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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive debut
As someone who has been a fan of Kaplan's work for sometime, it was a pleasure to finally read his first book, and a decent entry into the literary world it is.
Concerning mainly Ethiopia, and what would later become the separate country of Eritrea, we are given essentially a journey through history, as Kaplan recounts the long history of divisions in what was then...
Published on 15 Oct 2012 by A. J. Smith

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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor
Let the buyer beware. While Kaplan's book is a good factual account of conditions in Eritrea and the Horn generally during the wars of the 1980s, this account is filtered through his own political worldview - and that worldview is most charitably described as 'idiosyncratic'. Kaplan correctly links the famines that struck Ethiopia and Eritrea in that decade to the...
Published on 16 April 2004 by David O'Kane


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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor, 16 April 2004
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David O'Kane (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Surrender or Starve: Travels in Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea (Vintage Departures) (Paperback)
Let the buyer beware. While Kaplan's book is a good factual account of conditions in Eritrea and the Horn generally during the wars of the 1980s, this account is filtered through his own political worldview - and that worldview is most charitably described as 'idiosyncratic'. Kaplan correctly links the famines that struck Ethiopia and Eritrea in that decade to the policies of the Moscow-oriented Dergue junta. He embarasses himself by expressing perplexity over the fact that it was western liberal newspapers such as London Guardian which did most to expose the role of the Dergue in creating famine conditions. In other words, he is apparently incapable of grasping a basic political fact like the distinction between social-democratic liberalism and the Stalinist version of marxism.
That someone like this has been elevated to the status of an authority says something about the world we live in.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive debut, 15 Oct 2012
By 
A. J. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
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As someone who has been a fan of Kaplan's work for sometime, it was a pleasure to finally read his first book, and a decent entry into the literary world it is.
Concerning mainly Ethiopia, and what would later become the separate country of Eritrea, we are given essentially a journey through history, as Kaplan recounts the long history of divisions in what was then Ethiopia, reaching back to Italian colonial intervention, up to the present, with the Soviet sponsored Dergue government.
What is revealed is quite a horrifying portrait, with hunger being used as a political tool by the Communist regime in Addis Ababa, and how conflict, political or ethnic, has taken the Horn of Africa into a nightmarish reality of Biblical scale.
Interesting insight is also contained with regard to Sudan, and the then conflict over Darfur. As someone who at first became familiar with Darfur in headlines starting from about 2003 onward, it was interesting to learn that this conflict is far from recent news, and was just as bad in the 1980s, however Western Media attention was elsewhere.
Despite being written in the 1980s, this book is still very much relevant, as it contains insight into the divisions, and factors exacerbating division, in this tumultuous region of the world.
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Surrender or Starve: Travels in Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea (Vintage Departures)
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