<em>The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo</em> by Clea Koff

The subtitle pretty much says it all (it would have to, being that long, really) -- this is a memoir by a forensic anthropologist who worked for the UN digging up mass graves of genocide victims in Rwanda and Central Europe to prove that they were, in fact, genocide victims. I read this book because I wanted another perspective on Rwanda, and because I'm interested in forensic anthropology.

It wasn't as sciency as I thought it might be, although there was enough detail to get the job done. The book was more about the author's (I was going to say "Clea's", that's how personal it was) journey through the various missions. She writes about how she feels when she's working and when she isn't, how she deals with the unique stress of digging up people, often children, who have been murdered. She writes about how the work she does changes her view of the world. She's very honest and forthcoming about her feelings and about her mistakes and about how her outlook changes.

She also talks bluntly about the work environments, the management, the teams, the bureaucracy. It made me realize, once again, that no matter how much you love your work, you're going to have to put up with some bullshit from somebody at some point -- no job is great all the time, not even digging rotting bodies out of soggy graves in the burning sun.


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