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Emma's War: An aid worker, a warlord,…

Emma's War: An aid worker, a warlord, radical Islam, and the politics… (edition 2002)

by Deborah Scroggins

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2021158,418 (3.74)2
Title:Emma's War: An aid worker, a warlord, radical Islam, and the politics of oil--a true story of love and death in Sudan
Authors:Deborah Scroggins
Info:Pantheon (2002), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 408 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Emma's War by Deborah Scroggins


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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Fascinating- the author does a great job of sequencing background information about Emma, interview with colleagues and friends from different times in her life, and presenting the actual events as she observed them in Sudan. You end up feeling jealous of Emma for her verve, then awed by her dedication, then annoyed at her blindness and impracticality, then just sorry for her because it seems that everything led up to her impossible predicament. I sympathized with a lot of the people presented, and for the first time caught a glimpse of what some of Africa is like... ( )
  margaret.pinard | Jul 24, 2014 |
I found value in this book for its reportage from the horn of Africa in the 80’s and early 90’s. I was also interested in reading the author’s perspective of the Sudanese civil wars, as there isn’t that much out there on the topic that is easily digestible. Scroggins does a good job of explaining some of the geo-political and ethnic dimensions that led to strife in the country. I appreciated her examination of the events surrounding the oil finds, the practice of Arab slavery over the blacks, the famine migrations, and the politics surrounding UN efforts at providing food to the starving. She gives the reader a lot of information that connects various threads on the Islamist Movement in North Africa from the tycoons Tiny Rowland and Adan Khoshoggi, to Ossama Bin Laden and Muammar Gadaffi. I just can’t call this a “good read” because there are so many disconnected tangents that the author takes the reader on for pages and pages, often inserted with her own opinions, which I found at best annoying. It is chock-full of historical events and personalities, which I did like. The story of the polygamous marriage of Emma McCune and Riek Machar, the former war-lord and current first vice-president of independent South Sudan, is rather peripheral to the author’s meanderings on her own personal experiences in the region and the events of the time period. Their story is of two opportunists, whose lives collided, providing little meat in way of her humanitarian efforts or their great love story, as the book’s description promised. Emma is depicted as a vainglorious, promiscuous, adventure-seeker whose life does not merit nor can fill an entire book, as Scroggins demonstrates. After Emma’s accidental death, Riek goes on to yet again break his promise of monogamy to his first wife, Angelina Teny, when the next western woman offering to provide assistance to his cause comes along. In contrast to Emma McCune, Angelina Teny, former minister of energy of mining and extremely active in the women's movement in Sudan, would indeed merit having a book written about her life. ( )
  B.Mayaluna | Mar 25, 2012 |
provides copious information about the political complexities of Sudan and its long civil war. Helpful insights into development and function of NGOs.
  ammurphy | Apr 20, 2010 |
Author Dan Morrison has chosen to discuss Deborah Scroggins’s Emma’s War on FiveBooks as one of the top five on his subject – The Nile, saying that:

“…It’s a great read and extremely informative about Sudan’s civil war. Scroggins’s vehicle for talking about the war is a British aid worker, Emma McCune, who married a rebel warlord in south Sudan…”
The full interview is available here: http://thebrowser.com/books/interviews/dan-morrison
( )
  FiveBooks | Mar 4, 2010 |
This is more of an impression than a review, because I read the book some years ago. My copy has since gone into orbit, crossing continents and ending up with someone in London. (I know who you are, and I would like my book back please!)
My impression was that, whether the author intended it or not, it is a cautionary tale, a warning for any naive young British woman choosing to embrace Africa.
There are more informative reviews below, but, someone please tell me, how do they get away with revealing the end of Emma's story? That's not on, surely? ( )
  sainsborough | Jul 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375703772, Paperback)

Tall, striking, and adventurous to a fault, young British relief worker Emma McCune came to Sudan determined to make a difference in a country decimated by the longest-running civil war in Africa. She became a near legend in the bullet-scarred, famine-ridden country, but her eventual marriage to a rebel warlord made international headlines—and spelled disastrous consequences for her ideals.

Enriched by Deborah Scroggins’s firsthand experience as an award-winning journalist in Sudan, this unforgettable account of Emma McCune’s tragically short life also provides an up-close look at the volatile politics in the region. It’s a world where international aid fuels armies as well as the starving population, and where the northern-based Islamic government—with ties to Osama bin Laden—is locked in a war with the Christian and pagan south over religion, oil and slaves. Tying together these vastly disparate forces as well as Emma’s own role in the problems of the region, Emma’s War is at once a disturbing love story and a fascinating exploration of the moral quandaries behind humanitarian aid.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:45 -0400)

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"Emma McCune's passion for Africa, her unstinting commitment to the children of Sudan, and her youthful beauty and glamour set her apart from other relief workers from the moment she arrived in southern Sudan. But no one was prepared for her decision to marry a local warlord - a man who seemed to embody everything she was working against - and to throw herself into his violent quest to take over southern Sudan's rebel movement." "With precision and insight, Deborah Scroggins - who met McCune in Sudan - charts the process by which McCune's romantic delusions led to her descent into the hell of Africa's longest-running civil war. Emmas' War is at once a disturbing love story and an up-close look at Sudan: a world where international aid fuels armies as well as the starving population, and where the northern-based Islamic government - backed by Osama bin Laden - is locked in a war with the Christian and pagan south over religion, oil, and slaves."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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