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Saving Darfur: Everyone's Favourite African War Paperback – 9 Feb 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Reportage Press (9 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906702195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906702199
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.9 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,185,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'A haunting and brutally honest account of international failure and African suffering. Lucid, engaging and written with love for the entire continent of Africa.' --Fergal Keane, BBC News

Rob Crilly tells the story of Darfur up close, focusing on the people who have fought and suffered. Neither cynical nor moralizing, he brings to life its protagonists-rebel fighters, Arab militiamen, displaced villagers, foreign aid workers, diplomats and campaigners. Saving Darfur delves beneath the stereotypes to tackle the complexities of Darfur and Sudan, illuminating both the ordinariness and the bizarreness of this extraordinary African war.' --Alex De Waal, author of 'Darfur: A New History of a Long War'

'While I disagree with much of Mr Crilly's analysis, he provides us with a solid journalistic account of his first-hand experiences in Darfur.' --Mia Farrow, actress and activist

From the Inside Flap

`A haunting and brutally honest account of international
failure and African suffering' - Fergal Keane, BBC News

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By V.Luckie on 31 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Former Times East Africa Correspondent Rob Crilly's Saving Darfur is surprisingly amusing considering the deadly serious subject matter. Liberated from the Times tight word-count, the writing style is very English and reminded me a little of Mac Donald Frazer's Flashman than more earnest (and duller) accounts.

I suspect this book is not destined to be carried around campus by bleeding hearts and angry young men. Which is a shame, because the self - depreciating Crilly comes across as an intelligent and likeable chap. I suspect he likes Africa a bit too much. Because he sets out to achieve what he knows will be hard to sell, to `complicate' the story of Darfur.

The result is not only a personal account par excellence. For along with a heavy dose of bluff humour, the odd stray misogynistic description, and tall (but I suspect in this case entirely truthful) tales. The book is packed with a rich vein of sometimes colourful, often plain irrelevant, but always interesting facts. It also tells the often tragic stories of those involved with objectivity and kindness and without show-boating.

It does what journalism is meant to - gives the reader with no-knowledge of the subject the vital wider context that would be impossible to slot in to five hundred words, told in the voice of a regular at your local pub. But Crilly's inclusion of the occasional conspiratorial gossipy tit-bit, and his often acerbic analysis of the world-view of the situation somehow promises to achieve the difficult balancing act of also amusing the most-jaded old Africa hand.

The book starts as a gloriously honest romp through the area's political landscape.
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Format: Paperback
I second the comments in the reviews made above. There are many books milling around documenting the experiences of journalists and aid workers in Africa. Saving Darfur is among the more well-informed, thought-provoking and accessible. As he crisscrosses the region, the author's anecdotes thread together, allowing the reader to build up a broader picture into the West's often fraught relationship with Sudan. In doing so, he presents a very complex situation in very readable chunks.

He convincingly shows how Western audiences are often presented a very simplistic analysis of the causes and dynamics of the conflict in Darfur by Western media and well-intentioned lobby-groups; which may be misleading, or, in the worst case, may be detrimental to peace efforts in the region. Even the rather seedy description of the author's journalistic romp covering the Mohammed the Teddy Bear fiasco shows how surreal the West's relationship with Sudan can become, driven by stereotypes and misunderstandings on both sides.

Should definitely be on the reading list of anyone working in, traveling to, interested in the region.
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Format: Paperback
Eminently readable without being overly-simplistic. Does an astonishingly good job of taking the reader on an informative and entertaining journing into what is a deeply complex conflict - certainly far more complex that the Western media would have you believe. As someone that also covered Sudan and the Darfur conflict at a similar time, I can't really fault Rob's analysis of it in any meaningful way. Here's a guy that really understands what's going on, and yet, as a good journalist should be able to, can communicate it in a way that ordinary folk can understand.
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By William on 21 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent book which deserves far more attention.

Crilly interweaves personal anecdote to make this a very interesting read and yet does not shy away from tackling complicated issues to enable a better understanding.

I cannot recommend a better book to learn more about the conflict in Darfur.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rob Crilly spent years working in Africa as a freelance journalist, and war he covered most was in Darfur, in Sudan. Thousands of people were killed, and millions displaced, living in refugee camps to escape the fighting, and the deliberate targeting of their villages.

The narrative was clear - Arab tribes, supported by the Government, were persecuting black African tribes in a sustained assault that amounted to Genocide. Mia Farrow and George Clooney rallied to the cause, and helped mobilise international public opinion.

Through interviews and meetings with some of the main protagonists, including the now infamous Jospeh Kony, Crilly paints a much more complicated picture. Libya's support, the war between Sudan and Chad, Government support for proxy guerilla groups, including Kony's, and the inexorable incursion of the Sahara onto tribal lands gradually emerge as relevant. There are some real villains in this story, but the distinction between Arabs and Africans breaks down in to a multi-layered story of natural resource, religious and clan loyalties, and the power of a readily understandable international narrative.

This makes it sound hard going - it's not. Crilly writes like a journalist, and largely lets the people he interviews tell their own stories. It's a straightforward read, and certainly provides a more rounded view of a dreadful humanitarian problem. Crilly also has some practical ideas on what to do about it - and why it may still get worse.
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