Sudan: Darfur and the Failure of an African State

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Over the past two decades, the situation in Africa’s largest country, Sudan, has progressively deteriorated: the country is in second position on the Failed States Index, a war in Darfur has claimed hundreds of thousands of deaths, President Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, a forthcoming referendum on independence for Southern Sudan threatens to split the country violently apart.

In this fascinating and immensely readable book, the Africa editor of the Economist gives an absorbing account of Sudan’s descent into failure and what some have called genocide. Drawing on interviews with many of the main players, Richard Cockett explains how and why Sudan has disintegrated, looking in particular at the country’s complex relationship with the wider world. He shows how the United States and Britain were initially complicit in Darfur—but also how a broad coalition of human-rights activists, right-wing Christians, and opponents of slavery succeeded in bringing the issues to prominence in the United States and creating an impetus for change at the highest level.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This accessible, informative book details and dissects the recent descent into chaos of Darfur and Sudan. Cockett, Africa editor for The Economist, uses Sudan's history under British rule and interviews with UN and other officials (including former members of the feared janjaweed) to present the deeply disturbing account of the 300,000 people who died and the three million who were driven from their homes. Cockett explains the geographical, political, and ethnic divide between Khartoum in the north, the home of the government and the wealthy and educated elite, and Darfur, 750 miles to the west, rich in oil but deliberately underdeveloped and plagued by devastating droughts. Khartoum politicians chose to "divide and rule" in order to gain land, forcing people out and ordering the janjaweed to destroy villages and kill inhabitants. Cockett maintains that the west shares the blame for these atrocities through a combination of misguided meddling and a lack of interest. Numerous maps and an impressive bibliography add credibility to this fine work.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Wall Street Journal

“…well-researched, beautifully written and thoroughly absorbing, despite the wrenching tragedies [this book] must chronicle.”
-George Ayittey, The Wall Street Journal

— George Ayittey

The Gunboat

"For those readers who know nothing more about the country than what is reported in the Western media, his book will be a revelation."—The Gunboat
The Wall Street Journal - George Ayittey

“…well-researched, beautifully written and thoroughly absorbing, despite the wrenching tragedies [this book] must chronicle.”—George Ayittey, The Wall Street Journal

The Guardian

‘In this informative, eminently readable history and analysis of Sudan’s failure as a state, Cockett draws on interviews with many of the main players. There is plenty of blame to go around, he says, citing 'meddling western politicians, over-simplifying activists, spineless African leaders, shamelessly silent Muslim countries … and myopic Sudanese politicians'.’—The Guardian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300162738
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/27/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,353,959
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Cockett is former Africa editor of The Economist. He was previously a senior lecturer in politics and history at the University of London.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

List of Illustrations xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The One-City State 6

Chapter 2 Populists and Civil War, 1956-89 56

Chapter 3 The National Islamic Front and Turabi in Power, 1989-2000 96

Chapter 4 Sudan and the West: slavery, conscience and al-Qaeda 143

Chapter 5 Darfur: how the killing was allowed to happen 168

Chapter 6 Darfur: the vortex 211

Chapter 7 Surviving in the North, Failing in the South 250

Afterword 289

Notes 300

Select Bibliography 304

Index 307

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