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Child Soldiers in Africa
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Child Soldiers in Africa

Alcinda Honwana

216 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 illus.
Paper 2007 | ISBN 9780812219876 | $26.50s | Outside the Americas £19.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Ethnography of Political Violence
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"Mandatory reading for anyone who wants to embark on the difficult task of understanding more fully the complex realities of child soldiering in Africa and elsewhere."—Modern African Studies

"This well-structured and multifaceted analysis of child soldiering would be useful reading for researchers and scholars."—Journal of Peace Research

"What Honwana eloquently reminds us in Child Soldiers is that there are millions of children around the globe whose lives have been hijacked to serve the egotistical purposes of adults too caught up in their own self-centered agendas to care what happens to future generations."—PsychCRITIQUES (American Psychological Association)

Young people have been at the forefront of political conflict in many parts of the world, even when it has turned violent. In some of those situations, for a variety of reasons, including coercion, poverty, or the seductive nature of violence, children become killers before they are able to grasp the fundamentals of morality. It has been only in the past ten years that this component of warfare has captured the attention of the world. Images of boys carrying guns and ammunition are now commonplace as they flash across television screens and appear on the front pages of newspapers. Less often, but equally disturbingly, stories of girls pressed into the service of militias surface in the media.

A major concern today is how to reverse the damage done to the thousands of children who have become not only victims but also agents of wartime atrocities. In Child Soldiers in Africa, Alcinda Honwana draws on her firsthand experience with children of Angola and Mozambique, as well as her study of the phenomenon for the United Nations and the Social Science Research Council, to shed light on how children are recruited, what they encounter, and how they come to terms with what they have done. Honwana looks at the role of local communities in healing and rebuilding the lives of these children. She also examines the efforts undertaken by international organizations to support these wartime casualties and enlightens the reader on the obstacles faced by such organizations.

Alcinda Honwana is Professor and Chair in International Development, The Open University.

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