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I Didn't Do It for You: How the World…

I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation… (edition 2006)

by Michela Wrong

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224475,785 (4.17)7
Title:I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation (P.S.)
Authors:Michela Wrong
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:africa, history, Eritrea

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I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation by Michela Wrong


Africa (143)

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Showing 4 of 4
Wrong has a gift for explaining the history and circumstances of African countries in a readable, accessible way. I couldn't put this down. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Excellent. Reads smoothly, but also very thought-provoking about what drives foreign policy and how productive/effective this is in the long term. ( )
  wandering_star | Dec 20, 2009 |
One day, several months ago, I wandered for the first time into the small African history section of my local used bookstore and ended up buying "I Didn't Do It For You", mostly because the attractively designed cover caught my eye. Even if I bought it for shallow reasons, I'm so glad I did--this was a fantastic, eye-opening read.

Wrong details the odyssey of Eritrea, the youngest country in Africa, and the subtitle of the book is depressingly accurate. Eritrea was basically invented by the Italians in the late 19th century so that they could have their own colonial empire, carved out of the northern bit of Ethiopia and the southern bit of Egypt. The country was subsequently ransacked by the British during WWII, illegally annexed by Ethiopia while the UN looked the other way (no surprise there), ignored by the entire Western world as it fought an ultimately successful 30-year-long guerilla war for independence (with first the U.S., then the Soviet Union, then Israel supplying Ethiopia with billions of dollars worth of military equipment and training), only to stumble back into war with Ethiopia after only six years of peace and prosperity as the poster-child for a possible African renaissance. The book was written in 2004 and I immediately looked up Eritrea's Wikipedia article to see what had happened in the last four years, only to find that, among other indictments, Eritrea is currently ranked dead last on Reporters Without Borders' Worldwide Press Freedom Index. Despite the horrible effect that the Eritrean government (ironically composed of some of the very freedom fighters who liberated the country in the first place) has had in the last 10 years, Wrong still holds out hope that the dogged pride and determination of the Eritreans will help the country bounce back. It was a nice note to end on, and the book itself is incredibly interesting and well-written, but the emotional effect of reading it can be summed-up by one of Wrong's own comments: "And you were left in a sulky gray fug of ambiguity, sure of only one thing: everyone had behaved badly, everyone was to blame." ( )
6 vote wunderkind | Mar 12, 2009 |
A fascinating piece of journalism and history: a reporter who really gets to know the country, and talks with representative figures along the way. Except for an overlong section on American troops stationed in Eritrea during the Cold War, the book was consistently interesting, and engagingly written. ( )
1 vote teaperson | Dec 7, 2005 |
Showing 4 of 4
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To Elena and Silvia Harty, as promised
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It was well past midnight, and in Cairo airport’s transit lounge it was clear most passengers had already entered the trance-like state of passivity that accompanies long-distance travel.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060780932, Paperback)

Scarred by decades of conflict and occupation, the craggy African nation of Eritrea has weathered the world's longest-running guerrilla war. The dogged determination that secured victory against Ethiopia, its giant neighbor, is woven into the national psyche, the product of cynical foreign interventions. Fascist Italy wanted Eritrea as the springboard for a new, racially pure Roman empire; Britain sold off its industry for scrap; the United States needed a base for its state-of-the-art spy station; and the Soviet Union used it as a pawn in a proxy war.

In I Didn't Do It for You, Michela Wrong reveals the breathtaking abuses this tiny nation has suffered and, with a sharp eye for detail and a taste for the incongruous, tells the story of colonialism itself and how international power politics can play havoc with a country's destiny.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:21 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A story of betrayal, belligerence and bloodshed, this text is the portrait of a country torn by war and buffeted by the capricious manoeuverings of foreign powers, which remains defiant throughout. It is a story that reveals the colonial and superpower legacy of a continent.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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