One woman’s inspiring true story of an unlikely alliance to stop the atrocities of a warlord, proving that there is no limit to what we can do, even in the face of unspeakable injustice and impossible odds
“This compelling and inspiring book beautifully moves each of us to take action to help the most vulnerable among us.”—Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Late one night in the summer of 2010, Shannon Sedgwick Davis, a lawyer, human rights advocate, and Texas mom to two young boys, first met a Ugandan general to discuss an unconventional plan to stop Joseph Kony, a murderous warlord who’d terrorized communities in four countries across Central and East Africa.
For twenty-five years, Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army had killed over a hundred thousand people, displaced millions, and abducted tens of thousands of children, forcing them to become child soldiers. After Sedgwick Davis met with survivors and community leaders, aid workers and lawmakers, it was clear that the current international systems were failing to protect the most vulnerable. Guided by the strength of her beliefs and convictions, Sedgwick Davis knew she had to help other parents to have the same right she had—to go to sleep each night knowing that their children were safe.
But Sedgwick Davis had no roadmap for how to stop a violent armed group. She would soon step far outside the bounds of traditional philanthropy and activism and partner her human rights organization, the Bridgeway Foundation, with a South African private military contractor and a specialized unit within the Ugandan army. The experience would bring her to question everything she had previously believed about her role as a humanitarian, about the meaning of justice, and about the very nature of good and evil.
In To Stop a Warlord, Shannon Sedgwick Davis tells the story, for the first time, of the unprecedented collaboration she helped build with the aim of finally ending Joseph Kony’s war—and the unforgettable journey on an unexpected path to peace. A powerful memoir that reads like a thriller, this is a story that asks us just how hard we would fight for what we believe in.
100 percent of the author’s net proceeds from this book will go to organizations seeking justice and protection for civilians in conflict zones.
Attorney and human rights advocate Davis powerfully tells of her efforts to free Central Africa from the grip of violent rebel leader Joseph Kony and liberate his army of child soldiers. As CEO of a foundation established "to prevent oppression, genocide, and human rights abuses," Sedgwick realized that funding relief programs for survivors of Kony's massacres was "just putting Band-Aids on bullet holes." In 2010, she traveled to Central Africa and Uganda, where Kony's Lord's Resistance Army kidnapped children who had been turned into soldiers had killed thousands. Taking "a step beyond traditional philanthropy," she hired "a private, professional military trainer to train the Ugandan army in counter-LRA tactics," a decision backed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Warren Buffett's philanthropist son Howard. When military efforts failed, Davis decided on a strategy of "taking the LRA down from the inside out" through a defection campaign aimed at Kony's top commanders and young soldiers; this ultimately undermined his control. Indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in 2005, Kony remains at large, yet the author concludes "peace is bigger than one man. It is the 90 percent reduction in LRA violence." This is a fast-paced and intense geopolitical narrative.
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An Incredible Story of Grace and Courage
“To Stop a Warlord” is an incredible story about the journey one women takes to find justice for the child victims of war-torn Central and East Africa. While the story is truly one of grace, courage, and determination, at its foundation it is a story of hope and the author’s firm belief that she could and must make a difference in lives that had been brutalized in far away places. What makes this story different is that the author challenged the previous limits of what a non-governmental organization was willing to contribute to stop brutality and was willing to take risks others were not. Throughout the book, we are challenged to examine how foreign aid can be effective, how violence can be stopped and even more importantly what justice truly looks like. To Stop a Warlord is an inspiring story that is both thought-provoking and hopeful and one I can not recommend enough! I was honored to receive a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher, Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.