The Bone Woman : A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo

by Clea Koff | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0812968859 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 3/4/2006
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Saturday, March 04, 2006
This book caught my eye at Chapters.

From Chapters:
Published ten years after the genocide in Rwanda, The Bone Woman is a riveting, deeply personal account by a forensic anthropologist sent on seven missions by the UN War Crimes Tribunal.

To prosecute charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, the UN needs proof that the bodies found are those of non-combatants. This means answering two questions: who the victims were, and how they were killed. The only people who can answer both these questions are forensic anthropologists.

Before being sent to Rwanda in 1996, Clea Koff was a twenty-three-year-old graduate student studying prehistoric skeletons in the safe confines of Berkeley, California. Over the next four years, her gruelling investigation into events that shocked the world transformed her from a wide-eyed student into a soul-weary veteran -- and a wise and deeply thoughtful woman. Her unflinching account of those years -- what she saw, how it affected her, who went to trial based on evidence she collected -- makes for an unforgettable read, alternately riveting, frightening and miraculously hopeful. Readers join Koff as she comes face to face with the human meaning of genocide: exhuming almost five hundred bodies from a single grave in Kibuye, Rwanda; uncovering the wire-bound wrists of Srebrenica massacre victims in Bosnia; disinterring the body of a young man in southwestern Kosovo as his grandfather looks on in silence. As she recounts the fascinating details of her work, the hellish working conditions, the bureaucracy of the UN, and the heartbreak of survivors, Koff imbues her story with an immense sense of hope, humanity and justice.

Reserved for yourotherleft from a non-fiction swap.

Journal Entry 2 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Monday, November 06, 2006
I thought that this book was extremely interesting. The author is a forensic anthropologist. She describes her work in Rwanda, Bosnia and Croatia. Sometimes it is extremely gory and you can feel the death. From Africa to Europe mass murder is prosecuted by the UN Tribunal. Koff describes the process of gathering the evidence in order to catch these madmen. It is only a job but at times she displays the emotional side of the work. For every body in that mass grave there is or was a relative wanting to hear about the person's disappearance.

I think the most introspective part of the book happened in the Afterword where she hypothesized that there are no ethnic wars only economic wars.

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, November 12, 2006
This book is back with me and I've started to read it (finally!)

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Friday, December 01, 2006
This book took me a while to get through but it was very interesting. Koff tells about her journies to Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo where she helps dig up mass graves and process the bodies (and their clothes). Not only did I learn a lot about human anatomy, but also about the history of these nations and the horrible things that happened there. It's pretty depressing, but really something that should be read as a reminder of how bad things can get when government (and the general population) gets corrupted by the need for power.
What I am truly amazed at is how all these people can work on these sites without continuously breaking down. They sometimes deal directly with the families of the dead, and are obviously dealing with the dead themselves. Koff talks about sometimes going home and crying, or having nightmares. It seemed like there is very little support system for these workers in terms of professional help. It is about 5+ years old, so things could have changed by now, and I hope they have.
At the end, Koff lists all of the people that have been charged on crimes based on the graves she helped dig up. I would imagine that would be very satisfying, knowing that these people are not going un-punished. It's just a shame that there was an act that needed to be punished in the first place.

Reserved for yourotherleft.

Journal Entry 5 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Sent today to YourOtherLeft from a non fiction swap.


Journal Entry 6 by yourotherleft from Danville, Pennsylvania USA on Saturday, December 23, 2006
This came in the mail today. Looks very interesting! Thanks!

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