Samuel TottenGenocide by Attrition: The Nuba Mountains of Sudan

Transaction Publishers, 2012

by Kelly McFall on July 18, 2014

Samuel Totten

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Genocide Studies] Most of the authors I’ve interviewed for this show have addressed episodes in the past, campaigns of mass violence that occurred long ago, often well-before the author was born.

Today’s show is different.

In his book Genocide by Attrition: The Nuba Mountains of Sudan (Transaction Publishers, 2012), Samuel Totten addresses the violence against the people of the Nuba Mountains of the Sudan.  This violence was part of a broader civil war and unrest in the Sudan in the 1980s and 90s.  Totten makes a convincing case that, in the Nuba, it reached a level reasonably labeled genocidal.  To demonstrate this, Totten provides a succinct but thorough history of the conflict. But the heart of the book is a series of interviews with victims of the tragedy.  Totten collected the interviews himself and uses them to demonstrate the nature and consequences of the conflict.

Our interview won’t stop with the book, however, for conflict has recently broken out again in the region.  Scholars differ about how to label the new violence (Totten himself prefers to avoid calling the new fighting genocidal).  But there’s no question many of the human tragedies of the 80s and 90s have reemerged.  Totten has written extensively about this new conflict.  We’ll use of one these articles, from the recent issue of Genocide Studies International, as the basis for our discussion of current events.

Totten has been active in the field of genocide studies since its inception and brings an enormous wealth of information and passion to the subject.  I trust the interview will convey his commitment to his discipline and to the victims of the violence he studies.

Also.  I talked with Sam this week and he tells me he’s just finished a major revision of the book we discussed in this interview, almost doubling its length.  The second edition will presumably be out soon.

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