africa 'tear at your heart, and make you angry, very angry'." -- Kirkus Reviews
    "A gripping piece of reportage by a courageous American journalist about Africa's most horrific episodes of the 1990s. Peterson takes his readers on a frightening journey to the very edge of human tragedy." -- Karl Maier, author of Into the House of the Ancestors: Inside the New Africa
    "Peterson has brought us where UN soldiers, foreign diplomats and fellow journalists rarely dare to travel. He brings us wrenching tales of good intentions gone awry, bad intentions paying grisly dividends, and far too little attention being paid to the human cost of conflict in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda. Peterson's book should heighten political and public resolve to get our Africa policy right, as he shows we could hardly get it more wrong." -- Samantha Power, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
    "Scott Peterson was among the most intrepid, energetic journalists in Africa during the 1990s. In Me Against My Brother, he takes us on a terrifying journey across the continent during a time when humanity's darkest impulses seemed to overwhelm all reason and compassion. A masterwork of on-the-ground reportage and analytic clarity." -- Josh Hammer, author of Chosen By God: A Brother's Journey
    "A decade of extraordinary reporting informs these accounts of war in three countries in Africa. Peterson has traveled as deeply into the darkness of these conflicts as any journalist alive, and while the stories he returns with are both terrifying and enlightening, they retain a generous, hard-earned vision of another, more humane African future." -- William Finnegan, author of Crossing the Line: A Year in the Land of Apartheid and A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique
    "Scott Peterson has given us a sad, compelling, and depressingly accurate picture of African countries torn apart by senseless civil wars. In this beautifully written account, Peterson shows us what we need to see to understand Africa's current plight. This is first-rate reportage from the front lines of some of the continent's most persistent conflicts." -- Keith B. Richburg, author of Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa
    "A relentless account of local, civil, and ethnocidal war in Africa and an angry protest against the way that war's horror is compounded by cynical and ignorant bureaucrats and politicians who have not yet learned the consequences of unwise aid and intervention." -- Peter Matthiessen, author of the novel Bone by Bone
    "Scott Peterson's vivid, compelling story of bloody conflicts in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda underlines both the folly of war and the horrible consequences for those who are caught in its path. This is a disturbing book, as one would expect from an account in which death, too often of the innocent, is a constant. But also disturbing are the heartlessness of Somali, Sudanese and Rwandan warlords and the indifference of Western publics to the plight of Africans. The author's sometimes controversial observations about the actions and inactions of United Nations and American officials merit careful consideration." -- Ambassador Don Petterson (Somalia, 1978-1982; Tanzania, 1986-1989; Sudan, 1992-1995)
    "The resulting analysis superbly exposes war criminals in the three countries but also assigns guilt internationally:Presidents Clinton and Mitterland; US Ambassador Undersecretary-General Annan. Good print, instructive maps, well-captioned photos, helpful index. A book for all humanity." -- E.E. Beauregard, emeritus, Univeristy of Dayton