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Getting Somalia Wrong?: Faith and War in a Shattered State (African Arguments) [Paperback]

Mary Harper
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Feb 2012 African Arguments
Somalia is a comprehensively failed state, representing a threat to itself, its neighbours and the wider world. In recent years, it has become notorious for the piracy off its coast and the rise of Islamic extremism, opening it up as a new 'southern front' in the war on terror. At least that is how it is inevitably portrayed by politicians and in the media. ----- In Getting Somalia Wrong? Mary Harper presents the first comprehensive account of the chaos into which the country has descended and the United States' renewed involvement there. In doing so, Harper argues that viewing Somalia through the prism of al-Qaeda risks further destabilizing the country and the entire Horn of Africa, while also showing that though the country may be a failed state, it is far from being a failed society. In reality, alternative forms of business, justice, education and local politics have survived and even flourished. ----- Provocative in its analysis, Harper shows that until the international community starts to 'get it right' the consequences will be devastating, not just for Somalia, but for the world.

Frequently Bought Together

Getting Somalia Wrong?: Faith and War in a Shattered State (African Arguments) + Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, History and Society + The World's Most Dangerous Place: Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia
Price For All Three: £36.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books Ltd; 1 edition (9 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842779338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842779330
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This has done what books on Somalia rarely do it outlines the hidden Somalia that has survived the decades of turmoil. Accessible and enlightening, this is an important book not just for the international reader but also those shaping global policy on Somalia. --Rageh Omaar

'The most accessible and accurate account available of the contemporary Somali world pirates and all.' --Iaon Lewis, author of Understanding Somalia and Somaliland

About the Author

Mary Harper is a BBC journalist specializing in Africa. She has reported from Somalia since the outbreak of civil war in 1991 and from other war zones across Africa, including Sudan, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has written for several publications including The Economist and The Washington Post.

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply outstanding 14 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was waiting for me when I returned home from Somalia this morning. I flicked through the pages and was immediately drawn in. Abandoning work for the rest of the day, I instead consumed it in one go, so forgive a lack of eloquence in my haste to commend this book to you. The book is readable, accessible and colourful - beautifully written, and in the best BBC journalistic style gives an honest, balanced and positive overview of life and hope in Somalia. It has helped me to set my own experience in context and think a little more deeply about how I might approach my next visit more effectively. It is not an academic book but essential reading for anyone interested in giving a fair hearing to a severely mis-represented nation. I think it would be advisable as pre-reading for anyone planning on working in the region and certainly offers better value than alarming googled articles, patronising blogs and my expensive and poorly informed Lonely Planet which simply advises: don't go there, it's awful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it 20 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved the book and the way it was written. As a Somali it was helpful to read the previous history before the civil war. Thoroughly enjoyed it
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding overview 19 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding overview of Somalia. With relevant history, insights and analysis, Harper unpicks some of the more subtle threads contributing to what is a highly complex situation. For an introduction to some of the most topical issues, this is a fantastic place to start; very well written and highly readable, with some good pointers in the right direction for other related reads.
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5.0 out of 5 stars somalia 13 Dec 2012
This interesting book gives an alternarive view as to why Somalia is in the state that it is in today.
The author blames a)colonialism b)the clans c)Islamism and d)outside interfearance particularly from the USA.
The section on Islamism shows how the various sects, Al-itihaad,Al-shabaab ,and the Union of Islamic Courts each contributed to the wreckage but the author blames the total ignorance of the Americans as the principal cause
There is a good section on the relationship between fishing and pirracy.A first class study.
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