A Thousand Sisters: My Journey Into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman
by Lisa Shannon


Seal Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-580-05285-6.
Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
Posted on 09/26/2010

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Cultural/Gender Focus

The atrocities against women in the Congo are a brutal subject but Lisa Shannon makes their stories and needs compelling in A Thousand Sisters: My Journey Into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman. Her memoir opened my eyes to unimaginable need and suffering. She documents violence and evil and invites every reader to help solve the problem.

Shannon's life went flat after her father died. Unable to grieve, she slumped in front of the television and saw an episode of Oprah that exposed the plight of Congolese women, who were repeatedly gang raped, tortured, and shot.

Realizing she had to do something, she formed an organization called Run for Congo Women. Its purpose was to raise money to sponsor Congolese women and help an international organization called Women for Women.

Raising money wasn't enough. Shannon traveled to the Congo to meet the women she was sponsoring. Their stories touched her heart.

Events in A Thousand Sisters leap off the page as Shannon shares the horrors, the rampant corruption, and the gratitude she found when she had face-to-face meetings with the women whose lives she changed. She calls these women her heroes and tells us they are the future of the Congo. We see her open up, embrace reality, and empower herself and her Congolese sisters in this compelling tale.

If you are looking for a cause, suggestions at the end of the book will guide you, or you can visit Run for Congo Women.org for suggestions. Make a difference. Let your sisters know that they matter.


Lisa Shannon founded the first national grassroots effort to raise awareness and funds for women in the DR Congo through her project Run for Congo Women. She presently serves as an ambassador for Women for Women International. She lives in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. A Thousand Sisters is her first book.

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