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Wizard of the Nile, The
The Hunt for Africa’s Most Wanted
Matthew Green

published 2009 • 6" x 9" • 333 pages • black & white photos
ISBN 9781566567367 • paperback • $20.00

The civil war in Uganda has bled on for over two decades, spilling over into Sudan and the Congo and drawing only occasional interest from the West. The rebel insurgency in the north is led by "the wizard of the Nile," Joseph Kony, whose Lord's Resistance Army is infamous both for its wish to rule Uganda according to the Ten Commandments and its unrelenting brutality.

Matthew Green journeys up the White Nile in order to answer what seemed at first a simple question: "How could one maniac leading an army of abducted children hold half a country hostage for twenty years?" His quest is complicated not only by his plunge into a war zone to find the notoriously elusive Kony, but because the conflict itself continues to resist his, and our, attempts to understand it. He meets the victims maimed or raped by Kony's soldiers; the soldiers themselves, who were first children, victims of abduction; the refugees living in poverty and fear in overcrowded camps; the foreigners working to bring peace; and the political leaders who have their own reasons for preferring war to peace.

Green is an invaluable guide to this forgotten conflict, providing honest, intelligent insight into suffering too little understood and too long ignored.

Matthew Green speaks fluent Swahili, studied African politics at university, and has spent four years on the ground in East Africa as a reporter for Reuters. He is now the West Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. This is his first book.


Media Reviews

"Vivid...A searching work of investigative, on-the-ground reporting from the front lines of a long-roiling conflict in the heart of Africa... Essential for anyone interested in understanding the politics of modern Africa."
—Kirkus Reviews

"'The Wizard of the Nile' covers a sensitive and terrifying topic that for too long has gone unnoticed.  Matthew Green explores the topic without becoming patronizing or falling back on clichés about Kony and the LRA.  Written with empathy but also a reporter’s objectivity, Green captures what the average people of northern Uganda are thinking about the situation. He explains how the problems that arise from the unfortunate circumstances are important not because they involve a lone madman, but because they affect people who have lost their children and their ability to maintain a normal life.  Matthew Green’s book provides much needed insight into the origins of this tragedy and hope for a positive solution."
—Harvard Book Review

“In this gripping book, Green (West Africa correspondent, Financial Times) describes his quest to locate and interview Joseph Kony, the elusive leader of the northern Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). After years of filing stories about the LRA out of the Reuters Nairobi office, Green wanted to know how "one maniac could hold half a country hostage for twenty years." Though Kony's LRA has indeed been brutalizing northern Uganda for decades, the struggle has rarely received much attention from the West. Green's lucid, illuminating book describes the West's interest in believing in a stable post-Amin Uganda in a part of the world plunged into chaos by conflicts in neighboring Sudan, Congo, and Rwanda. With its brisk pacing emanating from the central narrative of Green's journey up and down the Nile, the work manages to be a page-turner while exploring the political history of the country. In the end, Green's story provides a thoughtful and evenhanded exploration of a conflict that is all too often sensationalized, misunderstood, or ignored...highly recommended for all public libraries.”
—Library Journal

"The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted" is a look at the fighting force of the LRS, the Lord's Resistance Army, a force that is notorious for battling the Ugandan government for decades on end in order to bring the country under their control, in the name of Christianity. Most American Christians would condemn their tactics as un-Christian - such as employing child soldiers. With a special focus on the LRS's leader, Jospeh Kony, "The Wizard of the Nile" is a heartily recommended read for any who want to understand Uganda's conflict." 
—Midwest Book Review

"Splendidly spun... A fine, brave book... illuminates a rarely understood part of the world."
—The Times (London)

“A fine, brave book that … illuminates a rarely understood part of the world, and even less fathomable extremes of human mendacity.”
—Andrew Mueller, The Times (London)

“Hard-hitting to the extent of gut wrenching at points, this book may not entice you to venture to the areas of Uganda occupied by the rebel Kony’s army, but it will leave you with greater understanding of and insight into this damaged African country.”
—Hannah James, Real Travel

 “To his immense credit, Green became intrigued [by Kony] and decided to go in search of the man behind the one-paragraph description… [This is] a likeable guide to one of the world’s most under-reported battlegrounds… The author is a journalist to watch.”
— Christina Lamb, Sunday Times (London)

“Child soldiers. Mutilations. A mystic leader – all the clichés of Africa violence. But in a new book, Matthew Green looks behind the horrors to the fissures in African society that created Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army.”
—Reuters

“Green is particularly good on the conflict’s moral ambiguity and the role played by the international community… It is as good an account of Uganda’s post-Idi Amin instability as there is.”
— Tim Butcher, Daily Telegraph

“Green pieces together a much murkier reality: one where Museveni and the equally heinous Sudanese government next door have their own reasons for sustaining the conflict… [He is] refreshingly candid.”
— Siobhan Murphy, Metro Scotland

“This is a wonderful tale of personal obsession… I recommend this as a rollicking good read in the best tradition of foreign correspondents.”
— Aidan Hartley, Literary Review

“Matthew Green, a young reporter working for Reuters in East Africa, decided to track Kony down in his hideout in Southern Sudan and interview him. Along the way he uncovers a murky story of complicity and corruption, where it is often difficult to distinguish victims from villains.”
—London Review of Books

“Green’s short history of this strange war is an honest and factual account, devoid of the sort of exaggeration and self-aggrandisement to which journalists are prone.”
—New Statesman

“An exemplary piece of investigative reportage … he comes back with a gripping account of the realities behind nasty guerrilla wars in so many third-world nations.”
—Traveller magazine

“As northern Uganda’s nightmare appears to be coming to an end, there is, at last, a book that dispels the myths which helped keep it going.”
—Steve Bloomfield, Independent

“Matthew Green has written a remarkable book—a gripping, thoughtful, penetrating account that goes a long way towards unravelling one of the world’s most tragic and least understood conflicts.”
—Stephanie Nolen, Africa correspondent, Canada’s Globe and Mail

“Matthew Green has penetrated the heart of one of Africa’s darkest wars in which thousands of children were abducted and trained to attack villages in Northern Uganda for over two decades. This is an important book, a penetrating insight into one of the worst conflicts in the world, a war in which African governments and the international community failed the thousands of children abducted, and the hundreds of thousands of people displaced.”
—Jon Snow, British journalist, BBC



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