November 24 bio

Elizabeth Neuffer author of The Key To My Neighbor's House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda ($15.00, Picador)

The trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is Europe's biggest international war crimes trial since Hitler's henchmen were tried at Nuremberg.  With the second phase now underway--and the impending trial of Col. Theoneste Bagosora before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda--new testimony will bring to light more horrific stories from victims who suffered at the hands of ruthless criminals--many of whom have yet to be brought to justice.  Elizabeth Neuffer, prize-winning foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe, spent six years traveling through the heart of darkness in both Bosnia and Rwanda.  Her unique vantage point as a reporter directly covering the reality of genocide helped her transform an abstract debate about war crimes prosecution into a powerful, intensely personal tale of lives and societies shattered by genocide and what it takes to rebuild them.

The Key To My Neighbor's House focuses on the search for reconciliation and justice in the aftermath of war and how nations drive away the ghosts of violence.  Neuffer brilliantly examines not only the world's efforts to draw meaning from the ruins of hatred but also the heroic battles of victims to come to terms with the past. "This is not a book about evil," Neuffer insists, "although you will read plenty about it.  It is about the pursuit of justice, about the people I met who were trying to understand what justice meant in the wake of atrocities." Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes blood-chilling, sometimes inspiring, and including accounts from victims and perpetrators, forensic experts, and tribunal judges, there are three stories that form the backbone of this book. We follow Hasan Nuhanovic, a young Bosnian Muslim student determined to discover the fate of his family lost at Srebrenica, as he matures over the years from a gangling youth to a man with the authority to testify before Congress in Washington, DC. In counterpoint, we follow Witness JJ, a shy Tutsi woman of immense courage, who overcomes her modesty and dictates of her culture to testify about her rape -- an act that resulted in wartime rape being classified as a war crime. And we get a revealing, inside look at the workings of the newly created international tribunals through the eyes of Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, an African-American judge appointed to the court. In The Key To My Neighbor's House, where Neuffer writes of her own close encounters as a woman in a war zone, you'll meet villains who will make your blood run cold, and heroes like the African-American civil rights attorney who becomes their judge.  As Milosevic's trial continues throughout this year, attention will once again focus on the heinous act of genocide and its devastating consequences for those who have survived.  Elizabeth Neuffer's unparalleled insight into these human tragedies will forever change our perspective on justice and will ensure that crimes against humanity will not be resolved through the common recourse of forgetfulness.
Elizabeth Neuffer is an award-winning reporter for The Boston Globe. While serving as the paper's European Bureau Chief, she won the Courage in Journalism Award and was then named an Edward R. Murrow Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. She lives in New York City.

"Neuffer has written an extraordinary and deeply moving book about the search for reconciliation and justice in the aftermath of war, and about how people and nations drive away the ghosts of violence.  What Neuffer conveys so articulately and intelligently is that justice--like evil itself--is often ambiguous, gray-shaded and elusive."  Newsday

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