Drink the Bitter Root is an international story about the ethical and environmental footprint world nations are leaving in Africa in their determined efforts to destabilize and loot the continent. In the spirit of Robert Kaplan and Samantha Power, Gary Geddes sets out in search of justice, healing and reconciliation. He begins his journey at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, then travels to Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland, crossing Lake Victoria and the Great Rift Valley, where human life began.
Geddes’s quest takes the form of an intimate personal travelogue. Although he confronts the dark realities of abduction, rape, mutilation, and murder, drawing on painful encounters, interviews, and adventures that occur along the way, Geddes also brings back amazing stories of survival and unexpected moments of grace. His poet’s eye and self-deprecating humor draw us ever more deeply into the lives of some amazing Africans, while never forgetting the complicity we all feel in the face of tragic events unfolding there.
In the words of author and Africanist Ian Smillie, Drink the Bitter Root is not only poignant, literate, and funny, but also “a deeply textured journey without maps into the unexplored rifts of sub-Saharan Africa, the human experience, and the psyche. It’s also the masterful handling of a full palette.”