In the Spring of 1994, Rwanda was the scene of the first acts since World War II to be legally defined as genocide.
Two years later, Clea Koff, a twenty-three-year-old forensic anthropologist analyzing prehistoric skeletons in California, was one of sixteen scientists chosen by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal to go to Rwanda to unearth physical evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Bone Woman is Koff's riveting, intimate account of that mission and six subsequent missions she undertook to Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo on behalf of the UN. It is, ultimately, a story filled with hope, humanity, and justice.
"Chilling but mesmerizing...Koff's account is neither histrionic nor preachy; it's clear-eyed, hard-headed and straightforward...This book works so well, is so vivid and so moving, because Koff surrounds the dead bodies with living stories."
- Bookpage, US
"Though stalwartly non-academic, this book is a must-read for students of forensic science, political science, international law and other disciplines that study or directly contribute to human rights investigations." - The Globe and Mail, Canada
"...The most impressive book about politics that I read this year, Clea Koff's The Bone Woman: Among the Dead in Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. Moving from one mass grave to the next, she uncovers what really happened." - Clive James in the Times Literary Supplement, UK
"It may be that this is the ultimate memoir of the post-Cold War decade...
a hugely important book." - The Telegraph, UK
More press and reviews here.
If you're looking for Clea's mystery novel, Freezing, please visit
Commendations and Honors
PRIX LIVRE ET DROITS DE L'HOMME 2005
AN INTERNATIONAL BOOK OF THE YEAR 2004
De la Ville de Nancy, presented by Jorge Semprun
Clive James in The Times Literary Supplement, 3 December
BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2004
A BEST OF 2004
A BEST OF 2004
A BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2004
NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2004
Jenny Crwys-Williams, Radio 702, South Africa
TOP 20 SCIENCE BOOK OF 2004
BEST ORIGINAL SUBJECT, NON-FICTION 2004
Black Issues Book Review
Foreign Policy Association
Publications and Translations
UNITED KINGDOM - Atlantic
The Bone Woman, 2004 (and in The Commonwealth, excl. Australia and New Zealand)
THE NETHERLANDS - Sirene
De Bottenvrouw, 2004 (and in Flanders)
SPAIN - Editorial Planeta / Ediciones Martinez Roca
El lenguaje de los huesos, 2004
ARGENTINA - Emece Argentina
El lengauje de los huesos, 2004
DENMARK - Host & Son
NORWAY - Humanist Forlag
ITALY - Sperling & Kupfer
La memoria della ossa, 2006
PORTUGAL - Bertrand / Quetzal Editores
A linguagem dos ossos, 2006
POLAND - Przedsiebiorstwo Wydawnicze Rzeczpolita SA
Pamiec Kosci, 2007