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How de Body? One Man's Terrifying Journey Through an African War 
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Product Details 
308 pages 
Thomas Dunne Books 
Published 2002 
From Publishers Weekly 
The title of this harrowing journey through war-torn Sierra Leone means how are you? in pidgin English; as photojournalist Voeten shows in his dramatic but incomplete work of war reportage, Sierra Leone isn't doing well and neither is he, after a 1998 trip there. On assignment to photograph child soldiers, Voeten finds himself in the midst of a war between a military junta and West African peacekeeping troops. After nearly being killed by a gun-toting teenager, he goes into hiding for two weeks: I feel like a fox running from hounds and curse the soldiers who won't give me a moment's peace. His disappearance makes him something of a cause celebre several of his colleagues are planning to mount a search and rescue but he's eventually able to leave the country. Yet that's just the beginning of Voeten's involvement with the impoverished African nation. Despite suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he returns to Sierra Leone, and it is in recounting these times that the book weakens. Voeten doesn't delve beneath the surface of his interest in Sierra Leone; he fails to give readers even a basic history of the country or to reflect on what makes journalists willing to risk their lives to report from there. He also neglects to sufficiently describe his PTSD or how his multiple returns to Sierra Leone affect it. By not answering these questions, Voeten ends up with merely a frightening travelogue of a depressing country and one inelegantly written at that. The photos, which may be the book's highlight, were not seen by PW.  
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.  
From Library Journal 
Voeten, an acclaimed photojournalist, writes about the ferocity of the eight-year civil war in Sierra Leone, a former British colony in West Africa. Once referred to as "The White Man's Grave," it is a country endowed with very hospitable people and mineral wealth gold, silver, and, in particular, diamonds, which "literally lie there waiting to be picked up." The abundance of diamonds has sown greed among the major ethnic groups and has also attracted an international consortium of criminals,... read more  
Book Description 
In 1998, acclaimed photojournalist Teun Voeten headed to Sierra Leone for what he thought would be a standard assignment on the child soldiers there. But the cease-fire ended just as he arrived, and the clash between the military junta and the West African peace-keeping troops forced him to hide in the bush from rebels who were intent on killing him. 
How de Body? ("how are you?" in Sierra Leone's Creole English) is a dramatic account of the conflict that has been raging in the country for nearly a decade-and how Voeten nearly became a casualty of it. Accessible and conversational, it's a look into the dangerous diamond trade that fuels the conflict, the legacy of war practices such as forced amputations, the tragic use of child soldiers, and more. The book is also a tribute to the people who never make the headlines: Eddy Smith, a BBC correspondent who eventually helps Voeten escape; Alfred Kanu, a school principal who risks his life to keep his students and teachers going amidst the bullets and raids; and Padre Victor, who runs a safe haven for ex-child soldiers; among others. 
Featuring Voeten's stunning black-and-white photos from his multiple trips to the conflict area, How de Body? is a crucial testament to a relatively unknown tragedy.
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