• We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

  • Stories from Rwanda
  • By: Philip Gourevitch
  • Narrated by: Philip Gourevitch
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Categories: History, Africa
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity. 

This remarkable audiobook chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech - largely by machete - it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in 100 days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title.  

With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's "genocidal logic" in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun Central Africa.  

Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity.

©1998 Philip Gourevitch (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Things you'd never imagine

There are many, many gruesome details I can't repeat, things generally outside people's awareness of the genocide. Twenty minutes into this book and I could neither turn away nor even think the same way about people in general. The author, Philip Gourevitch, gave a remarkable performance; his articulation is stellar. I think he unfortunately used a cheap microphone, yet the narration makes it strong overall. You can feel the author's emotions as he uncovers what occurred and how it affected all who remain: survivors, perpetrators and the rest. I suppose this is the most cited book on the genocide to date, yet the story is far too big to have any one definitive book. I feel certain some of the best books on the subject haven't been written yet. Yes, I will want to go deeper into this subject with other books, hopefully some new ones that take us to the present. I want to know whether race identification is fundamentally evil and what if anything can ever be done about it.

2 people found this helpful

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A startling, humbling must-read.

This book is both horrifying and magnificent, nauseating and introspection inducing. It shouldn't feel timely. It feels timely anyway. I hope everyone reads this book, and then reads it again. The author keeps the book lean, with enough detail to explain everything but not so much as to overwhelm a reader, and I have a sinking feeling that he came across many more grotesque details than he decided to include. I'll be buying this in print, and purchasing more for friends.

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Unimaginable

Philip Gourevitch has written a most remarkable book, award worthy in every way. The story of the Rwandan genocide is so shocking it's nearly impossible to take it in. Processing the horror isn't possible. He breaks it down, and with such intimate precision, takes the reader there. But it's still so shocking as to not seem real. It's as horrifying as any Holocaust rendition. And yet it's not at the forefront of any discussion on genocide. Gourevitch gives no one a pass, no government or any body. Truly it's a very unbiased work. He sticks to the genocide and rarely if every veers off course. His passion is palpable. What an astounding work.

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Sad to listen.

The world turned its back on Rwanda. It was wrong, and could have been prevented.

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Enthralling and Heart-Wrenching

An incredible ethnography of the lives of those who lived through one of the world's most shocking tragedies. I could barely stop listening even when I felt like I should. Some of the stories are unbelievable, but I commend the author for taking us all the way there. The narration and writing is superb!