A STATE OF BLOOD: The Inside Story of Idi Amin by Henry Kyemha

A STATE OF BLOOD: The Inside Story of Idi Amin

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This latest expose of Amin's terrorism, the third to appear within a month, is distinguished by its author's inside knowledge and tainted by his long collaboration with the regime he denounces. Kyemba served in Amin's government--as personal aide (1971-72), Minister of Culture (1972-74) and Health (1974-77)--until, early this year, he was personally endangered by knowing too much about the headline murders of Entebbe hostage Dora Bloch and Amin-critic Archbishop Luwuum. But the first ""incident that shocked me"" occurred within days of Amin's 1971 takeover of Uganda, and throughout Kyemba's recital of massacres and mutilations, dismay at Kyemba's numb acceptance--throwing bodies into the Nile proved ""an inefficient method of disposal""--contends with horror at the actions. A far less searching appraisal than David Gwyn's Idi Amin (p. 1126), this does serve to buttress it: what Gwyn is at pains to prove, Kyemba knows for a fact. And his accounts of the Bloch and Luwuum cases are indisputable: he, or his informants, were there. He also has first-hand knowledge of Amin's women, for what that's worth, and of Amin's erratic methods of governance: Kyemba wanted to close private clinics to force Uganda's few remaining doctors into full-time public service, Amin agreed when a woman he had impregnated went to a private clinic for an abortion. But none of this adds significantly to the record of terror or state of disarray that Gwyn and others have revealed--and even Kyemba's reproach to those American blacks who succumbed to Amin's wiles is clouded by his own inaction. Now, from exile, he calls upon Britain, the US, the Arab countries, etc., to undermine Amin's regime--and there may be a lesson in the absoluteness of absolute rule there.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1977
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap