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I Didn't Do It For You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation (Text Only)

I Didn't Do It For You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation (Text Only) [Kindle Edition]

Michela Wrong
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Praise for I Didn’t Do It For You:

‘Contemporary history on the grand scale. I was entertained, informed and angered. Wrong has given us another essential contribution to the post-colonial scramble for Africa.’ John le Carre

‘Vivid, penetrating, wonderfully detailed. Michela Wrong has written the biography of a nation and more – she has excavated the very heart and soul of the Eritrean people and their country.' Aminatta Forna

‘If you thought Eritrea was some exotic flower you heard mentioned on a gardening programme this book will tell you something different. It tells the tale of a small group of Africans so despised and trampled by successive foreign occupations that they fought back and after 30 years of war, they became a nation. It is an astounding story packed with tales of the worst – and the best – of human behaviour.’ Richard Dowden, President of the Royal African Society

'This is a wonderful, readable and illuminating book. Michela Wrong is an enormously talented writer…thoroughly researched and deeply engaging and honest.' Clare Short – New Statesman

'Impressive … Wrong offers an uplifting testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Eminently readable and full of fascinating detail, this is a book that deserves and needs to be read' Guardian

'[A] corker … fascinating and tragic. Wrong's writing flows so smoothly that it is only after 100 pages or so that you notice how much legwork she has put in [and] she tracks down a startling array of characters' Daily Telegraph

'A lyrical, intensely intelligent and wonderfully readable history of Eritrea … beautifully written' Independent

Justin Hill, The Guardian

'Eminently readable and full of fascinating detail, this is a book that deserves and needs to be read.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 861 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (20 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008ZUFM9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #160,940 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Africa classic from Michela Wrong 15 Jan 2005
Michela Wrong's first book, In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz, an account of the Congo's decline, was rightly acclaimed a classic by the Economist. She has triumphed again in her account of Eritrea, a book of many themes and as many virtues: it combines the best of travel writing, biography, history, current affairs, all embraced by a poignant love story, for Ms Wrong fell head over heels for this rugged, beautiful land. Above all, the former journalist who worked for Reuters news agency and reported on Africa for the Financial Times, has produced a fascinating psychological profile of Eritrea, the brave, belligerent and infuriating Horn of Africa state that waged a 30 year guerilla war for independence from Ethiopia. It is a case study of the harm done by colonial rule, and an indictment of the role of Italy, Britain, the US, the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and a scathing condemnation of the conniving United Nations. But Ms Wrong never lectures us. She combines intellectual rigour with wit and sharp insight as she trawls British government files. And with wonderful flair, she describes the incongruous, such as her account of Eritea's last Italian, living out his remaining days in the Red Sea port of Massawa, spitting out his contempt for family and friends, lashing out at his ducks as he sits surrounded by rusting 'fridges. Equally entertaining is her description - "bugging, blowjobs and beer" - of the exploits of the US servicemen who eavesdropped on much of the world from their listening post at Kagnew, on the outskirts of the Eritrean capital of Asmara. But there are broader concerns that emerge as Ms Wrong sets out the lifestyles of the feckless young US servicemen. Read more ›
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous African journey 7 Mar 2005
This is an extraordinary, many-layered book and I challenge anyone to remain unmoved by its epic tale. I began it ignorant about one of Africa's least known countries, and ended it enraged, inspired ... and much wiser, not only about Eritrea but about the West's grotesque use of African statelets as political footballs.
The book is an impassioned travelogue through landscape, history and politics, with an author at once caustically funny, thoughtful and wry. If you like intelligent travel writing, you will love ms wrong's work, with its vivid landscapes and incisive human portraits. A cast of characters at times Pythonesque move against a back-cloth of tragedy - like the Italian Victor Meldrew, who sits, cursing in his rusting Eritrean scrapyard, or the bored GIs who hold farting competitions and smear their pants with peanut butter to horrify fastidious locals.
Underlying it all is the author's meticulous research, but it is a tribute to her writing that the reader never notices that they are being educated as well as entertained. I finished the book with that feeling of regret that only exceptional works give you.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good but very sketchy on some important issues 28 Jan 2005
This is a book full of contradictions, if not just for its content, then for the approach to the subject, namely Eritrea, by Michela Wrong. It is about the journey of Eritrea throughout history - from colonial time to present day. The scars that foreign occupation left on Eritreans - the experience of a people whose nation was betrayed by the world, most notably, by the United Nations. It is a story of a brave and resolute people who, irrespective of all obstacles, abandoned and disparaged, succeeded to realise their destiny. Wrong has put in a great deal of research into exploring the Eritrean colonial experience and its legacy - a good effort indeed.
But when it comes to present day Eritrea, the book's most fatal shortcoming comes to the fore. The discussion of the current Eritrean state of affairs, for the most part, is entirely based on anecdotes and lacks in in-depth analysis. Had Wrong applied the same level of commitment in constructing a well-rounded picture of the struggles of a young nation as that of the colonial period, we would have been talking about a brilliant work. On the contrary however, Wrong seems to have glossed over the most important period of Eritrean history and thereby constructed a very sketchy picture of present day Eritrea.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eritrea explained - brilliantly! 1 Mar 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For any reader who took pleasure in reading Ms Wrong's first book, it was difficult to believe that In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz could be bettered. How? Having now read I Didn't Do It For You, I can safely say that I could not have been more wrong (if you will excuse the pun!). Few chroniclers of African history have been as thorough in their research, as objective in their analysis and as compelling in their style. History books tend to be difficult to read. Most non-scholarly types read them because they have to, not because they want to. Not so with I Didn't Do It For You. It is page-turningly riveting. Ms Wrong has not just done it again but surpassed herself.
Eritrea is not a country which instantly grabs the imagination. One picks up Ms Wrong's book with a degree of curiosity. Why Eritrea? But as the story unfolds and one learns of the designs of Ferdinando Martini, the ghastly battle of Keren, the ridiculously grandiloquent Lion of Judah, the dreadful Super Power ding-dong wars and the crying shame of the last few years, one's heart bleeds for that benighted country. In Ms Wrong's words "Poor Eritrea."
This book is essential reading for anyone who is serious about understanding Africa's past and its bearing on the present. Eritrea is a superb example of the fall-out of the infamous Berlin Conference. Nobody before Ms Wrong has been dogged enough to do the research into this complicated story. She has courage and intelligence which she employs to superb effect. I salute her.
Gitau Githinji
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars still the world betrayed us
I have read this book by Michela Wrong and it very interesting book. I am eritrean and i know some of the stories in this book personaly and it remaind me how the things gone. Read more
Published 3 months ago by henok
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that I have been looking for.
It is the book which I have been looking for, it is one of the best I ever had. Thank you !
Published 8 months ago by Osman Gulaie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Account of a Forgotten Corner of Africa
Michela wrong is a very fine writer and has produced a wonderfully researched and beautifully written account of Eritrea's history and its struggle for independence. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Nico
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating the Horn of Africa.
Michela Wrong is an established and successful author on Africa. This volume was a casual purchase and I found this blend of history and politics a riveting experience. Read more
Published 19 months ago by I,Hepple
4.0 out of 5 stars As brand new
Must say, the quality of the book i got was amazing.
The book feels like it came straight of the shelves. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by Dante
3.0 out of 5 stars Gus
A very interesting book.
Once I read it I was able to understand why the Eritrean people are
so weary of so called 'foreign aid'.
Published on 2 Nov 2011 by Gus
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener.......
Just when you thought you knew how things were you are proved to be so very wrong.......that's how I felt reading this book. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by RogerC
4.0 out of 5 stars this book could make you very angry
A history lesson about a small nation which seems to have been abused by every foreign country that it came into contact with, and then when they get some measure of self... Read more
Published on 20 May 2011 by A. Browne
3.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten corner of Africa brought to life
I like this author. She gives what feels like a believable picture of modern Africa. Inevitably a gloomy one, but she never lets it feel so bad you wouldn't want to visit. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2011 by Jenny Arbuthnot
5.0 out of 5 stars Another mesmerising Michela Wrong read
Like most people I had only a vague awareness and little interest in Eritrea before reading this book. Read more
Published on 18 Dec 2009 by Dr. David N. Michie
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