Stolen Angels: The Kidnapped Girls of Uganda.


294 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 978-0-14-305481-8
DDC 967.6104





Reviewed by Barb Bloemhof

Barb Bloemhof is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport
Management at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.


Stolen Angels reports the abduction of 159 children attending St. Mary’s School for Girlsa Catholic residential school in Aboke, in northern Ugandaby members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has been spreading violence and terror for 20 years with Sudanese government support.


The book is important reading. Cook demonstrates the value of the civil disturbance in the north that silenced any movement to replace military rule with democracy to the Ugandan president Museveni, and exposes the government’s heavy-handed tactics of interfering with the peace process. She also systematically reports the work of key Canadians in the crisis. The Canadians were sympathetic to a resolution on the whole, although in the end no match for local and American indifference to change. It seems from her evidence that Western governments may appreciate Museveni’s insistence on local solutions to the LRA, which absolves them from providing effective diplomatic and development assistance to bring durable peace.


Cook’s assessment, beyond a sophisticated compilation of origins of the conflict and prospects for its resolution, is a deft exposure of complex power relationships at a pace that inspires readers to action. She does not abbreviate the facts; instead Cook judiciously alternates between the brutal experiences of the 30 students whose release could not be immediately negotiated and the necessary background and parallel stories of those working heroically for their release and an end to the crisis. The entirely avoidable murder, torture, violence, and displacement in the north is answered selflessly by Catholic missionaries of the Comboni religious order, who risked their lives in support of victims of LRA abduction even after its leader ordered specific attacks against them. In the end, most of these strong, resilient girls rescued themselves, or died in the attempt.


Cook, Kathy., “Stolen Angels: The Kidnapped Girls of Uganda.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 1, 2022,