It was the war that changed everything, and yet it’s been mostly forgotten: in 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia. It dominated newspaper headlines and newsreels. It inspired mass marches in Harlem, a play on Broadway, and independence movements in Africa. As the British Navy sailed into the Mediterranean for a white-knuckle showdown with Italian ships, riots broke out in major cities all over the United States.
Italian planes dropped poison gas on Ethiopian troops, bombed Red Cross hospitals, and committed atrocities that were never deemed worthy of a war crimes tribunal. But unlike the many other depressing tales of Africa that crowd book shelves, this is a gripping thriller, a rousing tale of real-life heroism in which the Ethiopians come back from near destruction and win.
Tunnelling through archive records, tracking down survivors still alive today, and uncovering never-before-seen photos, Jeff Pearce recreates a remarkable era and reveals astonishing new findings. He shows how the British Foreign Office abandoned the Ethiopians to their fate, while Franklin Roosevelt had an ambitious peace plan that could have changed the course of world historyhad Chamberlain not blocked him with his policy on Ethiopia. And Pearce shows how modern propaganda techniques, the post-war African world, and modern peace movements all were influenced by this crucial conflicta war in Africa that truly changed the world.
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About the Author
Jeff Pearce has traveled far to get his unique stories. For his landmark history, Prevail , he tracked down survivors from the Italian-Ethiopian War of the 1930s and 40s, and he uncovered shocking records about Britain's role during the conflict in London archives. For the book he's currently working on, he went all the way to Iraq to interview Kurdish defence forces less than two kilometres away from a town controlled by ISIS. And in 2005, he briefly taught journalism in Burma.
His book of investigative journalism, Gangs in Canada , has been adopted as a textbook for criminology, and his history of sex in Canada, How to Make Love in a Canoe , has been adapted into a hilarious stage adaptation by the University of Toronto's Theatre Erindale. In 2007, he wrote his stage play, Defenders of Gravity , which was chosen by a professional panel to inaugurate the Playwrights of Spring Festival in Toronto. Harper Voyager reissued his popular SF thriller, The Karma Booth , and his other science fiction and fantasy works have earned critical praise from indie reviewers as well as a loyal following.
Richard Pankhurst has a doctorate in economic history from the London School of Economics. In 1962, he was the founding director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at the University College of Addis Ababa, and, in 2004, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to Ethiopian studies. He lives in Addis Ababa.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Photo Credits vi
Foreword Richard Pankhurst xi
Preface to the Paperback Edition xiii
Note on Names xvii
Part 1 Resist
Chapter 1 The Duce and the Eternal City 11
Chapter 2 The Negus and the New Flower 26
Chapter 3 A Silent Room in Stresa 46
Chapter 4 Bluster 63
Chapter 5 Colors of Conscience 83
Chapter 6 The Brink 103
Chapter 7 "I Hope the Organmen Gas Them to Buggery" 124
Part 2 Endure
Chapter 8 War 143
Chapter 9 A Season of Betrayals 161
Chapter 10 Schemes … 182
Chapter 11 … And Downfalls 213
Chapter 12 "The Rain That Burns and Kills 229
Chapter 13 The Old Man on the Mountain 248
Chapter 14 "… If You Think It Better to Come Here and Die with Us …" 276
Chapter 15 A King's Lonely Prayer 296
Part 3 Prevail
Chapter 16 Taken Up to Rome 319
Chapter 17 "What Answer Am I to Take Back to My People?" 343
Chapter 18 The Pride of Lions 361
Chapter 19 Abattoir 388
Chapter 20 Eden Bows Our 420
Chapter 21 A Volcano, Permanently Simmering 443
Chapter 22 Day of Deliverance 462
Chapter 23 Champagne and Jazz Records 486
Chapter 24 "That Was Another War" 505
Chapter 25 Epilogue of Stones 534
Select Bibliography 595
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I think Pearce’s perspective makes him passionate and gives the book life. He writes it like a story, a journey, not a textbook. You know who the heroes and villains are but he’s fair in his treatment of the characters. He is willing to point out the warts of those on Ethiopia’s side and he avoids making a caricature out of the Italians. This book is a long but good read and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in this topic.