When the walking defeats you

One man's journey as Joseph Kony's Bodyguard
Publisher: Best Red
Availability:in stock 1000 item(s)
Product Length: 216MM
Width: 135MM

About the book

Educated and aspirational, with dreams of becoming a teacher, George Omona would seem an unlikely recruit for the Lord's Resistance Army; a group which for many has become the embodiment of evil, reviled for its use of child soldiers, sexual slavery, and for waging a decades long campaign of terror across a large swathe of Eastern and Central Africa. But drawn in by the charismatic pull of its messianic leader, and by the group's claims to speak for the long marginalised Acholi people, George came to regard the group as the best change for rebuilding his life after his explosion from high school.

George's education and fluent command of English allowed him to rapidly rise through the ranks, eventually becoming a bodyguard to the group's now notorious leader, Joseph Kony. Having spent almost three years with the group before deserting, George's story - as told to acknowledge LRA expert Ledio Cakaj - provides a unique, unsettling and often astonishing insight into the inner workings of the LRA.

About the authors

Ledio Cakaj is a researcher and writer focused on armed groups, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, both adults and children. He has worked for close to two decades int eh Balkans and Rental Africa. Cakaj spent eight years studying the Lord's Resistance Army, initially during a master's degree at Princeton University, and later working as a consultant for the World Bank, the Enough Project, Small Arms Survey and Resolve, among others. Cakaj is a native Albanian, born in 1978. He left home at 16 years old as Albania was plagued by violence and struggling to shed its communist past. He walked along with other unaccompanied minors to Greece where he worked odd jobs to survive. After four years without a legal status in Greece, Cakaj managed to migrate to England where he was able to return to school. Several years later, he completed high school and graduated with a degree in ancient and modern history from St. John's College, Oxford University, in 2005. He now lives in Washington DC with his wife and three young children.


Selected Key Dates
Foreword by Roméo Dallaire

Part One: Holding the Lion's Tail

  1. The Blessed Land of Pease and Rest: Part One
  2. The Saviour of Acholiland
  3. Killing Rambo
  4. Kony's Jungle Home
  5. Yankee
  6. A General Who Kills
  7. A Prisoner of the Spirits
  8. War Is Coming
  9. Kicking the Hornets' Nest
  10. A Real Rebel

Part Two: Waiting for the Whistle

  1. The Blessed Land of Peace and Rest: Part Two
  2. The Devil's Children
  3. Disco
  4. When the Walking Defeats You 
  5. No Joy in the World
  6. Dwog Paco

Epilogue: Far from Home
Author Note
Selected Bibliography


A gripping portrayal of a rebel fighter's harrowing journey in central Africa. Without pulling punches, Cakaj provides a human face to the notorious but often caricatured Lord's Resistance Army. An insightful tourde-force by an author whose deep knowledge about this group shines through on almost every page.

Ronald R.Atkinson, author of the Roots of Ethnicity and editor of the Raging Storm: A reporter's Inside Account of the Northen Uganda War

Cakaj skilfully takes the reader inside the harrowing world of the LRA. Interspersed with stunning photography, and reflections of persons who survived LRA attacks, a multilayered story comes to life, further unfolding the complexities of such a devastating war.

Erin Baines, author of Buried in the Heart: Women, Complex Victimhood and the War in Northern Uganda

Brilliantly weaves the dramatic and often horrifying experience of one man into a gripping story of two decades of the LRA war. A product of vast knowledge of the conflict, When The Walking Defeats You is sure to become a classic in the literature on conflict in Africa.

Adam Branch author of Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda