Our Bodies, Their Battlefield
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2020
A Times and Sunday Times Best Book of 2020
‘A wake-up call … These women’s stories will make you weep, and then rage at the world’s indifference.’ Amal Clooney
From award-winning war reporter and co-author of I Am Malala, this is the first major account to address the scale of rape and sexual violence in modern conflict.
Christina Lamb has worked in war and combat zones for over thirty years. In Our Bodies, Their Battlefield she gives voice to the women of conflicts, exposing how in today’s warfare, rape is used by armies, terrorists and militias as a weapon to humiliate, oppress and carry out ethnic cleansing.
Speaking to survivors first-hand, Lamb encounters the suffering and bravery of women in war and meets those fighting for justice. From Southeast Asia where ‘comfort women’ were enslaved by the Japanese during World War Two to the Rwandan genocide, when an estimated quarter of a million women were raped, to the Yazidi women and children of today who witnessed the mass murder of their families before being enslaved by ISIS. Along the way Lamb uncovers incredible stories of heroism and resistance, including the Bosnian women who have hunted down more than a hundred war criminals, the Aleppo beekeeper rescuing Yazidis and the Congolese doctor who has risked his life to treat more rape victims than anyone else on earth.
Rape may be as old as war but it is a preventable crime. Bearing witness does not guarantee it won’t happen again, but it can take away any excuse that the world simply didn’t know.
'Quite literally the most powerful and disturbing book that I have ever read' Antony Beevor 'A wake-up call to the magnitude and horrors of rape in war - the world's most neglected war crime. These women's stories will make you weep, and then rage at the world's indifference.' Amal Clooney 'Sharing these stories is necessary and incredibly brave' Sheryl Sandberg 'Christina Lamb has done the impossible - and written women into history. This book, Our Bodies, Their Battlefield is an extraordinary achievement of in depth journalism, powerful storytelling, grit and heart. A wake up call to the magnitude and horror of rape of women throughout history and the world. If you read one book this year, read this. Astounding.' Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, The Apology 'For millennia mass rape has been a weapon of war. But the testimony of abuse is almost entirely absent from all recorded history. At last this brave, beautiful and brutal book allows victims to speak - devastatingly, inspirationally' Bettany Hughes 'This is the most powerful and disturbing book I have ever read. It must have taken courage to research and write this book. Christina Lamb has more than accomplished her duty. It is now our duty to face this terrible truth - that of man's inhumanity to woman.' Anthony Beevor, Spectator 'A brave and harrowing book, and were there justice in the world, would be at the top of the bestsellers list for weeks.' Melanie Reid, The Times '[A] deeply traumatic and important book ... Provides a corrective that is by turns horrific and profoundly moving ... Lamb is an extraordinary writer. Her compassion for those she talks to and deep understanding of how to tell their stories makes this a book that should be required reading for all - even though (and perhaps because) it is not an enjoyable experience ... Powerful.' Peter Frankopan, Guardian
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