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Blood Papa

Rwanda's New Generation

Jean Hatzfeld; Translated from the French by Joshua David Jordan


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ISBN10: 1250215080
ISBN13: 9781250215086

Trade Paperback

240 Pages



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In Rwanda from April to June 1994, 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by their Hutu neighbors in the largest and swiftest genocide since World War II. In his previous books, Jean Hatzfeld has documented the lives of the killers and victims, but after twenty years he has found that the enormity of understanding doesn’t stop with one generation. In Blood Papa, Hatzfeld returns to the hills and marshes of Nyamata to ask what has become of the children—those who never saw the machetes yet have grown up in the shadow of tragedy.

Fabrice, Sandra, Jean-Pierre, and others share the genocide as a common inheritance. Some have known only their parents’ silence and lies, enduring the harassment of classmates or the stigma of a father jailed for unspeakable crimes. Others have enjoyed a loving home and the sympathies offered to survivor children, but do so without parents or an extended family.

The young Rwandans in Blood Papa see each other in the neighborhood—they dance and gossip, frequent the same cafés, and, like teenagers everywhere, love sports, music, and fashion; they surf the Web and dream of marriage. Yet Hutu and Tutsi children rarely speak of the ghosts that haunt their lives. Here their moving first-person accounts combined with Hatzfeld’s arresting chronicles of everyday life form a testament to survival in a country devastated by the terrible crimes and trauma of the past.


Praise for Blood Papa

"In its descriptions of everyday life, the book makes clear that the genocide and the prosecution of Hutu participants shape Rwandan society to this day. Yet the youthful voices of Hatzfeld’s subjects, preoccupied with romance, academic ambition, and idealism, also deliver some grounds for optimism."—Nicolas van de Walle, Foreign Affairs

Hatzfeld’s work is of great importance to understanding the Rwandan tragedy—and to the study of genocide generally."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


Once the bushes and branches rise high enough to scrape the vehicle’s top, we are driving in a green penumbra, stealing through what resembles a lush underground passage. But this is no adventure. We have already...

About the author

Jean Hatzfeld; Translated from the French by Joshua David Jordan

Jean Hatzfeld, an international reporter for Libération since 1973, is the author of many books, including Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak (FSG, 2005) and The Antelopes Strategy (FSG, 2010). He lives in Paris.

Joshua Jordan is a lecturer of French language and literature at Fordham and Columbia University and received the French Voices Award in 2016 for his translation of Aberrant Movements: The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze by David Lapoujade.

© Patrice Normand/Opale/Leemage

Jean Hatzfeld