Friday, August 19, 2011

What I’m Reading Lately

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, was written with Steve Erwin and is the personal account of Immaculée Ilibagiza, a 24-year-old ethnic Tutsi, a Rwandan native and a devout Roman Catholic.  She was also a bright and dedicated student, studying applied science on scholarship at the national university in the days leading up to the holocaust.

When the horror began she had just returned home for Easter holidays. Her father tried to keep Immaculée, one of her brothers and a young man who was visiting safe by sending them to the nearby home of a Protestant pastor who was ethnic Hutu.

With tribal hatreds inflamed by the death of the Rwandan president, a three-month killing spree slaughtered more than one million ethnic Tutsis. Members of the government’s youth movement set out in packs to eliminate all Tutsis, even their former friends and neighbors. All Immaculée’s family, except for one brother studying abroad, were among the murdered.

The pastor hid Immaculée and seven other women in a tiny bathroom for three months. During the rigors of silence, immobility, limited rations, and the constant threat of brutal death, Immaculée resorts to ongoing internal conversations with God. So begins the spiritual journey that takes her through her own hate and fear and out the other side to total reliance on God, and to compassion and forgiveness for the killers.

This book is not a history of the Rwandan holocaust. If it were an ordinary book, I would have found the 210 pages a quick read. But even though Immaculée’s chronicle is riveting, I had to put it down at intervals for a time-out to absorb the magnitude of the words on the printed page.

The holocaust was in 1994. The book was published in 2006, but Immaculée’s story of faith in the midst of brutality and hatred is as relevant today as ever.


  1. I have not heard of this book, though I do read lots of book reviews. Reminds me of The Diary Of Anne Frank.

  2. This sounds very interesting. I will put it on my "to read" list.

  3. That sounds like a very powerful book about a horrific time. I will never understand what appalling things man is capable of doing to other men. Usually in the midst of that, others, like that pastor, put their lives on the line to provide safe harbor. Bless them. Thanks for the review.

  4. we watched a movie last night, The pianist, about a jewish holocaust survivor that was in Warsaw during the war, the horrors of this in your book and from the 40's still continue today

  5. Grace in adversity, that's where real character lies.

  6. I'm going to find and read that book. Thanks.