By Darcy Lockman
Updated October 23, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

From Rwanda, the New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch reports on the government-ordained slaughter of some 800,000 Tutsis by the Hutu majority during the spring and summer of 1994. (The title comes from a letter Tutsi refugees write to a Hutu pastor, begging for help; he turns them down.) Replete with irony and allegory, and reminiscent of Michael Herr’s Dispatches, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with our Families offers searing firsthand accounts of atrocity. The genocide is juxtaposed against Rwanda’s colonial history, but the book never becomes dry or academic. The stories the author relays — diligently reported and plaintively told — are as compelling as they are horrifying. A

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