Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide

Voted the Best Book on Africa by Foreign Affairs and Outstanding Academic Title in 2004 by Choice.
Conspiracy to Murder is a gripping account of the Rwandan genocide, one of the most appalling events of the twentieth century. Linda Melvern's damning indictment of almost all the key figures and institutions involved amounts to a catalogue of failures that only serves to sharpen the horror of a tragedy that could have been avoided.


  • “The definitive account of the origins of the [Rwandan] tragedy… Essential. Accessible to all readers.”
  • “The best overall account of the background to the genocide, and the failure to prevent it.”
  • “A frank condemnation of the world's broken promise to 'never again' allow genocide to happen.”
  • “A devastating account of the West's failure to act.”
  • “An epic and shaming story of culpability and missed opportunities... in the finest traditions of investigative journalism.”
  • “A meticulous reconstruction of how the genocide happened.”
  • “Melvern's Book is outstanding... Her research has been exhaustive and the clarity of her chronology is the most dfamning of all indictments against those who looked the other way in the years leading up to 1994.”


  • Auschwitz Report: An Extract

    An extract from Auschwitz Report by Primo Levi with Leonardo De Benedetti on Holocaust Memorial day.

    Two Survivors (from the introduction)

    On 27 January 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated what was left of the network of concentration, labour and extermination camps near Auschwitz in southern Poland. The first part of the camp they stumbled upon was Buna-Monowitz (Monowice), or Auschwitz III, a satellite of the central Auschwitz-Birkenau complex which was run by the Nazis in collaboration with the industrial chemical corporation IG Farben. Until days earlier, 12,000 enslaved labourers, mostly Jews, had been kept there in appalling conditions.

    Amongst the several hundred sick and dying left behind by the retreating Nazis were two Italian Jews, both from Turin: 46-year-old doctor Leonardo De Benedetti and 25-year-old chemistry graduate Primo Levi.

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  • "We are black..."—Verso books for Black History Month

    We are black, it is true, but tell us, gentlemen, you who are so judicious, what is the law that says that the black man must belong to and be the property of the white man? ... Yes, gentleman, we are free like you, and it is only by your avarice and our ignorance that anyone is still held in slavery up to this day, and we can neither see nor find the right that you pretend to have over us ... We are your equals then, by natural right, and if nature pleases itself to diversify colours within the human race, it is not a crime to be born black nor an advantage to be white.

    This excerpt is from a letter written in July 1792 by the leaders of the revolution of Haitian slaves. The letter has been republished in the collection of writings of the black leader Toussaint L'Overture, The Haitian Revolution, which includes also the correspondence between him and Napoleon Bonaparte. In the late eighteenth century, Toussaint L'Overture and his supporters established the first black republic in the world.

    In the United Kingdom, October is Black History Month. The celebration was originally introduced in 1926 on the initiative of Carter G. Woodson, the editor of the Journal of Negro History. In 2007, no fewer than 6,000 events were held in the UK as part of its programme. Here are some key Verso titles past and present that are relevant to the study and celebration of African and Caribbean history.

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