Reporting from Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea, Kaplan examines the factors behind the famine that ravaged the region in the 1980s, exploring the ethnic, religious, and class conflicts that are crucial for understanding the region today. He offers a new foreword and afterword that show how the nations have developed since the famine, and why this region will only grow more important to the United States. Wielding his trademark ability to blend on-the-ground reporting and cogent analysis, Robert D. Kaplan introduces us to a fascinating part of the world, one that it would behoove all of us to know more about.
About the Author
Table of Contents
|2.||The World's Biggest Forgotten War||48|
|3.||The African Killing Fields||105|
|5.||Aid: Rolling the Rock of Sisyphus||182|
What People are Saying About This
“A writer of extraordinary intellect and passion . . .with a wonderfully lucid way of relating history as a living thing.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“This vivid account . . . tells very convincingly a story which the author claims was almost entirely ignored by Western media, diplomats, and relief officials. Kaplan paints a horrific picture of often fatal cruelty.” —Foreign Affairs
“Robert Kaplan is a scholarly and adventurous journalist. . . . He draws attention to long-term trends that other writers have little noted.” —The New York Times
“Kaplan is a gritty travel reporter and commentator on foreign affairs known for providing no-nonsense political-historical overviews of the dicey places he visits.” —The Washington Post Book World
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kaplan addresses the famines of the Horn of Africa with subtlety but his argument beats us over the head again and again with the fact that regimes of the region don't care about the people we're starving, and American aid just supports these governments. Still, he doesn't provide that compelling case for doing nothing. The book does illuminate, though, why Sudan's government doesn't do anything about Darfur, and doesn't really care about America's protests.The 2003 edition of this book does nothing to update it except to include a now also-outdated look at Eritrea after independence.
The politics of relief efforts in theh Hor of Africa.
Robert D. Kaplan travels to a little-known corner of the globe to document the little-known but brutal conflict between Ethiopia and separationist Eritrea. Kaplan makes the conflict and the famines deliberately created by the Ethiopian government easy to understand. Unfortunately, the objectivity (and enjoyability) of the book is marred by Kaplan's own editorializing about the need for the U.S. to become involved in the war as a method of fighting Communism.
This is a much more compelling book to read than the more pedestrian A History of Ethiopia by Harold Marcus. Perhaps because it deals with more recent history. Kaplan is particularly enamored with the leadership of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, which is where the current President of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, came from. And there was promise when Kaplan wrote this book in 2003. Since then, alas, the Ethiopian leadership has devolved into the same old, same old. Meles would appear to have almost no popular support among the people, and yet garnered 98.6 percent of the vote in the last election. Ethiopian politics is about staying in power, no matter what. As in most African countries, this means making your friends rich and making your enemies suffer. Kaplan points out persuasively that starvation is not the natural order of things, but a political tool that is wielded by most of the governments in the Horn of Africa. You see the truth of this just be reading the news of the day in Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia.
I read this well after the situation had started in Ethiopia and Somalia. It was good information after the fact, but I had read several other good accounts by the time I read this.
I read this book three years ago before my trip there. The book gives a good overview with good stories of how Ethiopia came to have famine and communisom. I recommend this book to anyone thinking of traveling to or living in Ethiopia. Besides Kaplin is a great writer too.