It is hard to avoid knowing something about the conflict in Darfur. There are divestment movements, student campaigns, actors raising awareness and the ‘genocide olympics’ to remind us of the ongoing conflict. There is also an increasingly ugly exchange in which two sides are talking and neither is listening. This exchange is not between the combatants, as one might expect, but among activists and scholars who disagree on the best way to portray the conflict. While it is difficult to avoid knowing something about the violence in Darfur, finding a deeper analysis that goes beyond the attempts to gain attention and muster moral outrage is not easy. Two of the books reviewed here do much to fill this gap by providing rich historical background and resources regarding the political makeup of the area for those who want to know more about the conflict in Darfur. Prunier offers a detailed history of the Darfur region from the time of the Fur Sultanate (late 1600s) forward. The book situates Darfur domestically and within regional politics involvingChadandLibya. De Waal’s edited volume provides a forum for voices from Europe and Sudan with a variety of foci but a unifying theme that what is happening in Darfur is a political conflict with specific historical causes. The third book, a compilation by Furley and May, addresses many of the other conflicts in Africa that have not yet reached the point of being labeled genocide.

Document Type

Post-print Article

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2010 The Editor of Ethnopolitics.

The definitive version is available at:

DOI: 10.1080/17449051003688328

Full Citation:

Joireman, Sandra F. "An Abundance of Violence and Scarcity of Words (Book Review)." Reviews of Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide by Gerard Prunier, War in Darfur: and the Search for Peace by Alex de Waal, Ending Africa’s Wars: Progressing to Peace by Oliver Furley and Roy May. Ethnopolitics 9, no. 2 (2010): 275-79.