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Land of a Thousand Hills


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About the Author

Rosamond Halsey Carr was an American humanitarian and author, as well as the last of the foreign plantation owners in Rwanda, where she ran a children's orphanage until her death in 2006.


Fifty years ago, New Jersey socialite and fashion designer Rosamond Halsey Carr sailed from Brooklyn Harbor with four new cotton dresses, a lifelong supply of cold cream and hopes of injecting passion into her marriage with British big-game hunter Kenneth Carr. Although conjugal bliss eluded her, the hills of central Africa captured her heart, and she passed up safety, security and marriage with a later love to stay in Rwanda. Carr saw at close handÄlong before the genocide of 1994Äthe warfare between Hutu and Tutsi in 1959, violence spilling over from the Congo during the 1960s and independence for RwandaÄon four days' noticeÄin 1962. Rich in details about elephants, marriage customs and the author's flower plantation, this charming memoir transports readers to the land where Dian Fossey (whom Carr knew and profiles here) studied her gorillas. The horror of 1994 forced Carr off her plantation and out of the country for a few months, but she is now back, running an orphanage for victims' children she started in an old barn. By today's confessional standards, Carr, who is 86, is reticent about her personal life. Literary flourishes are few here; rather, along with her niece, Halsey, she writes simply and evocatively, entertaining readers with vignettes about her European, African and American acquaintances. Money did not come easily to Carr, but out of Africa has come an abundance of spirit. First serial to Vogue. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

This is an excellent book. Carr, then a young New York fashion illustrator, moved to Africa with her hunter husband in 1954. After their divorce, she took a job as a plantation manager and eventually became a plantation ownerÄthe last foreign owner in Rwanda. In her 45 years in the Congo and Rwanda, she saw the fight for independence and then the rise of ethnic unrest and genocidal conflict in the 1990s. She now runs an orphanage on her plantation. Carr speaks with personal knowledge of both rulers and locals, including Dian Fossey, a neighbor and friend. Her brief account of ethnic and national differences can certainly be understood by the average reader. Those frustrated by Philip Gourevitch's We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (LJ 9/1/98) may find this book by a resident Rwandan more interesting. Those who enjoy travel, history, biography, women's studies, or just a fascinating read will want it as well.ÄJulie Still, Rutgers Univ., Camden, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"Carr has lived an extraordinary life... Carr and her niece Ann Howard Halsey elegantly and objectively write of the royal Rwandan ceremonies, the weddings and tribal dances, as well as Carr's associations with European diplomats and ambassadors and the 'high society' of wealthy landowners. Her descriptions of the day-to-day life at the plantation allow the reader to learn about the lives of the Hutus that worked for her and the neighboring Tutsis whose cattle grazed close by."--Michelle Kaske, Booklist

"An intriguing memoir of a European woman plantation owner in Rwanda over the past half-century, written with grace and self-assurance... She appreciates the various shades of gray that color her region's circumstances: she provides a neat, crisp summation of Hutu-Tutsi enmity and its cruel consequences over their 400-year association, and she maps Belgian colonial desires in the Congo and Rwanda and Burundi. She exudes common sense and integrity in matters of politics and business (she is invariably on the brink), then softens the story by lacing it with personal relationships (including a rocky but intense one with Dian Fossey) and life at her compound, where bougainvillea twine with the climbing roses, crested cranes rule the sky, elephants are garden pests, and an active volcano lights the night horizon. A quiet and elegant beauty of a memoir, with a dignity that is at once antique and enviable."--Kirkus Reviews

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