Read The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur by Brian Steidle Gretchen Steidle Wallace Online


Former United States Marine Brian Steidle served for six months in Darfur as an unarmed military observer for the African Union. There he witnessed first-hand the ongoing genocide, and documented every day of his experience using email, audio journals, notebook after notebook and nearly 1,000 photographs. Gretchen Steidle Wallace, his sister, who wrote this book with BrianFormer United States Marine Brian Steidle served for six months in Darfur as an unarmed military observer for the African Union. There he witnessed first-hand the ongoing genocide, and documented every day of his experience using email, audio journals, notebook after notebook and nearly 1,000 photographs. Gretchen Steidle Wallace, his sister, who wrote this book with Brian, corresponded with him throughout his time in Darfur. Fired upon, taken hostage, a witness to villages destroyed and people killed, frustrated by his mission's limitations and the international community's reluctance to intervene, Steidle resigned and has since become an advocate for the world to step in and stop this genocide.The Devil Came on Horseback depicts the tragic impact of an Arab government bent on destroying its black African citizens, the maddening complexity of international inaction in response to blatant genocide, and the awkward, yet heroic transformation of a formerMarine turned humanitarian. It is a gripping and moving memoir that bears witness to atrocities we have too long averted our eyes from, and reveals that the actions of just one committed person have the power to change the world....

Title : The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781586484743
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 230 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur Reviews

  • Jon
    2019-05-06 06:10

    "The Devil Came on Horseback" gets two stars for being a first-person account of genocide, told honestly and with the benefit of the military expertise that enabled its author to see through many of the egregious lies presented by the Sudanese government, organizer of Sudan's clandestine exterminations. It also gets a bonus star for being the best book available on Darfur, though this is true largely because, well, it's the only one. And it's a lucky thing, too, because it doesn't earn stars anywhere else. While not small things, the above are insufficient to make either a good book or a solid account of the political, economic, military, and social forces waging war on the Africans of Darfur. The author makes little or no effort to investigate or explain the political machinations at work in Sudan, to document the workings and structure of the Government forces or the Janjaweed militias, to delve into the documents or interview the politicos who might be able to explain the root causes at which Mr. Steidle can only express mystification -- and express it he does, on nearly every page.To make matters worse, "The Devil Came on Horseback" is in desperate need of a good editor. Each page contains whole paragraphs that should have been deleted. Mistaken homonyms (course for coarse, sited for sighted) are speckled throughout the book. Mr. Steidle's personal life is jarringly intertwined with the journal-style vignettes detailing his life as an African Union ceasefire monitor in Darfur. Even the pictures contained within the book could have been better chosen -- of twenty pictures, only two or three go any length toward capturing the magnitude of the atrocities that affected Mr. Steidle (and, on one or two sadly inadequate occasions, the reader) so profoundly.This is a shame, not least because the Darfurian genocide is to date the global community's great failing of the 21st century and deserves vastly more attention than it has thus far received. As well, the book contains several stories that could have been fleshed out to make for a stellar book, and that compensate for much of this editions failings."The Devil Came On Horseback" is clearly firsthand, but it's not in any way clearly written and it raises many more questions than it answers. If you wish to understand genocide, you'll do much better to find a copy of Philip Gourevitch's "We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families." If you're just looking for details about Darfur, you could do worse. Consider watching the Frontline documentary instead.Mr. Steidle did noble work in Darfur and deserves a great deal of credit for going in with eyes open and tape recorder ready, but posterity will look to other authors for primary sources.

  • Judy
    2019-05-12 05:21

    I got a copy of this book because I did an interview with Brian Steidle, co-author, who served as an unarmed miliary observer in Darfur. Till that point, the name "Darfur" was not much more than a bumper sticker cause, though I knew the situation there was dire. Steidle, who co-wrote this book with his sister, Gretchen Steidle Wallace, provides gripping first-hand testimony to the ongoing horrors of the genocide at the hands of the Arab militias in Sudan against the Darfurians, who are also Arab but who are considered "too black." The story also details the failures of the African Union to take any meaningful action, despite copious evidence of the crimes against humanity there. Eventually, after completing his term of service, Steidle returns to the U.S. and becomes, unexpectedly, one of the leading spokespeople on the Darfurian situation.It's a powerful read.

  • Yousif Makram
    2019-04-23 08:32

    This book describes the genocide that was happening in Darfur.I give this book 3 stars for a coupe of reasons. The first reason would be that the author was very precise about the crisis in Dafur. The author told you the most important details in most of the situations. one bad thing about the book is that the author is sometimes biased and describes the enemies as stupid. For example if the good guys do wrong he finds all the reasons that it wasn't their fault. But when the bad guys do wrong he finds every reason to prove that they were wrong.

  • Irene
    2019-05-05 07:21

    It was so frustrating to be there, witness what he saw and not be able to do a thing about it. It made me angry just reading about it. He repeats himself a lot but I understand why. I'm glad he wrote this book to get what he became a witness to out to the people so they may become more aware of THE TRAGIC LOSS OF HUMAN LIVES. After reading this one is unable to say it was anything other than a government sponsored genocide being ignored by the rest of the world.

  • Mike
    2019-05-02 02:30

    The Govt. of Sudan troops are working with the Janjaweed, nomadic muslims, committing genocide against the muslim African farmer communities in Darfur. I think the book does an even better job than the movie describing the horror, red tape, frustration, and absurdities of the situation. The things happening there are frightful knowing the depths of what humanity is capable of.

  • Katie
    2019-05-02 04:12

    This was a hard book to read in that it discusses so much violence towards innocent people, but it is very informative. It is a call to action for all of us who do nothing to end the genocide in Darfur.

  • Zach
    2019-04-26 00:30

    The book provides an excellent first person description of the conflicts in Sudan, both in the Nuba mountains/s. Sudan and the Darfur. The author is most effective in describing the complicity of the government (ex. arming the janjaweed with Russian military hardware, refusing to fuel monitoring flights, constant claims of "rebels/bandits" as creating the need for military retaliation, "those are not my soldiers looting") Steidle's descriptions are especially effective for two reasons, he does not over dramatize the graphic scenes, he knows that with enough details, the reader's imagination is sufficient to begin to see the horror, rather than overly descriptive prose which could just cause a reader to become numb (his intro of the death of a 1yr old girl is especially wrenching). Steidle is also effective in that he brings his own military experience, he is able to explain clearly and concisely why govt. of Sudan claims are often ludicrous. The book has a few short comings. Mainly that Sidel does not provide much background as to the causes of the conflict or the goals of the government in Sudan. I understand that this is not meant to be a political/historical study, rather a first person account, but a little more explanation, rather than Sidel's frequent statement that Darfurians are being attacked because they are "too black". This lack of context/explanation becomes a little more annoying in the last third of the book, where Steidle decribes for the dozenth time how the government of Sudan is complicit or is actively supporting the genocide/and how the intel. community does nothing--the reader is left asking on both accounts why? why? Of course if the author's goal was to get people to learn more, he has been successful as now I am curious to read more.

  • Kathleen Hagen
    2019-05-20 05:35

    The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur, by Grian and Gretchen Steidle A.Downloaded from publisher’s note described this book as follows:The Devil Came on Horseback is an intense, vivid autobiographical report from the heart of violent Darfur and a call to action by a former American Marinewho became a military observer for the African Union. The first extensive on-the-ground account of the genocide in Sudan, it leads us through the tragicimpact of an Arab government bent on destroying its black African citizens and the frustrating complexity of international inaction. At the same time,it is a powerful memoir of one soldier's awakening to conscience and his awkward, heroic transformation from Marine to humanitarian. While bearing witnessto unmentionable atrocities, this compelling story offers evidence that the actions of just one committed person have the power to transform the world.This autobiographical account centers on an American former marine, now military observer for the African Union as they observe, photograph and take account of the atrocities taking place in the sudan. He seems to have been the only one with military experience, so he could more easily tell when scenes of destruction were caused by a defensive battle, or, as in most cases, caused by unprovoked attacks against villages destroying everyone and everything in sight. It was compelling to watch this man, who had been trained to put feelings aside and act and think objectively, find himself in a situation where his emotions could not help but be involved by the horror and incompetence he was seeing. A very disturbing account of another act of genocide that I knew little about.

  • Jen
    2019-05-11 03:28

    I'm torn about rating this book a 3 or a 4. As far as ease of read, it was surely a 3 because of all the abbreviations and okay, let's admit it, my lack of depth of knowledge on the subject. Africa in general is a complicated continent, with it's several different ethnic groups, tribes, religions, expansive culture and geography and climate. Throw into that mix a concentration on one specific region in one specific country where it is hard to follow all the interworkings of several groups that are fighting, who is backing them financially and otherwise and what they somehow get away with by pleading ignorance to a documented incident. The author does a good job of telling things as they are and is open and honest with his reactions to everything he sees, let's just say thank God he provided us with an abbreviation guide and a map of Dafur to constantly refer back to. Because of these two things and the fact that he truly tries to give us as much information as possible about the conflict, is why I could also consider giving this book a 4.Let's just say I'm ready to read some fiction now...

  • Nicole
    2019-05-04 05:34

    I was really looking forward to reading this book so as to receive an honest accounting (and education) of the horrors of Darfur. I wanted to learn about the politics behind the genocide. The players. The purported solution. None of that was offered in this book. First, it was written as though the author wanted it to be an action novel: Sophomoric and cursory explanations of the conflict, but heavy on the scenes where the author is *almost* kidnapped, or *almost* threatened. I felt as though the number of agencies, tribes, governments involved in the conflict (both the good and bad) could have been better explained. Instead, the shorthand was frustrating and difficult to follow.All in all, not recommended. I understand, from a trusted source, that the documentary of the same name is worth the watch. Perhaps this is one of the rare instances where the movie is better than the book?

  • Patty
    2019-05-13 05:35

    It's inspirational to learn about people like Brian and Gretchen Steidle, who invest their time and passion in people who so desperately need it - for no other reason than it's the right thing to do. Steidle is easy to relate to, and I appreciate his style - he did not mince words or spare any details. I got this book at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Someone said, "if you read only one book about genocide in Darfur, this is the book to read." I'm so glad I did. Thanks to Brian Steidle for sharing his experiences - in the book, the photos, and the documentary. His story made an impact and will stay with me for a long time to come.

  • Dillon
    2019-05-06 01:07

    A chronology of the massacres that the author reported to the African Union during a year stay in Darfur. That is pretty much it. He doesn't provide a history of the government, the janjaweed, the SLA etc (in fact the name Al Bashir is never mentioned during the book...), or the issues in Darfur. doesn't provide any history of the complacency of the west, even though he complains, rightfully so, about the west's lack of effort. Overall, it felt like he was going to write a book about no matter how much information he had -- even though the only info he used was his experiences. NO CONTEXT!!

  • Steve Parcell
    2019-05-16 08:36

    What a truly terrifying depressing heartwrenching book about the genocide of ethnic tribes in Darfur. How a government can slaughter thousands of men women AND children to further their means is a tragedy for humanity.The author expresses his frustrations and anger very well. He is a very brave and dedicated man who tried as part of the African Union peacekeeping force to help and save these people. But how we as a planet have allowed this to happen is devastating to me.A thoroughly fascinating yet depressing and horrifying read.

  • Banu Altunbas
    2019-05-16 02:27

    It is interesting to read the early days of Darfur conflict from a soldier who was stationed as a monitor (relatively naive in the international peacekeeping operations, though). I liked the way that the conflict was portrayed as it was unfolding, but it was also clear that he was certainly taking side in his observations against the GoS (and there is nothing wrong with it). I think it's not the easiest story to tell and he is doing pretty well in his explanations. Good reading for the insight to the Darfur conflict's early days.

  • Ray
    2019-05-10 06:19

    The author is a former U.S. marine who served for a while as an independent military observer in Sudan. The book chronicles his witnessing of the genocide taking place in Darfur and the lack of public attention given to the horrors taking place. His frustration in seeing any international pressure on the government of Sudan, or in raising people's consciousness to the atrocities is apparent. Reading the book certainly makes you appreciate life in the West.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-01 06:11

    Written about the genocide and atrocities going on in Darfur, this book outlinies them in some detail. It is a confusing subject - with many rebels and tribes and different factions of the Sudanese government, it's often hard to follow who is fighting who and where exactly all this is taking place. However, it is staggering and compelling to realize this is going on in our generation and we as an international community will have to answer for it at some point.

  • Dan
    2019-04-29 07:35

    This is a hard book to read, dealing as it does with genocide. I almost didn't make it past the opening pages, though to be honest, I was reading it as a new father and the opening "vignette" dealt with violence against a child. I don't know that I can be objective enough to truly judge the writing, but I believe it is an important story to tell and be heard so that as many as possible are aware and can be sure what happened is not forgotten.

  • Dionne
    2019-05-01 07:29

    I have done my research on the genocide on Darfur, but this really gives an in-depth look at the atrocities that happened over there. More should have been done and should be done even now. I will never be able to comprehend how some are able to commit such horrifying human rights abuses against the most innocent of society. And how others are able to sit by when evil is committed and do nothing.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-24 06:16

    It's clear that Brian Steidle is more schooled in military operations than in writing, but given that, this memoir is pretty compelling. I could definitely feel his frustration at not being able to do more to prevent the genocide he was instructed to witness. The world's indifference to what is going on in Darfur continues to alarm is it that the U.S. is taking no significant action to protect the people of Darfur?

  • Erik
    2019-05-05 04:09

    It is hard to read about genocide, and the killing is not over when the book ends, but the story is rather heroic in an everyman sort of way. It is a story you feel has to be told, despite the grimness. Darfur seemed like such a rumor when it was happening due to the meek media coverage and inaction on the world's part, but this book made it real and stirred a passion for justice.

  • Jodi Robinson
    2019-05-08 01:07

    author spends a year in Sudan and tells us his stories when no one else will speak up about it, basically risking his life doing so. Although sometimes slow, a great behind the scenes take on the conflict. Very disturbing (to be expected) and frustrating knowing that this is going on and the international community is doing nothing to stop it.

  • Jenny
    2019-05-21 03:10

    I think this was a great intro into what is happening in Darfur. For the most part I didn't know about what was happening there. The author is a military man, so he often saw the conflict through the lens of military strategy-which wasn't as interesting to me as maybe some more human interest stuff. But an informative, quick read overall.

  • Bobby
    2019-05-19 04:34

    Very good book on the genocide in Darfur. It is remarkable what the government of Sudan-in conjunction with the Janjaweed-is doing to its own people. I now have a greater appreciation-and interest-in what is occurring in that part of the world. How can a nation continue to let this genocide of a peoples continue? I highly recommend you read this book.

  • Regi
    2019-05-05 05:37

    Heartbreaking. It is really hard to critique the writing of a book that opened my eyes to so much going on in the world. This was my first book on Darfur, and not my last. There is so much heartbreak in the book, but it compels you to follow the author and not turn your eyes away from the misery and his life changes. The book changed me.

  • M
    2019-04-30 04:35

    Not what I was expecting, though it was an interesting read. I haven't finished it and don't know whether I will. I guess after reading so much about Darfur, I was wary of Steidle's simplistic account of things.

  • Leah Coffin
    2019-05-04 04:19

    I could have done without the endless reiteration of "awed Sudanese people meet their first whitey" scenes. That said, this book is important for the witness it bears to the horrors committed in Darfur.

  • ariana
    2019-04-25 04:19

    Great book and documentary based on the experiences of an ex-marine living in Sudan, witnessing the genocide in Darfur, and his attempts (with no avail) to push the U.S. government and govt's of the world to stop the killings ordered by the Sudanese government.

  • Kristienne
    2019-04-28 04:24

    He's certainly no writer, so don't expect a masterpiece. But, expect a searing memoir of a former marine's experience in Darfur. If you do not know of the massacre (humanitarian crisis terminology is NOT strong enough) happening in this region, this is a great introduction.

  • Katie
    2019-05-10 08:08

    this book opens up your eyes to the violence in Darfur, Sudan as told by someone who witnessed it. i had to do a project on Darfur and this book was a big help. WARNING: IF YOU HAVE A HEART YOU WILL CRY!!!!

  • Katherine
    2019-05-11 05:29

    Very informative, first hand account of the atrosities that unfolded in Darfur. I found the book not very well written and a little drawn out. Overall, a great book for anyone wishing to learn more about the genocide in Darfur.